2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa
Wii | EA | 1 Player / 2-4 Players (local multiplayer/co-operative play) / 1-4 Players (online versus/co-operative play) | Out Now
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote (pointer); Wii Remote and Nunchuk; Classic Controller
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4th June 2010; By KnucklesSonic8
2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa features multiple control schemes to try to appeal to just about every gamer's needs. There are 4 in total: All-Play (Wii Remote-only), Advanced (Wii Remote and Nunchuk), Classic (Classic Controller, of course!) and Alternate (a variant on Classic). Using the pointer by itself can be fun for the sake of getting used to a simple set of controls. It's as simple as using A to pass, B to sprint, and shake the controller to shoot. Movement is done automatically, so it almost feels like a cross between watching the computer play and having a sense of interaction. Defensive moves are pretty straight-forward as well and I'd say that EA did a good job with this mapping. Some may see it as being too casual-friendly though, but that will matter little to those who have trouble with remembering lots of button combinations.
On that note, using the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk is the obvious way to play. Here, controls will take much more time to get used to but for older gamers, this is to be expected. Basics involve tapping or holding the A button for a pass, using the B Button to make a lob, and shaking the Wii Remote to shoot the ball. Waggling will also allow you to perform sliding tackles when you're on defense, but use these sparingly as there may be a yellow card with your name on it looming in the area. Naturally, movement is done using the Nunchuk's analog but you'll also use it to specify where exactly you'd like to pass the ball. Holding the Z Button will increase your character's speed, and pressing the +Control Pad will execute trick moves that you can use to deke out your opponents. There are additional moves, of course, but this is the jist of what you need to remember. If you'd prefer something with less of a focus on motion controls, then by all means give the Classic control scheme a try.
As you pass the ball around and make good plays, you'll build up the momentum gauge at the bottom of the screen. Keeping it going is important as this will play a role in the effectiveness of your shots. As the ball flies towards the goal net, it will emit a trail of streaks behind it, which is kind of neat. Additionally, when a great play is in the making, cartoon silhouettes of the crowd will appear at the bottom of the screen to cheer you on. I felt this was a great visual touch to make goals that much more epic, especially during a tense multiplayer match. You'll even be able to use the +Control Pad to perform a celebratory pose after a stunning victory.
EA has implemented what's known as the 'Strike It System', theoretically making the game more fun to play. When a high lob is made, a circular mark will be made on the playing field to indicate where the ball will land. If two players from opposing teams happen to be within this marked area, at times, the game will go into slow motion, and this system will take into effect. At some point, the ball will glow and when it does, the first person to shake their Wii Remote will gain possession. This same action takes place during corner kicks when someone decides to cross the ball in front of the net. During penalty kicks too, depending on the quality of the shot, the goalie will have a short amount of time to prevent a ball from getting into the net. Overall, your mileage may vary on whether or not you'll appreciate this way of playing. More than likely if you've been used to playing realistic sports games or if you have slow reflexes, you won't be too fond of this recurring feature.
There are 5 central modes that come packed in with this release: Hit the Pitch, Zakumi's Dream Team, 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, Global Elimination and Online. Let's consider these individually. First off, 'Hit the Pitch' is where you'll want to head for an exhibition match using 'Play Now'. This mode also includes a training area which consists of drills you can perform to improve certain avenues of your field game, such as penalty kicks. And you also have 'World Tour' where you'll need to complete various challenges as you face 199 teams from different countries and prove you're the best. Second option from the Main Menu is 'Zakumi's Dream Team'. In this mode, the green, in-game mascot will guide you as you make your puny set of players into one that's revered by all. To do this you'll face-off against teams, and for every victory, you'll get to choose a player from the opposing team to add to your dream team. You can even save your progress to your Wii Remote for when you go over to a friend's place, which I thought was a cool feature.
Naturally, the main option of the entire game is '2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa'. Here you'll take part in a virtual form of the real-life World Cup, participating in tournament brackets, managing teams and more as you take your team to the top of the charts. This mode will keep you occupied for quite some time. Then there's 'Global Elimination' where you can simulate a small tournament amongst friends (or computers) by selecting a series of different teams that you'll need to defend to stay in the game. Out of all the modes in the game, it's the weakest one. It's not the typical tourney-style mode you'd expect, either, and so even if it can be somewhat fun, most will see this aspect as disappointing.
Finally, EA has also included an online component where you can engage in ranked and unranked matches against people from around the world. You'll first need to set up an account on EA's servers which should only take a few minutes. Upon arriving on the Wi-Fi menu, you can adjust various settings, check your worldwide rank, and even see how many people are currently connected online. You can play unranked games by yourself or with a guest, as well as participate in matches that count to not only your personal rank but your country's overall score. Online hardly takes a long time to get into and not once have I had to wait more than 30 seconds to get a match going. I've connected more than a few times and there's always been more than enough people to play with, which is encouraging to see. The online mode certainly gives the game more replay value than there otherwise would have been and it's a lot of fun to play.
I really like the visuals in this game. Right from the start, the Main Menu looks nicely laid out with a good use of colour. The character models of the players could be better but they looked decent to me. There are lots of little touches here and there that make the game pleasing to look at. Having a steady camera is obviously important in a game like this and I was pleased to see that it worked well and you can even adjust these settings if need be. The soundtrack used for this game is good as well, and many of the songs I heard while navigating through menus were even quite catchy. Loading screens offer trivia or additional info on the tasks you happen to be undertaking and they range from 5 to 20 seconds in length.
Looking back on my experience with this game, I can definitely see that this is a casual-friendly sports game meant for families. I can easily see parents and children or even teenagers bonding by means of this game, and that's a good thing. There's a good sense of replay value, not only because of the online use, but also thanks to the award system they've put in place to unlock new content and extend longevity. However, by the choices EA has made with this release, they've ultimately alienated the hardcore sports gamer who will likely be dissatisfied with this game. Even just looking at the kinds of options that can be toggled, you can tell that it's lacking features you'd expect from other releases, including the ability to customize characters or turn off penalties. It's not necessarily a bad thing for everyone who gives this a try, but if you've played games like Pro Evolution Soccer, you can't help but see this is a downgrade from what you've already experienced.
Evidently, 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa is not meant to be a realistic or even a deep experience. It takes an arcade approach and uses the commercialism of the upcoming World Cup to its advantage in marketing this to prospective buyers. If you're not a fan of deep customization and find yourself intimidated by lots of controls, wanting to get into the game as quickly as possible, I imagine you'll be pleased with this. Parents will especially want to consider this game for their kids who are fans of the World Cup and all the festivities that go with it; however, I'd admonish not to pay more than $30 or even $20 for this game. For everyone else out there, I'm sure you've already played other soccer/football games (even in the FIFA series on Wii) that satisfy your needs and play styles better so either give this a rental or skip it completely.
21/30 - Good
Gameplay 7/10 - Less about depth and more of an arcade focus, Strike It system may/may not be a hit with you, simpler controls, fun overall
Presentation 8/10 - Great visual style, good musical soundtrack, suitable camera, some areas aren't as strong, crowd involvement adds to the realism
Enjoyment 3/5 - Local/online multiplayer is a lot of fun, parents & children should be amused, advancing in Dream Team or World Cup is rewarding
Extra Content 3/5 - Not as content-heavy as other games, not worth the asking price, online, multiple solo modes, lacking some seemingly-obvious features
Equivalent to a score of 73% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)