Chances are that if youâ€™re in the market for a football (soccer) title, youâ€™ll currently be pondering whether to spend your hard earned cash on EAâ€™s FIFA 10 or Konamiâ€™s Pro Evolution Soccer.
For most of the 2000â€™s the latter had been the more favoured of the two, as the master league was long considered one of the best game modes in a sports title. However, EA stormed back later in the decade and has nabbed the crown the last few years, and will be determined to do so once more.
To the uninitiated, most annual sports titles are the same as the previous one but with a different cover and updated teams. EA is proactively shattering this preconception, by already stating their intent to further 10â€™s gameplay quality by adding a range of new features.
The greatest of these would be the inclusion (finally) of a complete 360 degree dribbling control system. In this day and age of console gaming it seemed a crime to be condemned to only 8 ways of possible movement, like you were playing with a NES controller. This new system should add a whole new level of flow to games, and allow even greater deft touches and angle running when in possession of the ball.
Another exciting alteration is the improved urgency of AI logic, which basically involves what your players do when off the ball and out of your control. For example, when players are pushing forward for a corner or free kick the AI will recognise that a counter attack could be potentially disastrous, and will keep a player or two back to try and shut down a clearance kick or an attacking movement.
This also translates into smarter attacking football as well, as your players wonâ€™t as frequently run offside, and will adapt their runs to suit the pass by curving, angling or even just plain slowing down their runs through the defensive line.
Other adjustments have also been made to the game in order to make it serve like its real world counterpart. Slide tackles are much more dependent on the player's ability to execute them properly, while ball physics will take on a huge role in terms of shooting, with the ballâ€™s approach angle and spin when it hits your feet becoming key factors in whether your ball goes sailing in to the stands, or has the opposition goalie fetching it out of the auld onion bag.
Manager mode would have received the most changes of all, though. EA has stated that thereâ€™ll be over 50 modifications, as they look to push this game mode to the forefront of gamers' minds, rather than the after-thought that it has been for most years of its inclusion within the FIFA titles.
While there aren't any drastic changes announced, what EA is doing is putting polish on a game which has already undergone those major changes in the past, altering it here and there to enhance the gameplay and realism experience, which should allow it to become one of the great FIFA titles to grace consoles.
The Good: The added realism will be sure to make the title a much greater personal experience.
The Bad: The fact that you canâ€™t get your hands on it until October.
The Ugly: What could ever be ugly about the beautiful game?