Football is Germanyâ€™s national sport of choice and unsurprisingly, EAâ€™s display at GamesCom was constantly packed out with those desperate to try out FIFA â€™10. Although EA had a relatively small area, it was kitted out beautifully with glowing halos above the gaming area, a miniature goal with screens inside and large neon signs that lit up red and green. It looked like a digital Christmas. Despite the dozen Xbox 360â€™s, half a dozen PCâ€™s and several Wii consoles all running FIFA â€™10 â€“ getting anywhere near them without waiting twenty minutes proved difficult.
Luckily I had already received an exclusive hands-on session with the game the day before the event opened to the public. What amazed me with FIFA â€™10 was that after a couple of matches â€“ FIFA â€™09 seemed immediately dated. Personally I had considered the last FIFA game to be the best football video game ever made. Sure, it had some annoying quirks but overall it offered a fairly realistic attempt at the sport while keeping it extremely fun. But FIFA â€™10 is certainly an improved model in many aspects.
Firstly the player physics and models have been severely updated. Jostling for the ball is a whole new experience, letting you nudge opponents off their mark and watching them go shoulder to shoulder with one another just like the real thing. My only concern here is the balancing of the player statistics â€“ for example will playing as Drogba allow you to just barge any other player off the ball effortlessly? Unfortunately I wasnâ€™t able to determine exactly how this was solved with my short time with the game. But I am fairly confident that EA will ensure an even and believable contest even for Rooney-spammers (that annoying little bugger could shove his stubby little self past any defence in FIFA â€™09). Player reactions are a lot quicker now as well, with AI controlled players latching onto loose balls or turning quicker off the ball rather than standing around looking a bit blind like in FIFA â€™09. It was great seeing every player on screen looking more active this time round and trying to anticipate the play better.
Especially with the newly announced feature of players being able to scan their faces into the game and then insert digital versions of themselves into the team of their choice. With the new â€śBe a Proâ€ť mode players will be able to take themselves online as well, building up a reputation, being scouted and eventually being one of the most sought after players of your time. EA Sports have also promised some more online improvements as well, so stay tuned for more info as we get it.
NZGamer.com would like thank Activision, Capcom, Microsoft NZ, SCENZ, SEGA, THQ and Ubisoft for making this trip possible.
The Good: Smarter AI, improved goalkeepers
The Bad: Finding the back of the net seems harder(?)
The Ugly: Peter Crouch and his gangliness