IGN Review of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa
Porting titles onto the PSP is always a challenge for EA Sports. They constantly struggle to differentiate the product enough from its console counterparts, while maintaining a very low ceiling for development costs. So here we have 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, a game that makes very little attempt at separating its feature set from the console versions. Instead, 2010 FIFA tries to emulate what's seen on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Its attempt is admirable, but ultimately falls short of delivering a similar gameplay experience.
Just about every mode (aside from Battle of Nations online) from the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 version of 2010 FIFA World Cup is aptly represented here. There's the standard World Cup tournament, Captain Your Country, the new Story of Qualifying mode, and support for both infrastructure and ad hoc online play. Everything performs exactly how you'd expect. The World Cup lets you play through the real tournament with any international squad you'd like. Captain Your Country is a career mode where you take the reins of one player and carry them through the tournament, progressing their attributes along the way. Story of Qualifying allows you to progress through a list of challenges that are pulled straight from the real round of qualifying. If your favorite team had a dramatic match, chances are it's represented there.
The gameplay is the only thing that's really lacking in the package, and sadly that's the most important aspect of any sports title. No matter what mode you're playing, you'll notice that the game runs at a very slow clip. The in-game players don't feel like professional athletes. Not only that, but their artificial intelligence (AI) is seriously lacking. This is most evident in Captain Your Country, when most of the on-field action is left to the AI. Too often will players not make aggressive plays for balls close to them and sometimes they'll just ignore your order to pass or shoot the ball.
Other gameplay problems pop up when you try and utilize the new corner kicking system. For some reason, the direction you push the analog stick no longer dictates the direction that you're kicking. Instead, it changes the direction of the spin. That means if you push up and to the left, you're actually going to be kicking a ball that will bend to the right. The system isn't very intuitive (especially since there's no tutorial) and the camera has trouble switching the corner kick camera angle back to the standard viewpoint which causes an unneeded moment of disorientation.
2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa also lacks some of the presentational changes that made the console version so special when it came to delivering an authentic feel to the biggest sporting event on the planet. The commentators are acceptable, but suffer from the usual loading times that come with the UMD format. The crowds are loud enough, but the fact that all you get is a little confetti during introductions is a bit of a disappointment.
Graphically the game is also a bit of a disappointment with player models that don't show off much detail unless the camera is six inches from their face. Their animations are also a bit jittery as they make their way up the field. The fact that they're constrained to eight directions of movement is totally acceptable given the limitations of the hardware, and players seemed to be able to curve their runs ever so slightly -- which is more than I can say for the Wii version. Still, the strange jerkiness of the animations and the general lack of overall detail are the real detractors.
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