Over the last few years FIFA has been a bit like Man United’s tough-tackling, but workman-like, jobber Darren Fletcher. Solid, yet rarely thrilling, it’s been easy to look past EA’s faithful sim in favour of Pro Evolution Soccer’s sexier, arcade-fuelled football. But, just like the uncompromising midfielder, this year’s FIFA has come on leaps and bounds over the last 12 months.
But, before we get into the meat and onion-bag blasters of the review, we thought we’d pause for a moment for any of you who think this is what football’s all about…
Regardless of whether you call the beautiful game soccer or not, or if you’ve never played a sports game, you should know FIFA 10 is still a huge deal. And that’s mainly because it features a new movement system that’s like going from this…
The bit for FIFA fanatics
For the rest of you, we preach to the converted, right? So it should come as no surprise that FIFA 10 introduces a 360° dribbling system (the first ever footie game to do so) that takes the series forward hugely.
So why is 360° dribbling such a massive deal, then? Well, in previous games you’ve always been restricted to players who can only move in 8 diagonal directions. At times, it felt like you were desperately shuffling little Subbuteo men about a Tron-style grid.
But now, nudge the stick in even the slightest direction and fleeted-footed players like Robinho move the ball in precise, subtle new directions. After years of players running on invisible rails, it’s liberating. The vibrant freedom of movement opens up spaces on the pitch you’ll never have exploited, and lets you squeeze into gaps between opposition players that simply haven’t existed before. It’s brilliantly organic and beautiful to watch in motion.
It's Tricky...Tr-tr-tr-tricky (Tricky) Trrrrrrrrrrricky
Don’t get us wrong. This doesn’t suddenly mean you’re going to skin an entire team like the pint-sized, but mesmerising Lionel Messi. Try to beat a man – especially on World Class difficulty or above – and you'll find it's still utterly nails. Get to grips with the skill moves on the right stick, though, and you can pull off some amazing mate-shaming moments in multi-player. Still, as you’ll see in the video below, it's hard to learn, and feels unintuitive at first.