FIFA’s other new headline-grabbing feature is its set-piece creator. Part of the new, extended arena mode (which now lets you play practice matches) it gives you the tools to create free-form free-kick routines by giving you control over all your players’ runs.
If we put the new features on the subs bench, the best part of the game remains the beautifully balanced build-up play. More refined than last year (especially chipped through balls), it’s easier to play a pass behind a defence and into space. As ever, shred a back four to pieces with an incisive through ball for a speedy front man to run onto, and you'll be in fist-punching paradise.
Crosses have also been sorted. Spongy last year, they’ve now got real zip about them, especially if you ping in deliveries with good passers like Welsh wizard Ryan Giggs. After playing with FIFA 09’s weak efforts, crosses now feel fierce, which makes flank play more dangerous and exciting.
Shooting has received less treatment. The biggest change? Have a pop from 25 yards and you’ll find shots are far less floaty than last year. There are loads of parameters that affect your shot - position of the player, angle etc. – in this physics-heavy (Oi! Wake up) system. And, just like real life, the power of shots are governed by how your man approaches the ball. Like this...
Scoring screamers is satisfying, but we also love to use the shot modifier to curl our efforts towards the onion bag. Want to really humiliate the keeper? Try a deft Nothing, though, can beat a deft dink or a looping lob. Like this...
With so many shot types at your disposal, this year’s one-on-ones with goalies always feel fresh.
Now, admittedly, this is going to sound weird. But the most immersive thing in FIFA 10 are the ramblings of an old English guy and a Scot who sounds like he smokes 60 a day. Between them Andy Gray and Martin Tyler (the commentators for the UK version of FIFA) enrich matches with their natural, incidental analysis. Even if they do love to slate our shooting skills.
It might not sound like much, but when we hear them make an incidental quip about how Man City are suddenly rolling in money, it always slaps a wide smile on our faces - and, rest assured, we ain’t fans of those pack of millionaire mercenaries. Insightful, and up-to-date, the spot-on commentary really is of a TV broadcast standard.
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