Review – FIFA 10

FIFA 10 is a beautiful game. From its numerous, rewarding game modes to its stunning player moves repertoire that allows almost unparalleled control over the ball, FIFA 10 accurately and quite lovingly captures the essence of football.

FIFA 10 stars a veritable flood of teams from around the world. Using the FIFA license, FIFA 10 features the English Premier League, France’s Ligue 1, Italy’s Serie A and obscure leagues such as the Norwegian Premier League and the Swiss Super League.

It is a joy to play a game in which not only are there teams from the major football leagues in the world but also the obscure leagues, but the beauty of FIFA 10 extends far beyond choice of teams and leagues.

FIFA 10 features several unique modes – there are Be A Pro: Seasons, Manager Mode, as well as international tournaments and online leagues. My favorite mode by far is Be A Pro. I am a Be A Pro addict. Be A Pro first roped me in with NCAA Football’s opportunity to play as a college football star. Then, NHL 10‘s Be A Pro Mode wrapped me into five full seasons of AHL and NHL stardom before FIFA 10 came into my life.

FIFA 10‘s Be A Pro mode allows you to command a single player through 4 seasons of a career. You create an individual player and can detail him right down to his facial features, hairstyle, shoes and birth date. Then, your player has the opportunity to become a star athlete by signing with a team of his choice from around the world. He will have to rise from the Reserves squad of his club onto the 1st team and can eventually become not only a Captain but indeed, a legend on the pitch. As his reputation grows his skills will increase and he will capture the attention of the national team. Then, FIFA 10 provides a unique opportunity for your player to play with the National Team of his country, eventually reaching, at the culmination of 4 seasons, the World Cup.

Be A Pro mode is so fantastic because of how addicting it is. I found myself researching ways to improve my player through the game’s manual of skill-sets and goals and soon attempted everything from standing tackles to fake shots to scoring a hat trick in a game to make my star into a superstar. The star you create can play in seasons but also can gain skills in the Arena, which is an open football pitch in which the player can run around practicing skill moves such as rainbow flips, around-the-world and simple dribbling. He can also practice shooting on net and can numerous different skill points in this manner.

I rave about Be A Pro mode because it enables an RPG-like experience in a sports game, which, for sports gamers like myself, is the capitalization of the reasons we play. I play sports games for the single-player experience. I dream of being a football star and though my real-life skills are passable, in Be A Pro mode I can imagine that I am a star. I command the field, see open routes, score beautiful, curving goals and lift the spirits of Celtic FC and Olympique Marseilles. It is a beautiful thing.

The only complaint I have about Be A Pro mode is that it is limited in length and in diversity of experience. I was thrilled to make Celtic and lead them to an SPL title, but I was less than thrilled to discover that my SPL title did not lead to a Champions League berth. In fact, in Be A Pro mode you cannot qualify for the Champions League, which is a major irritation. While playing for a league title is wonderful, gaining superstardom by leading your club to the European title is the culmination of a career and hopefully will be included in FIFA 11.

In addition, it is a disappointment that other trophy races aren’t included in Be A Pro mode. For instance, while I won the Scottish Premier League crown with Celtic I never had the opportunity to compete for the Scottish Cup.

Finally, the only other thing missing from Be A Pro is a full career. Your Be A Pro career is relegated to 4 seasons in which you play for your club(s) and your national team and it culminates in the World Cup. However, it is a disappointment to not have the ability to play until retirement as a season can be finished in five or six hours of play and I could easily have continued playing for many more seasons after four were over.

But let me ensure you that while there are things missing from Be A Pro mode, it is, overall, an excellent experience that is worth the full price of the game without ever exploring the other modes available. And beyond Be A Pro mode, your created “Virtual Pro” can be used in any of the games other modes as well.

Manager Mode, on the other hand, is a comprehensive mode that allows you to play as the entire club. You command all the players on the pitch, make trades and free agent signings and can compete in the Champions League and for trophies such as the Scottish Cup.

The most defining difference, however, between FIFA 10 and all other football games is the unparalleled control of your players. This game actually feels like football. You can completely turn an opponent inside out with a beautifully implemented body feint and you can completely control your players unlike in any other football game. After years of limiting players to moving in 8 directions, FIFA 10 allows unparalleled, 360-degree, trick-laden movement. It is a beautiful thing to witness.

In addition, defenses are intelligent and aggressive. They will swiftly move up to catch you offsides and truly jostle with you for control of the ball. There were many times where I thought I had a breakaway on net only to be stopped by a strong, eager defenseman. In addition, goaltenders are also intelligent. They play forward when encountering a breakaway and frequently took balls from between my feet just before I tried to pop one over their heads. They make spectacular punching saves and move organically.

There are a host of small options that fans of the game will truly appreciate as well. While the most famous stadiums in the world are duly represented in-game, many stadiums are generic, but they are relatively accurate in appearance and size to the actual stadiums teams play in. For instance, while Celtic Park wasn’t in the game I could go into a stadium name page and change the stadium Celtic plays in and rename it from “Football Ground” or something similar to “Celtic Park”. It doesn’t put Celtic Park in the game, but at least it gets the name correct. Things like this really make this a standout, deep football game.

This is a game that offers a bevy of options and captures football unlike any other football title out there. FIFA 10 is the best football game on the market and I cannot recommend it highly enough. If you are a sports fan, buy this game now.