Despite being the world's most popular sport, and also EA's biggest-selling annual title, FIFA 10 was relegated to a small backroom presence at E3 while Madden was everywhere. Ah well. We played it anyway.
What Is It?
It's FIFA. Previously the world's second-best football game behind Konami's Pro Evolution series, but since last year, the world's best football game.
What We Saw
We saw two full matches being played before jumping in and playing a single half, Liverpool vs Portsmouth. I wasn't allowed to change teams, and was forced to play as Pompey. EA are lucky this isn't a review.
How Far Along Is It?
It's about halfway through development, but as an annual sports title, this isn't as severe an issue as it normally is. It looked a little rough, though you could also see player animation had been improved over 09 slightly, as had the stadiums.
What Needs Improvement?
Bobbleheads: It was a bit hard to tell only playing a single half, since some of FIFA's more glaring shortcomings are to be found in its user interface. But as far as the on-pitch stuff goes, ball control has been loosened considerably. Perhaps a little too much, as it often took too long to get the ball under control and get a good pass off.
What Should Stay The Same?
360 Degrees: My biggest problem with FIFA 09 was that dribbling was digital, in that you could only ever move in one of eight directions. FIFA 10 has done away with this, and now lets you dribble whichever way your analogue stick is pointing, allowing for more precise, fluid runs.
Fight For Your Right...To Tackle: While the ball control needs tweaking, the fundamental decision the team has made to completely remove the ball from the player's "control" looks good. Basically, the ball is never 100% under your control, which looks and feels a lot more natural.
It's FIFA09. But it already plays better. Since FIFA 09 was great, this is a good, good thing.