¡Viva la FIFA!

FIFA 10 is an amazing game. I have never really enjoyed watching soccer (lack of action), nor playing it (too much damn running).  There will always only be one football to me, and it’s the full contact game where men actually use their hands. Nonetheless, I freakin’ love FIFA 10, much more so than any version of Madden. There is a reason FIFA 10 was the fastest-selling sports game ever in Europe. It has already sold nearly ten million copies since launching last October. The game has solid graphics and looks beautiful when playing on a large screen. English announcers Martin Tyler and Andy Grey provide fairly entertaining commentary, though the repetition sinks in quickly as with all sports games. To overcome this problem, I recommend occasionally turning on the Mexican commentators and hearing the ridiculously extended scream of "GOOOOOOOAL!" Also, the game has a huge number of leagues and teams, ranging from the very low-skilled to world-class footballers. The controls are simple enough for a new player to pick up the basics immediately, but the impressive depth of strategy makes the game incredibly addicting. With five or six minute halves, a typical game takes roughly fifteen minutes, making it the perfectly timed study break.

To be fair, the game is not flawless. The AI (for n00bs, that's artificial intelligence) is generally very solid and the game has a good range of difficulty settings, but stupid glitches will happen from time to times, such as when my goalie allowed a very soft pass from a defender to go directly through his legs with no strikers in sight. Penalty shootouts are a disappointing method to decide games still tied after two periods of extra time, though I suppose this mimics real soccer games.

Although the franchise mode is quite enjoyable, my exploration of the many different single player modes has been limited. The game is undoubtedly best played in multiplayer mode.  One-on-one is excellent for competitive gamers, and two-on-two FIFA 10 could be the best four-player gaming experience available. FIFA invites trashing talking, betting, yelling at teammates, and all the other hallmarks of poor sportsmanship that accompany a great sports game. Only the best games inspire competitive immaturity like this one.