#2 of 2010: FIFA World Cup

Posted January 7th, 2011 at 12:30 pm

In a year that had several quality soccer offerings the one that stood out the most was 2010 FIFA World Cup. The game was exceedingly fun and when tied in with the emotions of the real World Cup taking place it really nailed the full experience. Even the vuvuzelas made an appearance!

The ranking of games in the best of 2010 list is based on the personal amount of enjoyment had with a particular title, whether advertised features were fully delivered on, post-release support, community interaction and communication, overall gameplay experience, feature set, and online play performance. Again this is largely a personal take on the games and not a recap of those with the highest scores on Metacritic. The analysis is weighted heavily towards those which I had the most fun with while considering them as a whole and compared relatively to the field.

While they do not get the same widespread exposure as the standard FIFA series, the off-year titles for World Cup and UEFA still do really well worldwide and serve as bridges to FIFA. In that sense they tend to be a little easier to get a grasp of and appeal to a more casual audience. 2010 FIFA World Cup definitely fits that profile as it is faster paced, more open and more forgiving. That level of accessibility is valuable and works to let the fun factor really come through no matter how skilled someone is at the game.

I certainly wouldn’t be someone to break down elements of gameplay or realism, but the game felt true enough to life and synced up with the real-life World Cup to provide an experience rather than just end up as a game attempting to replicate an event or cash in on it. With the global awareness and excitement towards the World Cup it really delivered in the sense of size and pride that fans have supporting their countries. The atmosphere was outstanding, and even the differentiation between different stadiums and the effects of weather conditions were noticeable.

What really struck me was just how much fun I had, even if losing online I enjoyed my time with the game. It is difficult for me to think of many games where getting handled by someone else wouldn’t put me in a bit of a bad mood. The ranked online system was especially intriguing with the “World League Ladder” that had 10 game sets and awarded three points for wins and one for draws. Because of that I played way more online ranked games against random opponents then I typically would with any sports game these days. My one disappointment came with the omission of Online Team Play. The ranked format though was compelling enough that I didn’t really miss it as much as I expected to.

Very few issues stood out, partially because of my lack of ability to spot the more hardcore details, but more so due to the fun I was having outweighing whatever they might have been. The only thing that took me out of the moment was the framerate in cut scenes which seemed to chug because of everything going on in the stadiums.

When a game that represents a sport I don’t watch all that often and despite that produces a high level of enjoyment I give it a lot of credit. Those don’t necessarily have the benefit of built-in knowledge bases but manage to be fun and in the process teach about the sport too. There is usually one each year that emerges and this time around it was 2010 FIFA World Cup. I had more pure fun with World Cup this year than any other sports title and it really succeeded in boosting interest in the sport and the FIFA franchise going forward.

#2: 2010 FIFA World Cup
#3: NCAA Football 11
#4: EA Sports MMA
#5: FIFA 11
#6: Madden NFL 11
#7: Kinect Sports
#8: MLB 10 The Show
#9: NHL 11
#10: NBA Jam
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