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So the World cup may be over in South Africa, but it has left behind a legacy and given many a real feel of what support for football is like. One big reason for this is that many people will support their country even when they don't follow the sport, more so than they may with a club team.
Cashing in on this is the FIFA 2010 World cup game for the PSP, allowing those who may not want the hours that should be put into the likes of FIFA 10 to enjoy a slice of football gaming. The main issue of course is that the portable itterations always try and be their own game and distance themesleves from the home conoles, thankfully the World cup game doesn't and lets you have nearly the same experience.
Playing as one of 199 teams you can compete all the way through World cup qaulifying to the finals, try and repeat history in the stories of qualifying or even create yourself and try to become the most famous player in the world with be a pro. As well as this there is a quick match mode and training areas, for those who want some practice before they venture into the nail biting world of international football.
A number of improvements were made from FIFA 10, these include players tiring when playing at higher altitude which makes the game very realistic as different country's react differently.
The player controls were tightened, players now feel as though they have weight, allowing the flow of play to be more like the real game as before you could run past a player with messi and they would always catch up.
During the World cup campaign players can be injured outside of games, showing that even in a computer game you are still helpless. The injurys can be 1 or 2 games, although very rarely you can have campaign ending injuries like broken legs. England saw how this can happen and it makes a realistic albeit sometimes frustrating feature.
Defensive AI has been made sharper, allowing them to read the game better as well as making better decisions in clearences and tackles. Dangerous crosses will be met by flying bodies and players trying to get anything on the ball, this really helped increase tension when under constant attacks. This goes for the keepers as well who are still leaving me in awe with some of the saves they have pulled of in the game, even if they are diving the wrong way they will stretch their legs and look towards the ball, I have also noticed that they are prone to slips and mistakes. An example of this was at a corner where the keeper began to run out and punch the ball, realised he couldn't get to it and slipped whilst turning back to goal.
Players control over the ball has slightly changed as they now look at the easiest way to bring the ball down, rather than the quickest. This lets you move the ball around quicker and with more control so you can find that killer through ball.
The biggest change many will easily notice is a new and more difficult penalty system, made to make the game more unpredictable and show the pressure involved with a spot kick. Now the power and direction must be delicatley selected at the same time as you run up to goal, you can also take a stutter and try to fool the keeper, but beware , if you have timed it wrong their is a chance you could do a Beckham and slip completely whilst skying the ball.
A momentum bar is filled throughout the game when attacking and defending, this shows how the swing of play is working out but I personally find this useless as I can feel wether things are going my way or wether the other team has the upper hand, it is all reflected in the fans and the players rather than a visual aid.
The World cup is without doubt, the biggest sporting competition on the globe with 100's of millions watching. This has been well re-created by FIFA's extensive World cup mode, starting off with your freindlys leading up to qaulifying you literally play all the way to the final. Throughout this journey players will shine or fade away, with mid competition freindlies giving you a great chance to look for talent. It manages to bring a great deal of excitement and tension, via the other games scores popping up in the corner. As the competition depends as much on your resluts as others it can become pretty intense when the team you need to win goes a goal down. Another nice addition was when you qaulify you get to watch the draw for the groups, building tension as the big names could be called into your group and it brings the broadcasting side into the game a little more. I should say that you can start at any stage of the World cup, so if you dont fancy qualifying again you can start straight from South Africa.
Captain your country makes an appearance, being an improved version of FIFA 10's mixed be a pro mode. Starting off as a lowly B-international , you need to show the manager your capable by fullfilling your duty in the team based on your position. Being a central midfielder, my player got a good reputation for his high passing percentage and assist amount, other players need different statistics to be high like goals scored or tackles completed. It's quite a long mode and provides many good hours alongside the World cup game, it feels really satisfying taking your player to the finals and seeing him walk out onto the pitch and so heightens the realism when it looks bleak.
Filling in the menu is another intresting mode called Story of qualifying, allowing you to play through all the big matches in qualifying and the ability to download the scenario's for all World cup 2010 matches. This mode is really fun and something a little different, for example you can replay as boznia and try to come back against portugal from 3-0 down with 10 minutes to go, or go to the World cup finals and try to have Africa ecstatic by scoring a 2nd goal in the very first game for South Africa.
The training modes have everything you could want , letting you create custom set peices or learn how to take the perfect penalty with the new power bar system. Practice matches are also available ranging from 4v4 to 11v11 and all the ones in between. This really comes in handy when learning new skills and how the ball reacts, such a simple feature but one that is often left out.
The game includes all 199 competeing teams, the 10 world cup stadiums and a further 20-30 stadiums dotted around the globe. Also included to angry many are the Vuvuzella's.
The graphics of the game are good for the PSP, trying it's best to show off the vibrance of the World cup and the fans but their just isn't quite enough power under the hood. It is easy on the eyes and you will recognise players and managers, but it doesn't have as much polish as the home consoles.
Confetti and streamers are thrown down over the pitch during cut-scenes and remain on the pitch, this looks quite cool and very similar to how the matches are in broadcast.
The game is slightly restricted as there is only the 8 direction movement instead of 360, but it meets a nice middle point of control and style whereas many games swing one way or the other.
The action moves along comfortably and only jitters every now and again over many hours of play, this is acceptable when you think how stretched the game is trying to be whilst running on the PSP. 60fps is very comfortable to watch and play.
The sound is good with specific commentry leading to intresting conversations about the two competeing countrys, further more the Vuvuzella's and fans really make the atmosphere a joy. The English play their trumpets and sing songs wereas the South americans bang their drums and whistles. It really shows off the variety of the World cup and maes every game different.
Multiplayer is available over Wi-fi and my few experiences of it have been good, it has run smooth and the games have been competitive. No lag or latency to be seen but of course this is dependant on connection.
Available on Amazon for £18, it's a good game if your not overly keen on football and just want the arcade scenario mode or to play through the World cup. Those who really like their football it is the decision call of wether it's worth it inbetween FIFA 10 and 11, but there is a easily 100 hours of gameplay possible and a nice game to have for the commute and breaks, one of those games you may just want knocking about.