Hands on Impressions: FIFA 10


Developer: EA Canada
Publisher: EA Sports
Also on: Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii
Console Played on: PlayStation 3
Release Date: Friday October 2nd 2009
Age Rating: PEGI 3

Another year, another FIFA. The usual then, no surprise there, and it’s the same so far for the game itself, as with previous incarnations, it’s all about evolution of the franchise not revolution.

FIFA’s big advancement this season is the implementation of 360 degree dribbling. Based on the demo, the new found freedom with dribbling is excellent, almost (to coin a cliché with many football games now) feeling organic to a degree, the stark contrast between the archaic 8-axis dribbling of old seem so last gen now, as you really do notice player movement changes with deft nudges of the analogue stick.


Exhibition matches is the only option available in the demo, so I jumped straight into a match with Chelsea against Juventus. In the demo, player animations are supurb, the way players strike the ball looks more realistic, and little touches like the referee jumping over the ball when it’s played near him add to a sense of realism out there on the virtual pitch. The animation is brilliant, even at this stage. I’ve already mentioned the referee jumping over balls, another highlight was when I was having an attempt on goal with Thierry Henry. I’d played the ball in low with Messi, and Henry had an attempt on goal with a backheeled shot, evocative of his back in 2004.


One feature previously used in Pro Evolution Soccer (PES had to be mentioned eventually!) is the quick free kick system has made it’s way over to FIFA and is implemented well, allowing you to keep the game flowing. The pace of the game has been increased too. Some may have felt that FIFA 09 was too slow, not anymore. From playing through a few matches in the demo, coming straight from 09 makes it feel quite quick, but after a few games the pace feels just right. Patient build up play is still rewarded in FIFA, it’s still no arcade football game. Take your time to carefully craft an attack and the reward will often be a chance on goal.


Individual players seem to have more character to them now, Messi and Ribery really can run the whole pitch now in the game, whereas in 09 you’d fail more often that you’d succeed trying that tactic. Niggles from the previous FIFA incarnations have also been ironed out too with FIFA 10. The ball is looser, it bobbles and bounces around as you’d expect a real football to do, it no longer feels glued to the feet of the players under your control like it has at times in the past. AI has taken a step-up too, when you set players off to make a run using L1, they are more intelligent and pick better channels to run through, whilst the opposition AI has come on a good deal too, with the ball being spread to the flanks to stretch your team if you’re undermanned at the back.

One gripe I had with 09 was defenders chesting the ball down, it was like I was playing out there, not professional footballers. Thankfully, this has been addressed somewhat, with players like John Terry exhibiting the skill you’d expect to trap the ball quickly and distribute it equally as fast to the midfield or beyond.


Short passing is now more fluid too, again to coin that famous games cliché, it’s organic, whilst those Hollywood cross-field passes now have more purpose about them as well.

Moreover, jostling for possession is less robotic than before, you’ll get players like Didier Drogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic being able to use their considerable strength to nag away at defenders to win the ball. Headers I still feel out of defence are still a tad weak, and could do with more power on them.


The big question are per normal each year is how the game will fair against PES. Personally, it’s going to be FIFA’s year again. EA Sports have really nailed football on the current generation of consoles, with their game engine working better and better with each new FIFA, the redesign of it was brilliant whereas PES has struggled the transition over, with PES 2009 still not being the game we knew and loved back on the PlayStation 2.

PES still has some interesting features, with their own take on 360 degree dribbling but that as yet hasn’t been shown off, leading me to the conclusion that it’s possible it could be a last-minute addition to the game in a bid to keep up with FIFA. A vast revamp of the Master League and online play is greatly needed, or else Konami will be firmly in second place again.


  • 360 degree dribbling is fantastic, general gameplay is a step up again from last year, faster, more fluid.
  • As usual, graphics and presentation are top drawer
  • Full game promises huge depth with the new improved Manager Mode, along with the popular Ultimate Team mode introduced this year to FIFA 09.


  • I’m still not keen on FIFA’s heading, they’re often too weak, especially when defending.
  • Skill system on right analogue stick still needs work, easier to beat men with pace than faff around using it.

Conclusion: It’s hard to find fault with FIFA now, EA should be commended on the game they’ve created. As with previous FIFA demos, this is a few builds behind the version that we’ll all be playing at home, but suffice to say, if there is the same leap from the 09 demo to 09 game as there is with this, FIFA 10 could well be the best football game in a long time unless Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 has something special up it’s sleeve when the final game comes together.

Check out the video below to see the first goal I scored in FIFA 10, not bad if I don’t say so myself!