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Another year and another EA Sports FIFA title hits the shelves. But can FIFA retain its crown this year? With a polished game engine from the previous title, and 50 new movement cycles, along with new virtual pro accomplishments coming in at around 200 to unlock, this game has a ton of content.  FIFA10 looks good but will have to be more then good to beat its previous title that sold nearly 8 million copies. It’s time to find out just how much EA want to retain its title of best football game.

Those well versed with the annual battle will testify that FIFA09’s gameplay matched its polished officialdom. A true fanboys delight of up to date kits, boots, player names, league licenses and true to life stadia. Well FIFA10 is no different, but with added features such as the new 360 dribbling360 Dribbling which provides finer dribbling control, enabling players to find spaces between defenders that previously were not possible. A new practice arena feature which has been missing from FIFA games in the last few years. Work on individual skills in a fully featured practice mode before stepping on the pitch, so here is where you will come to tune your corner and free kick taking to customizing said set pieces. Practice arena can also be played two player, making training sessions that little more important. EA has even listened to the online community by adding the chance of taking a quick direct free kick, so while your opponent shuffles his wall you can slide a killer ball on goal.

The Manager Mode is better then ever in FIFA10, match results are more realistic, with each game being calculated on per minute basis. So no more will you see results that look more like NFL scores, and the weaker teams also stand a chance of stealing those valuable 3 points. Not only have they tweaked the match day engine but you will no longer see the likes of Kaka, Messi and C.Ronaldo signing for mid table sides. The transfer system has been updated so players take the position and ability of clubs before looking for that 100k a week pay packet, Sol Campbell maybe should have done the same ?. The manager mode lets you take full control of you’re chosen club through 15 full seasons, so there will be many ups and downs.

Virtual Pro is a new mode which lets you take to the pitch as a created player. Begin your career and build your reputation from ground up, here you will build your player. Making a footballer will require you to select a position, height, weight and last but not least who he will play for. Virtual Pro also allows you to import your ugly mug into the game via GAMEFACE. This is a nice feature but every time I have tried to use it the site just crashes so maybe this will need to be rethink. You can use your virtual pro in any of the offline modes, including Manager Mode, Be a Pro Seasons, Lounge mode and kick off. The more you use your Virtual Pro the more chance you will have of unlocking achievements for him (at semi pro or higher), upgrade his stats and create a true legend. But fear not as you can now use your Created star online in Pro club championship.

FIFA 10 Aiming for goal

Pro Club Championship is where you will act out the dream of actually being a football star. You will sign for a club play matches and even get offers from other clubs to sign you. This time around the teams are all made up from random players so it’s an even playing field. So don’t fear of playing Real Madrid as they won’t have Kaka, Benzema and C.Ronaldo. You will compete in leagues that will be reset after each day so everyone gets a chance to taste glory. Be a Pro and Lounge mode both make a return and are the same as last year so I don’t feel I need to go into too much there.

Live Season 2.0 brings fully up to date stats and records of your club into FIFA10 every week through the open season. My live season updates once a week with real time performances, including injuries, transfers, suspensions and cards to formation changes Rafa Benitez looking at you here. This is a pretty good idea that follows on from last year’s success with live season. And this year you have the chance to buy all leagues as a bundle for a mere 800ms/6 pound.

Now with all the new features and changes I hear you ask has the AI been tweaked, well you will be glad to know the answer is yes. There will be Freedom in Physical Play, Wider dribble touches and new collision sharing creates a varied, less predictable, and extended fight for possession between the dribbler and a defender. Skilled Dribbling Animation warping technology provides unprecedented control. Skilled players now have the ability to face a defender and use highly-responsive lateral dribbling to skip past him. Improved Trapping Intelligence so players will bring the ball down in the best way possible, so if there is a ball coming over his shoulder he will try and take it down on his knee. EA have also made

Refinements to the shooting system and modifications of the ball physics create a wider, more realistic variety of shots that enhance the exhilaration of scoring. Goalies have had a Intelligence boost, Numerous improvements mean that goalkeepers now have more urgency and better perception of where to intercept loose balls, resulting in a more responsive and powerful rushing system. New animation warping technology provides game-realistic goalkeeper positioning and momentum, resulting in more varied scoring opportunities. Now you wouldn’t just want to rely on your keeper so the boys at EA have also varied defending options slide tackle targeting has been enhanced so skilled players have more reach and avoid tackling through the dribbler. Better effort clearance logic gives defenders more options when attempting to get a foot on the ball before an attacker. Effort such as sliding to block crosses and overhead kick clearances, give defenders more tools to prevent goal-scoring opportunities.

FIFA 10 split sreens

Online modes have been given a new facial but offer the same as previous titles, head to head is where you will want to come to play one on one matches either ranked or unranked. Lobbies split up into skill levels to regions of the world you will find a room to cater to your needs. Leaderboard’s as you would expect appear in the game and winning games online as well as scoring goals and keeping clean sheets will award you with skill points and move you closer to the top of the leaderboard.  Online leagues are a great way of showing your skills as you can compete in a league made up of up to 31 friends. play by your rules against players across the globe in a series of structured one on one matches. And at the end of the day the winner will get the bragging rights and the feeling of glory.

After playing this game for a few days and got to grips with the new game engine I cant really see this game being topped this year. So Konami have it all to do to take the crown from EA this game has what made FIFA09 great and more. So after seeing that the 360 dribbling isn’t just a gimmick and the getting used to the thrilling shooting system this game is truly great and for a football fan a must buy.

9.5 Ninja Heads out of 10

Ninja score 10 out of 10