When the 2010 World Cup kicks off in South Africa next month, soccer fans the world over will be glued to their televisions regardless of whether or not their country is still in the running. When there are no matches being played, they'll need some other way to satiate their soccer appetites, and that's where 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa comes in. The Wii version of EA Sports' latest offering doesn't play a realistic game of soccer, but it looks and sounds the part, and there's still plenty of fun to be had on the field, particularly if you're with friends.
6261245noneHeskey celebrates an early goal with style.
Unlike FIFA games on other platforms, which seemingly strive for realism above all else, 2010 FIFA World Cup on the Wii makes some compromises in the interest of accessibility. Moving the ball around effectively requires some skill because you have to determine both the direction and the strength of every pass, but the controls for almost every other aspect of outfield play have been boiled down to the bare essentials. This includes corners, free kicks, penalties, shots at goal, defending, and even the act of two players competing to get on the end of a goal kick. The controls are uncomplicated, and if you've ever played a FIFA game before--on any platform--you should have no trouble picking them up. With that said, using a Classic Controller is definitely recommended because the remote and nunchuk setups afford you less control and require remote shaking to shoot at goal and perform sliding tackles.
Shots at goal are perhaps the least realistic aspect of 2010 FIFA World Cup, though it can still be very satisfying to score great goals. You can hit the shoot button--or shake your remote if you insist--from anywhere on the field, and if you're the right side of the halfway line, there's always a chance that you'll score. That's because every single shot gets launched toward the opposition's goal like a rocket--complete with visual and audio effects more befitting a bullet than a ball. You won't score every time, of course, but make no mistake, this is a game in which you score a lot of goals and net-busting bicycle kicks and the like are the norm.
How well you fare elsewhere on the field will depend on the speed of your reflexes because a number of different scenarios all get resolved the same way--with a quick, well-timed flick of the right analog stick. For example, if you're trying to get on the end of a goal kick or a corner, you simply wait for the incoming ball to glow for a moment and then flick the right analog stick as quickly as possible to ensure that you win the ball. If you win this minigame of sorts after a goal kick, then you perfectly control the ball as your opponent stumbles to the ground; if you win it after a corner, then you either shoot at goal or make a clearance, depending on whether you're attacking or defending. Direct free kicks work in a similar fashion: As the kick taker, you have to time your tap of the stick with your player striking the ball, and as the goalie, you watch for the glowing ball. It's an overly simplistic system, but it works, and it keeps the game moving at a good pace because you're not wasting time trying to line up every set piece perfectly.
When the ball glows, that's your cue to make your move.
If you're playing against the AI on the medium or hard difficulty setting, set pieces might provide some of your best chances at goal, but if you take the easy option, you can more or less score goals at will. It's unfortunate that there's such a significant difference between the easy and medium difficulty settings because the easy option is unlikely to challenge even the most inexperienced players, while medium might surprise you with some great goals of its own on occasion. Given this game's obvious emphasis on accessibility, an option between the two might have made sense. Regardless, you shouldn't be spending too much time playing with the AI anyway because, like most sports game, 2010 FIFA World Cup is best enjoyed with friends.