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FIFA 2010 – Time to cross the line?

I’ve alluded to it before in the last two years but now I’m seriously considering doing the unthinkable: I think I might buy a FIFA game instead of Pro Evo this year.

It’s not a decision to be made lightly.

But first, a history lesson:  Football is an important part of the fabric that makes up some of the friendships on The FAT Website.  I remember being rather envious of Matt and Mike’s card collection for World Cup USA 94.  I fondly recall Friday morning football with Matt, Pat and Mr Jones where we would steal money from Mr Jones when he drove us home so we could buy Milo.

There was also that one time Pat scored an absolute scorcher from 30 yards out and it dipped right into the goal.  Those times when I was a defender and Matt was a goalkeeper and we talked about how we suspected Dean of being a pederast.  That time that Chelsea FC came to our school and we spent the day hanging out with Ruud Gullit, Gianfranco Zola and Roberto Di Matteo.  Then there was that one time I fell over when playing.  Oh wait, that never happened.

FIFA on the Sega Mega Drive:  tap 'A' for bullhorn

FIFA on the Sega Mega Drive: tap 'A' for bullhorn

Equally important, as we got older and fatter and gradually stopped going outdoors, was our shared enjoyment of football video games.  The first football game I ever played was Italia 1990 with my brother on the Commodore 64.  I then got introduced to FIFA when I would go to the Priest’s house and we would play the game on the Sega Mega Drive.  It was pretty cool.  When you scored a goal, you could mash the buttons and it would make the sound of a bullhorn.

Years later, it was over a game of FIFA that myself and Pat bonded and first became friends.  Specifically, Pat would spam the L2 button on the Playstation controller which would make Ian Wright do an unstoppable pirouette around my defenders and then score every time without fail.  That day I called Pat a **** and a lifelong friendship was formed.



When we had our Sunday afternoon band practises and took a break from our 47th take of Green Day’s When I Come Around, we would play WWF Attitude or a football game.  FIFA used to be king.  The first football I remember getting on the original Playstation was FIFA 96. That game was amazing.  It had the entire Malaysian League with licensed player names so you could play as Rosanan Samak or Brian Bothwell for Brunei.  It also had John Motson and Andy Gray on commentary and every three seconds, there would be a soundbyte of John going ‘OOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH’.  It sounded like sex.

Then one fateful summer, my relatives from Japan visited Brunei and they gave me J-League Winning Eleven 95 as a gift (because they’re awesome).  It introduced me to a world of video game football where the graphics looked like ass but it played like actual football.  It was incredible.

J-League Winning Eleven: the first ever Winning Eleven game

J-League Winning Eleven: the first ever Winning Eleven game

By 1999, I think everyone was a convert to Winning Eleven and the FIFA series fell by the wayside.  It was always the same every year:  FIFA had the licenses and the pretty graphics but Winning Eleven had the realism.

Fast forward ten years and its a whole new world:  We have a black American president, Australia is unofficially the greatest footballing nation and it’s possible that for the first time in a decade, FIFA might be ready to reclaim its title as the best football video game series.

Since the current generation of consoles came out, starting with the Xbox 360 in 2005, the Winning Eleven/Pro Evolution Soccer series hasn’t quite met the high standard that it set in the previous generation.  The graphics were looking as stodgy as ever, the netcode sucked when I tried to play against anyone online and the gameplay was, shockingly, starting to get a bit stale.

Not that FIFA was any much better.  I’ve been playing the demos each year and they still didn’t feel quite right either.

Then along comes FIFA 2009 which was the first time in ten years that the series scored a higher Meta Critic average than Pro Evolution Soccer.  I read online about maybe PES fans becoming converts.  And in a few short months, FIFA 2010 will launch.  Now what happens?

I picked up this month’s issue of Edge magazine which gave FIFA 2010 a cover story.  The article spoke with the project leads, both of whom freely admit to being bigger PES fans for the past ten years.  They seemed to have a clear understanding of what made the game great and what they felt FIFA had to do to not just catch up, but supercede the PES series.

Who knows?  It could all be hype but I want to believe.  I think PES has been stale for a while and getting their arses kicked for a couple of years might be just what they need to lift their game.  I also quite like the idea of an all-encompassing football game that not only plays the best but also has the full licenses so I don’t get stuck playing as Froibaad for West London City FC.  Maybe FIFA 2010 could be that game?

About Edo

Edo currently lives in Australia where he spends his time playing video games and enjoying his wife's cooking.


  1. i played FIFA 10 in London the other month at an EA showcase and although it was only 40% done it was looking miiiiggghhhhttttyyy good. from the new control tweaks they’ve put in to even the new goalkeeper AI (as in they’re not so fucking retarded anymore) it’s shaping up very nicely. although, if you’d played FIFA 09 you’d have seen it coming, that game completely trounced the last Pro Evo.

    also, nothing wrong with playing as Froibaad. =p

  2. I think the goalkeeper sensationally diving on the ball when it was trickingly towards him with no strikers nearby is a trademark of FIFA.

    Does FIFA have create-a-player? If I can make Froibaad and an eight foot tall likeness of myself with full stats then we’re golden.

    Of course if FIFA truly is better than Pro Evo this year, its important everyone is on board and we convince Munch and Pat to pick up the right game too.

  3. Picking up FIFA10 for sure, but then I’ve always been a FIFA whore 😛

  4. Sold – I have brought Pro Evo every year since they have been coming out after Fifa 98. PES was pants last year. Fifa this year for sure…

  5. this is encouraging! Fifa 10 it is then. now PS3 or Xbox? just so i know which version to request for review.

  6. 360 man. I don’t think Pat has a PS3.

    Plus, y’know, achievements.

  7. Hrm. I was going on the assumptions that PC FIFA can hook up to console FIFA, but thinking about it now it may not be the case…

  8. You should ask for an Xbox 360 this Christmas dude. The Arcade model is down to like $230 or so with a couple of games thrown in.

  9. 360 all the way.

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