Whenever a big sporting event takes place, you can bet there's a video game company ready to pounce. Sega did that right on cue with the Winter Olympic games, not only with a real simulation (Vancouver 2010) but also a pair of fantasy efforts involving Sonic and Mario. And now, with the 2010 FIFA World Cup set to kick off this summer, EA Sports partnered with the league and all its teams to create a game worthy of the tournament's name.

2010 FIFA World Cup for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 will carry on the tradition of the great FIFA games, namely FIFA 10. Most of the gameplay tactics show marginal signs of improvement, from risking a yellow card to steal the ball with a vicious tackle to making a breakaway and seeing if you can "foot" the ball past the expecting goalie. However, there are some exclusive features being made specifically for World Cup that soccer hooligans will enjoy.

First, the game includes 199 teams from all around the world. Everyone from Afghanistan to Yemen should be available, including some of the more popular teams, like Brazil and England. You'll play through a virtual reproduction of the 2010 World Cup bracket, making your way to the Final, where your opponents are no doubt ready to defend their honor on the soccer field. What's even better, you can play against friends in a similar bracket online, either through Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network. You'll be able to select opponents around the globe, then prove your worth with a combination of wits and nimble feet. Everything you do in a match is also uploadable through leaderboards, in case you want to show the competition just how much you mean business.

EA Sports is also going all out to recreate the tournament-style atmosphere of the event. All ten official stadiums will appear, including the final one, right in the heart of South Africa. Furthermore, EA will also add confetti cannons, streamers, banners, seat cards, flags, fireworks and vuvuzelas, capturing every ounce of energy you would find from a crowd during a soccer match. Oh yeah, and expect lots of fans to jump around in the seats, especially when their favorite team scores a goal.

Atmospheric touches aren't just being put into the visuals, but also player performance. Depending on the surrounding altitude for each arena, players will react accordingly. For instance, in an area with less air resistance, the ball will travel faster and further, making your kicks more effective. Also, players will feel fatigue and stamina draining away over the course of a match, so you'll want to make sure you balance your team carefully, or you might leave your best player winded. Your safest bet is to see where you're playing (an area of high altitude versus a stadium at sea level) and set up your roster from there.

Finally, along with gameplay tweaks and improved presentation, 2010 FIFA World Cup will also have home and away tactics. With these, the CPU opponents will create strategic, defensive formations if they're playing in their home location, making themselves ready for the away team. However, just because they have cheering crowds and a slight advantage doesn't mean they'll always win. Just use your wits, watch where their players are and set up your plan of attack.

If you're a soccer enthusiast, you'll have plenty to be excited about with the forthcoming 2010 FIFA World Cup game. It will have multiple options, both online and off, and the presentation and gameplay upgrades should make it even better than FIFA 10, and considering how great that game already is, that sounds remarkable. We'll try to get hands-on time with the game soon, as it rolls towards its spring release.

Preview courtesy of GamePlayBook.

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