While I'm not the world's biggest soccer (sorry, football) fan, I appreciate the enormity of an event that causes half of the planet to stop what they're doing and freak out over kicking a ball around a nicely manicured lawn. Electronic Arts' new 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa for the iPhone will have footie fans freaking out, too, but for the wrong reasons. It's difficult to control and the intelligence behind the eyes of rival squads is questionable at best.
Previous editions of FIFA are bizarrely superior to World Cup. Whereas they may not have been as good as the console versions, at least they were reliably playable. Seriously, try passing a ball with any degree of accuracy in World Cup. (Well, don't. That would entail downloading the game to your iPhone first.) Or check out the craziness of not being able to easily switch players. If the player is not on-screen, they may as well be dead to you. You must actually run the ball down the field until the desired player is in the window before you can use them. Nevermind if this causes you to run headlong into a throng of defenders.
Your teammates are not explicitly operating in the best interests of the opposite team, but at times I seriously questioned their loyalty. On more than one occasion, I watched one of my teammates run over a loose ball rather than actively go after it. But yet, while players seemingly run around like headless chickens, goalies might as well be twice as wide as their actual dimensions because they are uncanny about tracking your kick and blocking a shot. At least this is not one-sided. My goalies were just as rabid about repelling goals.
Alright, now that's all out of my system, I'll focus on what's good about World Cup. It's certainly not an unattractive game, from the menus to the action. The player animations are smooth. There are a ton of options, too. Over 105 teams are here (obviously it includes teams that did not qualify) and you can adjust your take on the World Cup in a number of ways, from pitting specific teams against each other to Captain Your Country, where you steer the destiny of your home country through the tournament. The sheer amount of stuff packed in here is a pleasure to see, as I can imagine a hardcore soccer fan finding a favorite way to play in no time. It's just too bad the gameplay itself doesn't match the quality of the presentation.
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