Spain, Brazil, Germany, Netherlands, Argentina ... these are the favorite teams to win this summer’s World Cup, but with 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, fans have the chance to change their national side’s destiny by leading them from the qualifiers to the championship game change to World Cup glory.

The latest soccer installment from EA Sports will be released for the PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PSP, and the iPhone on April 27th. Unlike the rest of the franchise which features national and club teams from around the world, World Cup South Africa focuses solely on the national teams, and their road to the tournament, and the electrifying atmosphere of the tournament itself.

EA Fifa World Cup

The game aims to be a realistic interpretation of what you’ll see this summer in South Africa, full of logos, confetti, endorsements, crowds decked out in their teams’ colors, and the TV presentation.

All the 199 national teams that participated in qualifiers are selectable. The games will take place in the 10 real stadiums that we will see South Africa, along with stadiums from each qualifying country.

Interface

The menus in World Cup South Africa are colorful, clean, clear and intuitive, unlike FIFA 10. When choosing a team, there is an interactive world map that pinpoints the country on the globe and also gives basic facts (capital, population) and little known trivia of each country.

Game Intros / Graphics

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The colorful menu theme plays right into the intro of each team before the game. Granted, not many of us sit through the intros, but it is worth a decent look, as a lot of detail and work was put into it. The World Cup festive atmosphere really comes through in a rainbow of confetti, trumpets, crowd chants, flags, giant banners, fireworks and decked out stadiums.

Gameplay

EA Fifa World Cup

World Cup South Africa is based on the FIFA 10 engine, which up-till-now the best we’ve ever seen in a soccer game. With this incarnation, gameplay and game dynamics were polished, adding more realism and fluid play.

Shooting, passes, and the general trajectory of the ball are now all affected by the pitch, weather, stadium (Bolivia’s high altitude allow for faster/longer balls), a players position and balance.

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High ball through passes are now also more realistic, with the ball being able to take a variety of bounces dependent on the factors listed above. Players can now also change the direction of a ball and pass it with their chests. Highly skilled players (Inesta, Ronaldo, Gerrard) will even be able to use their shoulders to pass the ball.

Goalkeeper are a lot smarter, they don’t break from their line as soon or as far, and can react to unforeseen changes in the trajectory of the balls. Their puchouts of the ball are now a bit more realistic – in FIFA 10 a goalkeeper’s punchout landed the ball in midfield. There will also be more variety in punts, something that will bring an increased chance that the ball falls into down the lines for quick counter attacks.

EA Fifa World Cup

AI

I was told the artificial intelligence of the opposing players is going to be better. The CPU is going to move players better, assessing both the situation of the game, and being able to change tactics repeatedly throughout the game.

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Finally, and importantly, that include first-time passes gain fluency and speed, while adding pass with his chest and shoulder.

Online Play

World Cup South Africa features the game modes that we’re use to, but this time around players will be able to take part in a continuous online World Cup. Unlike previous online tournaments, where players would have to wait for scheduled games, this time around a player can play one or two games in one day, then resume the tournament again whenever they can. Players actually progress through stages in the tournament – if they reach the next stage, their next opponent who happens to be on that same stage of the tournament.

Is it worth it?

This installment of the EA FIFA soccer series is an upgrade over FIFA 10, but with the full fledged FIFA 11 looming for the fall of this year, my instinct is only the die hard of FIFA fans would be willing to spend an additional $59.99 on a soccer game.

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