One of the best things in any summer, along with beach scenes and grilling up anything edible, are sports. This year it has been a spectacular World Cup that has me firmly entrenched as a resurrected soccer fan. Granted, this fandom tends to waver for nearly four years time until the next Cup, so admittedly it takes a bunch of unified countries kicking it out against each other to get me to the nearest high definition television in the early hours.
With only a few more games to go, the 2010 World Cup in South Africa is near its end. Thankfully, EA Sports released a Wii version of the event not long ago so that fans in the United States can play as some of the athletes shown on TV. Since EA Sports is well adapted to making sports games with a number of features and game playing modes, their take on the World Cup does not lack playability. What it may lack, however, depends on the individual.
World Cup 2010 has a few predictable game modes, like "Hit the Pitch" where you can play an exhibition game using one of the 199 teams included. Indeed, Fiji versus Iceland could be the dream match of your choice! There is also the "World Cup" setup itself, where you get to choose one or more teams to represent in order to go for the Cup. The mode I like best is "Zakumi’s Dream Team", which allows you to face off against teams and try to acquire one of their players if certain objectives are completed. Some of these objectives could regard goals, possession time, or the number of fouls committed. Needless to say, committing nearly eighty slide tackles in a match doesn’t get you anything for your dream team. Yeah don’t bother — I’ve tried.
There is an online capability that allows you to play against friends and strangers who are willing to pit their kicking skills against one another. Unfortunately, as with most games, lag can be a terrible detriment to your enjoyment of online play. With stuttering connectivity, you can experience some enraging moments when you try to shoot a goal, only for the game to not get the signal. By the time the signal gets through, you will not only have given up the ball but may accidentally foul another player and get carded. A connectivity test may be required before boasting to your friends that you'll be able to trounce them with Togo.
As for the controls themselves, it can be a trying time to get used to them. With a few types of passes, as well as some fancy ball handling maneuvers, it may take a couple of matches before you'll get the buttons straight. The Wii remote doesn’t have a specific motion importance, so it is relegated to simply be shaken when you want to shoot or slide tackle.
However, one of the more important functions of shaking the Wii remote is to win decisions from airborne soccer balls. Whether it’s a corner kick or a goalkeeper save, the Wii remote is used to decide whether you come out with a successful or unfortunate result. On the Easy level, winning corner kicks is very nearly a goal every time. However, as the difficulty increases the signal time (if shown at all) decreases. Therefore, watching for the moment of the glowing soccer ball, otherwise known as the signal, is critical.
The presentation and music of the game are quite good. The vibrant colors and art design of the menus are exciting and related to what one sees from the televised version of the World Cup. The music is a combination of danced up international music as well as some pop tunes that blend in well with playing experience. A big sigh of relief can be found when nothing obnoxiously out of place like pop punk or gritty hip hop gets mixed in. The cursor that selects menu choices even drops confetti, which adds to the kind of celebratory atmosphere that this game permeates with all of its presentation.
I find that, despite some connectivity and learning curve issues, this game is a very good representation of the 2010 World Cup experience. If the impending end of the real World Cup has you down, I would recommend acquiring this game to keep your soccer spirits up.