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It's that time of the decade again when all sporting eyes are glued in EA Sports latest FIFA World Cup game. This time around there's also an online component that will be live during the real-world tournament that is played out in South Africa this summer.
EA Sports maintains that this is not simply an adjunct to the already successful FIFA 10 game that represents domestic and international club competitions. It comes with 100 enhancements in fact.
According to producer, Simon Humber, many of the improvements come down to fluidity in the way the game plays. EA looked at all the times where the gamer had become frustrated thanks to the player on-screen refusing to perform an action they wanted to, and built on that. Further to that, there are some changes to the physics of the shooting model - players no longer strike the ball perfectly, which sounds a bit odd, but by making that change you can achieve curling or fading shots more accurately.
On top of the changes and the online modes are changes to the control system in the form of
'Dad Pad'. Selecting this option sets all functions to two buttons, which act differently depending on context. Hit the A or X button while running with the ball and you'll pass. Press it under different circumstances and you can kick a through-ball.
The feature's there to introduce those unfamiliar with the standard control setup to jump in and play.
Also changed is the Penalty Shoot Out,
which now includes a power bar and allows the goalie to dive early.
The actual location of the World Cup tournament changes the way football is played too. Some of the fundamental physics of the beautiful game can be altered drastically depending on what kind of pitch you play on.
Altitude effects can make a difference to how you play, as player stamina can drop faster and long balls fly faster and straighter. With each world team having strengths and weaknesses thanks to the atmosphere in South Africa, it allows EA Sports to add an additional layer to home and away tactics.