PSP Review – 2010 FIFA World Cup

The Pro Evolution Soccer series may not have the same success as FIFA on HD consoles, but on handhelds, especially the PSP, it’s the clear winner, delivering an innovative gameplay system and fluid controls. EA Sports’ FIFA franchise on the PlayStation Portable has offered pretty much the same attributes from previous FIFA installments on the portable system, and 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa continues that trend. Some may believe the PSP iteration was developed due to an opportunity for a quick cash-in. However, the PSP version of 2010 FIFA World Cup does indeed bring something new and unique to the table.

2010 FIFA World Cup on the PSP has borrowed several elements from the console version. All of the obligatory modes are there, and even the music and visuals bear a strong resemblance to the console counterparts.

Playing on the pitch doesn’t feel authentic at all. Passing and through balls are slow and sometimes may results in losing the ball. A new nice addition which the game offers, however, is during dead ball situations, where players have more control over how they want the ball delivered. For example; you can take a corner with the desired amount of spin you want on the ball which could lead to a satisfying goal-scoring scenario if the corner is well executed.

Another addition which players will come to notice almost immediately upon playing, is ‘Golden Moments.’ When playing on the pitch, every move and action which you carry out well with no errors, such as crossing the ball to a teammate, will fill up a momentum bar. When the bar is full and triggered, you can use it to focus on one aspect of the pitch. If you may feel your defense needs help, for example, then use the defensive boost to significantly improve the back four. Another situation where it can be used is upfront in the attacking department. When used for your attack, then it will give you a noticeable boost upfront on the pitch. However, while the system is handy and rewarding to use, the AI can utilize ‘Golden Moments’ as well, so you’ll need to be wary.

In terms of visuals, 2010 FIFA World Cup is very unlikely to impress you. Not only does it lack detail, but it’s disappointing and frustrating to see that the game’s visuals haven’t improved from past FIFA games on the Sony handheld. Its console counterpart offers almost lifelike players, but this version sadly does not even come close. Players’ faces lack details, and only a few well known players look familiar. The whole feel of the World Cup atmosphere is there, but once the confetti and roars from fans die down, the feeling is gone, and the dull visuals on the pitch don’t make up for it.

The same, fortunately, cannot be said about the audio. Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend’s commentary helps you get into the World Cup feel, and they do a great job in delivering commentary. The ever popular vuvuzelas re-create the noise which is expected from the real 2010 FIFA World Cup finals commencing this summer in South Africa.

The main reasons you’ll come back to play the PSP version are probably the fact that you can put it in standby mode, and the game’s plethora of play modes. The standard World Cup and Qualifying modes are of course present, and FIFA’s ‘Be a Pro Mode’ returns as ‘Captain Your Country.’ The scenario mode is what will truly adds to the game’s replayability and adds to the overall value to the game, though. The mode allows you to re-create historic events which have occurred during the FIFA World Cup, such as Thierry Henry’s handball which ultimately led to France progressing to the finals, or Zinedine Zidane’s’ headbutt in 2006’s World Cup final.

Considering it’s for the PSP, 2010 FIFA World Cup, in the end, is a decent football game. It does have its flaws–visuals are poor, gameplay is identical to past iterations in the PSP FIFA series, and you may be better off waiting for FIFA 11. However, audio is spot on, and a broad range of modes adds plenty of replayability and value to the title. But the effort put into the PSP version of 2010 FIFA World Cup should translate into, at best, a rental, as you’d be better off spending your cash on PES 2010 or EA Sports’ upcoming FIFA 11.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

Gameplay hasn’t improved from past iterations in the FIFA PSP series

Graphics are disappointing and audio is average

Large range of modes adds more than enough replayability

7 out of 10