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Video Game of the Week – FIFA Soccer 10

Living in the United States and being fed an unrelenting diet of baseball, football and basketball, it's often easy to overlook soccer, the game that is far and away the most popular in the rest of the sporting world.

This week saw the introduction of FIFA Soccer 10, the latest installment of EA Sports' hugely popular soccer video game. Like soccer itself, it may not be the most popular video game franchise in North America, but that hasn't stopped the rest of the world from enjoying it. The FIFA franchise has been developed in 18 different languages and sold in 37 different countries, making it far and away the most popular of all the EA Sports titles.

The worldwide popularity and massive amount of online play that FIFA Soccer has received over the years has meant that EA Sports has received a tremendous amount of gamer feedback – and they have put it to good use. What was already a game has become even better, producing top ratings from reviewers and acclaim from  the franchise's many fans.

Several  innovations in  FIFA Soccer 10 have enhanced the gameplay experience. Perhaps the biggest is the new 360-degree player control system, which makes player movement much smoother than before. Previously, players were limited to eight forward, backward and sideways movements, which led to unnatural zig-zagging. Now the players glide smoothly across the pitch, taking much better angles of attack and defense.

Something called Freedom in Physical Play also results in much more realistic and satisfying physical challenges, where height and weight can now be a distinct advantage. New animation features have revolutionized the goalkeeper action, again producing smoother movements and more realistic saves.

The Be A Pro feature is back from FIFA 09, but this year Virtual Pro builds on the idea by allowing you to create a player in your own likeness and then play him across a variety of different game modes.

The scale of FIFA Soccer 10 is amazing. There are over 600 teams to choose from, including national teams and club sides from around the world. Every marquee player is represented, most of them with an uncanny likeness to real person.

Of all the previously introduced game modes – and there are many – Manager mode has received the biggest overhaul, with over 50 new features. There's a greater emphasis on player development and making smart decisions in the transfer market. The expanded international scene also puts pressure on the manager and his scouting system.

With some great enhancements to what was already a top-notch product, FIFA Soccer 10 is just an outstanding video gaming experience, offering action, strategy, and enough different formats that it will never get stale. Experts will love it and beginners will easily pick up the basics using the excellent in-game tutorials.

FIFA Soccer 10 is rated "E" for Everyone.          

Publisher: EA Sports
Genre: Sports action
Platforms: PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, PSP, Nintendo DS,
RRP: from $29.99 to $59.99
ESRB Rating: "E" for Everyone

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