FIFA10 full game – 1st impressions

After one play-session, I’m very impressed with FIFA10. Traditionally I always like new football games, so I’m not hanging out the bunting just yet. (If anyone buys FIFA10 based on my early enthusiasm, and then subsequently comes to regret it, it’s nothing to do with me, guv.)


FIFA10 is phenomenal. About halfway through my 5-hour session I puffed out my cheeks and shook my head. I was flabbergasted at how good it was.

A lot of the amazing things were the new additions. The 360-dribbling was very obvious to me for the first time. And now you can get a rainy, muddy pitch with surface water. Spray is sent up by the bouncing ball and players sliding around. You have to be extra-careful with your passing. I hadn’t heard about this new effect, and I was amazed by it.

Not all of the 5 hours was spent playing. Half an hour or more was spent just exploring all the new features.


Virtual Pro is frightening. I uploaded my Gameface, which did look like me. The resulting player looks a bit less like me. But it’s still a reasonable likeness, albeit from about 15 or 20 years ago. It’s almost as if it’s a very close generic face rather than the actual Gameface. Still, it works.

I dropped my Virtual Pro (VP) into the Coventry City team. Your VP instantly becomes your Arena player (pictured right), and you start earning Accomplishment points (i.e. levelling him up) straightaway there in the Arena! There’s so, so much more to it —I could be typing here until midnight.

I went on to play an Exhibition game with Coventry, with my VP in the team. Believe me, it is the eeriest feeling to see yourself on the pitch in a football game. I captured some video of ‘me’ running along in the game. I watched it back just now, and almost ran out of the room screaming in superstitious dread, as if the game had stolen my soul.

The set-piece creator is intriguing. You’re pretty much left to yourself to work it out. I don’t know how effective it’ll be in the longer term. I reckon they’ve made it deliberately not-very-effective. Just my first impression, which can change. For corners, I like the idea of getting all my players to drop back outside the area and wait for a ‘Paul Scholes volley’. I’ll be working on that later tonight.

The practice arena options are superb, and very welcome. Finally you can play 5-a-side (or any-a-side, in any combination) in the Arena. Full practice of free kicks, with a proper wall and everything.

As for the action out on the pitch, in the actual games… I found the core gameplay refreshed, tightened up. It felt very, very satisfying. My speed concerns from the demo are largely gone. Slow really feels slow. It can still speed up when the action gets frantic. But I was often playing at walking pace in midfield even against top teams, just knocking it around, looking for an opening—on Professional and World Class too.

Finally I think I see what 360-dribbling is all about. And it affects more than just dribbling. It’s also about passing. With the increased sensitivity of the analogue stick’s aim, semi-assisted passing now feels a lot like manual used to feel. Now on semi, if you want to pass to a team-mate directly ‘above’ you on-screen, your aim has to be spot-on. A few degrees to either side of ’12 o’clock’ and the pass goes astray. Semi-assisted passing has never been like that until now. You used to be able to get away with sloppy aiming, helped by the ‘assisted’ part of ‘semi-assisted’. Not any more.

Here’s a decent goal from my first session—Steven Gerrard with a hard, low shot:

Link: FIFA10-first good goal

I haven’t got time right now to talk about player indivduality in FIFA10. I think it’s much improved, long with team individuality. I played a custom World Cup where my three group opponents—Ireland, Spain, and Bulgaria—all played differently and presented three very different challenges.

So much has been written on the forums about long-range shooting being easy, or glitchy. It used to be a common libel against FIFA that you could score from distance at will. Now there’s a strong case being made on the forums that those days are unfortunately back again. Do goals from distance in FIFA10 have any intrinsic value? It’s an open debate right now.

I’m still not happy with how effective the secondary pressure button is on next-gen FIFA. If any gameplay mechanic was ripe for a good old NERFing, it’s that one. I shudder to think what kind of football is being played online. This beautiful game is probably unrecognisable. I read someone yesterday comparing FIFA online to Rugby, with players totally focused on chasing each other down all the time. It’s funny because it’s true.

But those are minor notes of discord. I spent most of session 1 on FIFA10 wondering if I’d somehow been given a different game from everyone else on the various forums. I think it handles brilliantly. It plays a lot slower—the Slow setting often feels very slow indeed. After my first full game with long, luxurious 6-minute halves I understood 360-dribbling and the whole shebang a lot better than after many attempts at the demo.

My session 1 *1st Impressions only* score would be 9.5/10. Maybe even 10/10. I’m not kidding. [EDIT, added to remove confusion: THIS IS NOT A REVIEW SCORE. This post is NOT a review of FIFA10. It just reflects my enjoyment of this first session.] I had the same ecstatic reaction to FIFA09 last year, so even I’m taking it with a pinch of salt right now. But it feels good to be blown away by a football game, and I am.

Great stuff. I’ll be having another session later, and many more over the weekend. At some point I’ll have to start a Manager Mode career, to see if the bad things I hear about it are true. Monday’s post will be my 2nd Impressions of FIFA10. How different will they be?


  1. Great post! I too have enjoyed my first session on Fifa 10. I picked it up for 24 quid in Asda (one of the last two left), a great bargain. I’ll try and make this clearer instead of my usual ‘wall of text’.

    The good points- shooting has been improved. Of course this very easily could turn into a negative if it becomes too easy, but in my first session of about 5 hours I scored only 2 long range crackers. One with the mighty Baraja (who does the same in PES).
    Professional mode is a great difficulty. Last year I found professional too easy and world class too hard, so I was stuck in the middle. In my first 7 games of my MM I have lost, drawn, scraped a win and won comfortably- a good sign I feel. In 09 i felt the game couldnt score on pro if i really defended, thats not the case now.
    Weather in manager mode. It varies a lot, ive had bright sun, rainy day, rainy night, clear night- it makes all the difference.
    Lobbed through ball is, so far, less effective. Having played 7 games into my league campaign, I think i have scored a few goals from one on ones, and only once has it been a lobbed through ball. It seems less effective, although give this one more time. Last year it became a major problem when Villa suddenly became a god in season 2. I hope the stats are not the same as last year.

    The bad points- the speed is still fast. I must say in it’s defence I am playing on normal. Considering 09s slow made no difference, I assumed it was the same this year. After reading your post i’m not too sure though. Theres still hyper ping pong passing if you want to do it, and the midfield is still a bit crazy at times.
    Manager Mode seems the same so far. This is by no means a final judgement, but so far nothing looks any different. You still don’t start in Europe in season one, and all the menus are changed about, but show much the same information. On the transfers I have only tried to aquire Camacho (for what hes done in pes 2008 psp for me- more about that some other time!). He refused four times, despite Valencia being a much bigger club. It was strange but i have NEVER had much luck in FIFA transfers- even the so called easy ones of 08 and 09.
    The crowd and atmosphere are the same. If not worse actually, the crowd jump in unison, all wear white and seem to make less noise than last year AND during MM Valencias home games have half empty stadiums?? It completely wrecks the atmosphere in my opinion- a bizarre decision.

    On the whole the improvements make it worth it, especially at the steal of a price.

    About the PES demo, I too really enjoyed it. It felt like the PES of old given a new lease of life. However watching someone play it on a streaming site it looked AWFUL. In fairness they were playing the “online way”, i’ll definitely give PES a chance this year and I am optimistic- especially as FIFAs manager mode seems to me unchanged. We’ll just have to see if the so called improved transfers, stats and weather changes can make it into a playable mode for more than one season.

  2. Hey Not-Greg, Thanks very much for giving us an insight into FIFA 10. This could be the year I finally convert, although watching some of the gameplay videos online i’ve been slightly worried. This video in particular is eerily reminiscent of Fifa 05 (IMO)-
    Although I will try to be impartial this year, you can probably tell that I’d much rather be playing PES 10 this year (Shameful Brand Loyalty,I know!), providing it is good of course. Hope i haven’t put a dampner on your ecstatic 1st Impressions though, I don’t even have the game!

  3. Good stuff mate, glad you are enjoying it. You are finally noticing the 360 dribbling.

    I will be interested in hearing your views on MM as you always wear your heart on your sleeve.

    The VP is cool, I take it you made your Gameface through Windows as it won’t allow me to do it through my Mac.

  4. Not Given—good overview, I think you were the first to raise doubts about FIFA09 last year as I recall. I agree the improved shooting is a massive factor in the better feel of FIFA10. How can you not play on Slow! Even on Slow, admittedly, it has its frantic moments, but I think it’s all down to how you choose to play. (Offline, of course. Online might as well be a separate game.)

    I’m not looking forward to starting up my MM now, I’ve heard nothing but bad things, consistently, about it ever since people started getting their games earlier this week. Which begs the question, for me: why have we heard nothing about it from all the reviewers and previewers before this week? This is a personal bugbear of mine. A reasonable conclusion would be that EA deliberately withheld MM from scrutiny. Which says it all really.

    I’l still go in with an open mind. As much as possible. It’ll be interesting to see where we all are with FIFA10 in a week or two.

    p.s. I bought Camacho in 09 a few times, but he was never the explosive midfield talent from PES2008(PSP) unfortunately…

  5. patrick222—I can promise you one thing categorically—that video you linked to is totally unlike the game I’ve played today. It’s been through the YouTube meat-grinder, the process of being turned into a Flash video. It’s cartoony, it’s fast, it’s jerky—terrible video all round really. When it started up I thought it literally was FIFA2005.

  6. heraldo—yes, I did my Gameface on my Vista laptop, below-spec too so it took ages but it got there in the end. Virtual Pro is a great feature of FIFA10 and will add a lot of interest to Manager Mode, which sounds like it needs all the help it can get.

  7. Now that’s one mighty high score… how about the “rewarding goals”, and PES-quality? Anyhow… I’ll be waiting for an indepth review later…

  8. hey not-Greg – my manager mode is going well although transfers after the first window are still fairly inconspicuous. The asisstant manager bug can be solved by turning it on then off again after every game. A pain but worth it compared to changing your team every time.
    The weather and scheduling issues are non existant for me – i have yet to experience a rainy game in my Liverpool MM and I have had some truly stunning games including 2 last minute 2-1 come from behind victories thanks to Torres who blasted one from outside the box and bundled one over from almost the goal line. Truly grandstand stuff. The big games i.e. the derby and away to Villa were played at night as well which adds a whole lot of atmosphere.
    The only issue I AM having with MM is the apparent inability to renew contracts but I’m sure at the end of the season it will happen automatically??? Hopefully….

  9. TareX—it’s not a review score, as I say in the post it’s an end-of-session figure only. I don’t do reviews here. It’s a blog format, and the whole year’s blog posts constitute the review if anything does. I have sunny days, rainy days, and cloudy days, stormy days… Yesterday was a very sunny day for FIFA10. We’ll see how that holds up. (This morning’s session saw a few clouds appear on the horizon.)

    There will never be a formal review from me, or any kind of review score, until Sept 2010 when I do my end-of-year look back.

    I’m still looking forward to PES2010 too. I don’t think one has to fail for the other to succeed, although I’m aware that’s the paradigm in the wider football gaming world. There has to be a ‘winner’ to take the ‘crown’. We shall see!

  10. Chris—I’ve started my Manager Mode too. I’ll save it for my post on Monday, but I’ll say now I think the bugs are a disgrace. Who playtested this thing? Did anyone?

    I love the apparent added depth of the transfer market (early days yet though), and also the night matches/weather – brilliant!

  11. a 9.5 bloody hell you were talking about even giving it a 10. first of all fifa10 aint that good and any game should never get 10 never. its going to be intresting to see how long this enthusiasm for fifa is going to last i give it 2 months before you are back playing pes6 or the pes2010 which is shaping up to be a prety good game. trust me mate in the end youl be back to playing pes

  12. hey not-greg have you seen the new pes2010 video back to basics a 7 minute long video what do you think of it i think its pes returning back to its glory days watch at wend. oh and a 9.5 for fifa really are you sure.

  13. I don’t think some people are realising his 9.5 score is for the first session alone. PES will likely be fantastic to play early on and then lower as the faults become more apparent- as they will for both games.

    I’m over 12 games into my MM and the axe is already hanging over my head (as the commentators keep reminding me). Professional is a hard difficulty mode for me, much harder than last year. The forum posts of “too easy” are never going to apply to me- at least thats one less worry.

    If anyone that doesnt have fifa wants to see what the MM is like feel free to watch me play, I stream on a certain site- i’ll provide the link if not greg allows it. I worry that i’ll be sacked soon anyway, at least you apparently get offers from lower clubs.

  14. Anton—see my reply to TareX above, and I’ve now added to the main post to make it clear that I am NOT ‘giving FIFA10 10/10’!

    It’s just a rating of how much I enjoyed my first session. I might rate every session for the next few weeks and take an average.

    I did something similar last year with a rolling ‘scientific graph’ that charted my ups and downs with FIFA09.

    In a few months’ time I’ll probably be as embarrassed about my gushing reception for FIFA10 as I was about FIFA09. But this is a blog, a day-by-day thing. I don’t keep one eye on the future when I post, or try to hedge my bets.

    I’m pretty sure that in a few weeks I’ll be ready to see what PES2010 has to offer.

  15. redarmy—after this flurry of excitement calms down I will be catching up with PES2010 news. I’m still looking forward to that, oh yes. And a 9.5 for my first session on FIFA10 (see my last few replies, and now the edited post)? Yep, I’m very sure. It was a great 5 hours. Sneak preview of today’s score: 9/10. I started Manager Mode…

  16. Not Given—I remember you constantly being sacked in 09. Good luck…

    I’m happy on Professional at the moment too. I think using semi passing is making it tough for me, as I often lose the ball if my aim is even a little bit off (or the player’s passing stat has an influence). Semi really feels to me more like Manual passing in 10.

    Post that link by all means, I’d be fascinated to see it – what control settings do you use? Assisted/semi/manual? Mixture?

  17. Interesting. I’m going to wait and see what the consensus on PES is. I can’t really afford to buy both games, so I’ll wait and see. I really enjoyed the demo, I found it to be quite difficult, but it’s impossible to judge the whole package based on a demo.
    You initial impressions of FIFA10 are very encouraging, it seems to have addressed some of my issues with FIFA09. I would give both FIFA09 and PES09 7.5/10.
    FIFA10 and PES10 seem to be both wildly different and enjoyable games, I think for me it’ll come down to lag-free online mode and which game my friends buy. I think I could enjoy either.

  18. Grilled Seabass—Manager Mode has slammed the brakes on for me. I’ve seen a couple of major bugs already after just 6 matches. More on Monday, but the sessions’ scores—predictably—are heading down. I’ll keep that going though, and take an average of the scores this time next week. I might even abandon MM until they thoroughly patch it! I was enjoying other modes yesterday. Might play a Premier season. I’ll see.

  19. I’m actually enjoying MM right now, although I thoroughly enjoyed my first season last year too- and we know how that turned out. (I played pes psp the rest of the year) Strangely after being on the brink of the sack I have won 3 straight games and 4 of the last 5. This includes two last minute goals and a 2-0 home victory over Barcelona who are on fire in this league (5 goals a game it seems).

    As for control settings it’s mixed, with a slant towards assisted unfortunately. It’s assisted except for semi shooting and semi crossing. The shooting is very sensitive too, so i’m hitting a lot right at the keeper or into the corner post, it’s hard to get that angle right.

    What bugs have you seen so far not greg? As 15 or so matches in and I haven’t noticed anything.

  20. Also heres a video of two goals that saved my job when things got sticky. The latter is a good goal for me, especially on FIFA and semi assisted. I suppose it would be standard fare in most PES though.

  21. Well yeah I do realize it’s a first impression score. The thing is, I’m almost 100% sure that all the reviews were’re seeing online (95%, 10/10, 9.5….etc) are making a review of the game based on their first impression. Which is extremely shallow, IMO.

    The thing is, PES is never good with first impressions. It won’t by any stretch of imagination score as high so long as reviewers on big sites are giving “first impression scores” as a final score for the game….

    I’m almost sure Gamespot will give it a 9+ score, and other sites will follow. Who know, maybe FIFA10 deserves these scores. I’m a PC gamer so I’d never know…

  22. Not Given—I’ve seen the notorious Assistant Manager bug (where it won’t turn OFF), but learned to just deal with, which I hate that I have to do. My goalkeeper has all my assists! That’s another ‘famous’ one, and the team form is affected, so it’s serious. I’ve not looked at any contracts yet so don’t know if the contracts bug (where your players won’t sign any new ones) affects me yet. In happier news I have signed a couple fo decent midfielders for Coventry. One was on a free, the other i bought, for cash, so at least that sde of things is ok for me. You must be cursed when it comes to MM transfers…

    Semi shooting is the best of both worlds IMO. I doubt I’ll ever actually go to full Manual, as those who use it say you should aim at the keeper and hope for the best (because the ‘aiming lozenge’ is so very, very small). I don’t like that—I want some degree of aiming to be involved.

    Nice goals too, and I liked the build-up to the second. You beat a man on the wing. I still haven’t done that.

  23. TareX—good point, the ecstatic tone to a lot of my 1st impressions post is something I might come to retract, but as I say I have to blog about my immediate reactions, even if they’re almost child-like, as if I’m on a sugar high. Reviewers should be more detached, more considered—and I tell you this, I doubt any of them did more than look at the first menu screens of Manager Mode.

    So I’m on a bit of a comedown with FIFA10 this weekend and the coming week’s posts will feature updated rating scores for my session-by-session experiences. Overall I’m still loving FIFA10, just a few niggles spoiling it. Manager Mode is… well, I’ll deal with Manager Mode in due course.

    As for how this feeds into PES2010—my anticipation for it and how it’ll be received by the football gaming community as a whole, in the context of FIFA10’s big splash—I don’t think it’ll have any real effect. They say a week is a long time in politics. It’s an eternity in gaming. A weekend is a long time in gaming. I played the PES2010 demo late last night, for comparison purposes. I was relieved to find that I still loved it. Last year, PES2009’s demo seemed awful to me, after playing FIFA09. It’s different this year.

  24. This sounds ridiculous but where can i check the assists stats? All i can find are goals, discipline and goalkeeping. It’s possible this glitch has happened to me as I rarely check the top 20 lists until closing in on the season. David Villa is again first scorer (as he was last year for me too), although thats only half the story as i’m still having an iffy start. Scraped a 1-0 in the cup, with some crazy defending at the end. I have a bit of breathing room again but a few losses would change that again. I have noticed that my entire team are on low form except for Villa, the goalkeepers down to 60, is this normal?

    Even more so than last year FIFA 10 feels PESified to me. I read on the forum that Rutter is a ‘pes fan’ and has purposefully changed the 08 build into this quicker more pes like game. Not sure how true that is, but he has succeeded in a lot of counts. Dare I say it, as fast as this game plays- i prefer it to 2008- although 08 was the bigger impact from the abysmal 2007, which i think i rented for about 2 days.

    The soundtrack this year is horrendous. Theres not one good song, it makes me look back to “his name was kennedy” from PES 09 with envy.

  25. Hey Not-Given, can you share your streaming link, I wouldn’t mind watching a bit of real gameplay action before I decide which game to buy. Thanks buddy. As for the soundtrack, is there a way of making a custom soundtrack? I remember on PES08 I had downloaded a few footie songs for my soundtrack.

    I personally love the PES soundtracks, I would love to have a download of some of the classic tracks. PES2008 had some of the best – “We’re gonna play football (soccer!) football (soccer!)” and that skat singing track.

    Not-greg, those bugs sound ridiculous, perhaps you are better off waiting for the patch.

  26. Sure i’m playing right now at
    I suppose theres not much need to have a name like Not Given anymore!

    Its broadcast at 1000kpbs so say if its lagging and ill reduce it.

  27. Nice work down the flank Not-Given.

    Hi Not-Greg, interesting first impressions. Looking forward to your sounder second impressions.

  28. hey not-Greg, like I said before I figured out that if you turn the assitant manager back on and then off again after each game it doesn’t change your lineup anymore which is a godsend.
    the form is exceptionally dodgy in it’s application and I’m seeing more snow than a Christmas feelgood movie but the gameplay itself is overriding the bugs at the moment and I’m finding the whole experience exceptionally enjoyable at the moment (also the hope that there will be an update fixing the major issues is helping my feelgood mood).
    Hope you’re still enjoying your season as well – don’t let the bugs get you down!

  29. Not Given—I know you didn’t play PES2009 so much, so I’ll forgive your lapse. The actual lyrics, burned into my brain alongside PES2008’s horrors, are: Well there was Kennedy/And there was King/There was John/And there was Jim… What is it about football games that brings us such uniformly awful songs?

    The assists stats are in a sub-sub-sub menu – seasonal info I think. I’m away from console right now and will check later and post back.

    The crazy thing about Manager Mode this year is that it’s still functional despite the niggles. But that’s what it was last year and the year before. This year was supposed to be so much more.

  30. Grilled Seabass—I don’t know about the soundtrack, never bothered with music while playing. I’m either listening to podcasts, speech-based, or I have the radio on. Radio 5 or Radio 4! I’m definitely outside FIFA’s core demographic all right.

    MM creaks along despite the bugs. I’m not even a third of the way through my maiden season yet so I’d better actually get on and finish a whole one before passing any final judgement.

  31. Chris—I noted your suggestion and tried it but it’s a pain to rmember to do that after every match, and in any case my Ass Man pretty much leaves my team alone for some reason. Occasionally he’ll try to sneak a CM in as a right-back, things like that, but I’ve always had the habit in football games of checking my teams before every match so I always catch it.

    I think your words sum up my current feelings about FIFA10 –

    the gameplay itself is overriding the bugs at the moment and I’m finding the whole experience exceptionally enjoyable

    That’s more or less where I’m at. It’s still that Friday feeling, just a little muted now. On the pitch, FIFA10 feels staggeringly good a lot of the time. Enough of the time to make it worthwhile IMO. I worry about the longer term though.

  32. Ah yes that was it. It had to be the song first on the main menu as well. Still its preferable to the music in FIFA this year!

    Spent all day playing my MM. Thankfully I have dug my way out of a possible sacking and now in contention for a cup and the league (outside chance). It started with a run of 5 or 6 straight victorys which include my favorite goal from the session .

    I think I have 50 points now and im in 3rd place behind Real Madrid and Barcelona, with Altheltico being 4th. Glad to see that its a realistic league table so far. Ive also progressed to the final of the spanish cup against Sevilla, which makes a nice change from going out in the first round. I have beaten Barca twice, and Real twice alone the way in league and cup. It must sound like I have got to grips with the game but the majority of these wins were scraped 1-0s. I must have scored 60% of my wins with a last minute goal, I lost count of how many times I got a late winner. Makes sense though as i tend to only go all attack and hit long balls in the last 10 minutes.

    I can see a few of the odd niggles which plague MM as ever. For one my confidence level went down when I grinded out a good draw against an in form Sevilla away from home, and yet it went up when I drew 2-2 with relegation fighting Zaragoza after a keeper error in the last ten minutes. Work that one out. Most of the players are also constantly in bad form, only Villa and a defender are every in green. The keepers go down constantly and dont improve with clean sheets. It’s bizarre but ive seen little effect of their poor form on the pitch anyway.

    On the plus side I finally got a player in FIFA- Camacho decided to join on a 3 year deal. He is playing as good as his legendary PES counterpart, being man of the match in about 4 out of 5 opening games he played. He is going to make a fantastic replacement for the aging Albelda.

    Which leads me to my final point. I am very impressed with the player individuality of this game. Camacho has a certain feel when he has the ball, as does Baraja, Albelda, and Villa. Zigic is as strong as Adriano but lacks in his finishing, a great plan b. In 09, Villa felt fast and that was it. In 10 he is fast but also has that certain something in his shot (the same feeling of shooting with Halil Altintop in PES).

    So far, bugs or not I am having a lot of fun with this game.

  33. Not Given—just got the chance to watch some clips. (For anyone who wants to watch Not Given’s MM progress on justintv, here’s the archive link for when he’s not broadcasting ‘live’ – )

    In my first matches on Friday, playing as England (a traditional start for me and football games) I was deeply impressed with the different feels of Lampard, Ashley Cole, Rooney – and Heskey!

    Current theory on the forums about why you can’t sign players at big clubs, or it’s very difficult – players won;t sign for a manager with low experience, as you have in your first season.

    It’s true that none of MM’s problems are show-stoppers, even taken all together they’re not a showstopper, but they’re so silly and annoying and not what I expected. I expected 3rd time lucky for next-gen Manager Mode, but it hasn’t happened.

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