Released in 2010 by EA Sports
This game offers a fulfilling soccer experience while also being fun, fast-paced, and more high-scoring than the real thing. It’s easy to pick up, it’s great with a group, and yet it has the depth to reward you for improving your skills over time.
Where it falls in the series
It’s the fourth FIFA on PS3, and they’re still releasing new versions on the console, with FIFA 19 coming later this year. I’m no expert on the FIFA series, and it’s hard for me to pinpoint substantial differences between versions. My best point of reference is FIFA 13, which is also great and plays just a bit tighter than this version.
Praises and gripes
Two keys to soccer gameplay are giving you lots of controls and making the action seem organic. This game does both really well.
The controls feel right. Moving your player is intuitive, with enough looseness that you have to stay under control at times. There’s a good amount of difficulty in getting past defenders or unleashing an accurate shot. You can deliver a wide range of passes, you can do all kinds of moves, you can speed up and slow down and turn and cut and stop like a human soccer player, and somehow it’s intuitive.
For example, L1 sends a nearby player on a run, which works for a give-and-go play, but if you hold L1 while passing, it modifies the pass to be lofted in the air. This is the type of thing that seems complicated when you read it, but it becomes second nature after you do it a couple times.
The action is fluid and lifelike. It feels fair and consistent, but there’s also the possibility of something unusual happening, like a weird bounce or an awkward pileup of players. This helps avoid the repetitiveness that plagues a lot of sports games. Each moment is unique.
This game also does a great job of capturing the depth of soccer without making you play 90 minutes to get realistic final scores. I play with 9-minute halves and there’s usually at least a couple goals per game, but cheap tactics don’t generate surefire chances.
The graphics and sound are top notch for its time and they hold up fine today. I like the varying looks of players, fields, and stadiums. I like switching to Spanish announcers, since they add enthusiasm to big plays and I don’t care to know what they’re actually saying.
I can’t confidently recommend one version over another, but I know that this game is a ton of fun.