In recent years FIFA has run wild in the footballing game race, with less and less going to PES. FIFA 10 on the DS lets you take your team out on the road and play through all manner of modes with many teams, anytime and anywhere.
The key part of FIFA is the gameplay and how it controls, with the absence of joysticks its a return to the PS1 style of play and using the trusty D-pad. This feels a little unnatural to begin with due to the lack of movement but you soon start to compromise with it and get better, whats annoying though is that 360 movement is there its just a very fine skill when you only have 4 directions to aim for.
Playing the game doesn't have as much variety as the home consoles, don't expect fancy flicks and thoughtful AI as this really is bare bones football for a fix on the go.
The game still has great responce in passing, shooting and dribbling but the lack of animations and variety soon feel more like a port of the PS1 game. The quick pace of the game however doesn't transfer to well though and even using Ronaldo felt like he was the big lad on the sunday league team, who has a pint and a pastie instead of an orange at half time.
The AI ability depends on the difficulty, Amatuer is a peice of cake with any small amount of ability but the top levels will leave you with a bit of a test. AI players do try and follow tactics like counter attacking and the offside trap but it can feel like your both 5 year olds in the playground and the rubbish kid in defence always wants a peice of the action.
Custom tactics do appear and you can tweak them if you think your team is capable enough , as do Custom set peices which let you set your team up in 4 different ways for numerous free kick and corner situations, It's nice to see a big feature of the console games make an appearance here.
The game is seen through the top screen and holds the usual information like score and names, but on the bottom it will change between numerous things depending on the situation. Normal play and their is a manager sim style board with dots showing player positions, this really comes in handy when making that killer pass. Other uses are moving the wall in a free kick, selecting tactics and the power meter/aiming for free kicks and penaltys.
The usual array of modes appear , manager mode , quick play , tournament and be a pro.
Manager mode - Play through your managerial career over 15 seasons, either take a struggling low league club and make them champions or pick your favorite team and win everything on offer. Everything thats in the console version appears here with the transfer system, injuries and the club board all appearing to make you go mad.
This isn't as immersive as what I thought it may be, although everythings the same the polish isn't there and this makes it feel a little less the work seeing as I would play FIFA on my console and this is more for quick games in my break and commute.
Quick play - Pick your team and your opponent and away you go, this takes less than 20 seconds to get started and so it's great for a matches when their isn't a lot of time. A good thing with quick play is that it remembers your settings and choices so you don't have to set up things like stadiums or tactics every time.
Tournaments - The tournament mode lets you meet in the middle of quick play and manager mode, play through anyone of the top leagues tournaments, either the league or cups and try to take your team to glory.
Be a pro - This is probably the weakest of the modes as it just hasn't been thought through, you control your own player and go through 5 seasons rising through the ranks to be top of the club and national team. This is a game mode which relies a lot on your positioning and personal ability , however the camera angle and small screen make it very difficult to know where you should be and what you should be doing. When it is done well on the console this is a really good experience but on the DS it is a rather weak addition.
You do also have a training mode in which you can practice set peices or matches to get used to the control system.
Finally their is the option to create your own team with a personal crest and look, which you can then take through the game modes, something which will feature as well in FIFA 11 for consoles.
Multiplayer also features over Wifi but this is very basic as you would expect, their are team games and solo with both running smoothly at 60 frames per second. However this is much better with freinds as finding a stranger to play online is a small percentage.
FIFA is known for its licensing and 31 leagues with 500 teams , the same as the consoles versions are here, including the russian league which isn't on any other version. This means you are bound to find your team and be able to play as them.
In addition there are around 40 stadiums with some generic ones as well as well known places like , camp nou, the emirates and the san siro to name only 3. These all look rather like their real counterparts albeit in DS graphics.
Speaking of graphics , the easiest way to imagine it is if you imagine FIFA 10 on the PS1, the colours are simple and everything has a blocky design. Players are of the right colour and play in correctly labeled shirts, but you wont be able to see any other major details really about the player.
The commentry is exactly the same as FIFA 09 on the DS and the chants are as well, this is a little poor on EA's part as I would expect some work on the sounds of the game.
A If you want a football game for the DS their is no real competition so it is mainly this fact that it sells, it isn't a great game and is more just to cash in on the DS rather than a purpose made title which is tailored.