Here comes yet proof of the iPhone being a strong gaming platform, the annual sports game update. Since the mid 90s we have seen how EA has pumped out annual updates to their popular franchises in soccer, football, basketball and hockey. To me these annual updates have been a bit hit and miss. At times updates have been really good but for example I still find NBA Live 96 to be the best game in that series. NHL 95 for the Megadrive is also a perfect example of a game that has not been bettered in newer updates in regard of sheer fun and quick gameplay. To me an update with a higher number next to the game name is not automatically a good thing. We have come to expect improvements in game sequels, which is the opposite to our expectations of movie sequels. The question now is simply, have Gameloft done a Halo 2 or have they done a Nightmare on Elm Street 5?
Well they had quite a good game in Real Soccer 2009 to start with. Nigel gave that game an 8 out of 10 rating(review here) which translates to a 4/5 with the rating system we use today.
Real Soccer 2010 improves upon most aspects of the game. From the vibrant presentation found in the menus to the player graphics the production values are high. The controls worked quite well in Real Soccer 2009 with a responsive d-pad. In Real Soccer 2010 we also get the floating virtual analog stick blatantly copied from X2 Soccer 2009. It has become Gameloft’s trademark to borrow ideas and solutions from other games, and I personally think that is ok as long as it benefits the players. I guess I would have a completely other view on the matter if I had put time and effort into creating something that gets copied.
Real Soccer 2010 has the upcoming Fifa World Cup 2010 as inspiration, and this is felt throughout most of the game. It adds a positive upbeat feeling to the game. Sadly though the commentator is the complete opposite with stiff delivery, and it feels like he is commentating on traffic in a traffic jam. This is actually the only real negative aspect I can find in Real Soccer 2010 when it comes to production values.
Gameloft seem to lack some of the licences for the club teams meaning that my favourite English team is called Man Red instead of Manchester United. To me that is a minor flaw as the teams are easy to identify anyway. More important though is the fact that all player names, and when graphics manage to convey it, all player likeness are there too.
Real Soccer 2010 packs so much content within the 114 MB download that it is uncanny. 245 teams found in 8 national leagues, all National teams found in the World Cup and qualifiers are there as well. You even get a host of dream teams made up of classic star players, as well as some classic line ups for real teams. If you are into soccer you have almost too much to do in this game.
And yes, then there is the actual reason to get the game left: Online multiplayer though Wi-Fi. Gameloft has really made this a priority, and the games I have played have been working well with a nice flow even though the game itself can strain the iPhone during single player. With the Real Soccer league you can probably spend all your free time playing real soccer 2010.
Real Soccer 2010 is a great update to an already great game. The level of polish, and quite frankly passion put into it by Gameloft makes for a great soccer experience. To me they have pulled a Halo 2, and improved on a great prior game.
Presentation and graphics
Real Soccer 2010 has based the presentation on the upcoming Fifa World Cup 2010 in South Africa. The menus go in yellow, green and red with the map over Africa in the background. I really like this design, and it feels happy and like soccer should be it is energetic. Loading screens have either the control scheme or soccer trivia on them. The trivial facts are nice as a diversion when the game loads.
The player graphics has been updated, and even though they don’t look lifelike or like anything seen on current generation consoles the players look good. The game flows smoothly on my 3GS, and even the 3G manages to keep up once the game is loaded. Load times hurt devices prior to the 3GS, and some crashes have been reported. I have not experienced it myself, and I won’t let reports I can’t confirm influence my rating. Make sure to restart the iPhone/iPod Touch before running processor heavy games such as Real Soccer 2010.
The ethno African flair menu music is cheerful, and gets me in the mood to kick the ball around. The commentator on the other hand is another story, oh boy. I have been cursing over bad timing of comments since the late 90s when Fifa had really poor timing, and the commentator seemed to be watching another match. Fifa had commentators with passion, with Scottish accents, and most of all interesting comments. In Real Soccer 2010 the timing is really good but the delivery of the commentator is really dull. I can’t understand how a game with the upcoming World Cup in South Africa hasn’t got energetic passionate commentators. I would have loved to have an English and a South African commentator working together.
You can create your own playlists, and have your own music alongside the commentaries and crowd chants. I really enjoy this 3.0 feature.
Real Soccer 2010 plays much like its predecessor, why change a winning formula? Gameloft has added the choice to either use the virtual d-pad or a floating analog stick that turns up wherever you touch on the left side of the screen. Swiping and dragging on the screen while in possession makes your player dribble and feint in a fluent motion. Defending is harder though, and generally soccer games tend to focus on the fun while with the ball. Changing players is done by either tapping the player on screen you want to become, or by the game automatically giving you control of the player most suited to defend in the given situation. I often find myself trying to find and then tap the player I want to use just to miss the situation as I cover much gameplay as I have my hand all over the screen. When the AI helps me select player I often end up running the wrong direction, as the AI doesn’t give me control over the player I expected.
In comparison to another soccer game I have reviewed the gameplay of Real Soccer 2010 is less fluent and the players feel a bit stiff. When it comes to gameplay I still much prefer X2 Soccer 2009.
Finally I have not found any cheat to make easy goals with which have been common in soccer games in the past such as Fifa and Sensible Soccer.
Real Soccer 2010 comes with a host of different modes ranging from the standard penalty shootouts and exhibition games to enter the legend and club master. There are also a lot of trophies to unlock and achieve. Real Soccer 2010 is really packed with content but still that is just the beginning.
The main draw of Real Soccer 2010 is the online multiplayer where you can prove your skills in real matches using the Gameloft Live ranking system. The online leaderboard Real Soccer League lets you see how well you stack up to the competition. There is also local multiplayer by means of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
Replays of your finest moments can be saved, and uploaded to YouTube to be judged and scrutinised. The top 10 videos are featured on Gameloft’s www.realsoccer2010.com.
Real Soccer 2010 improves upon the predecessor and adds much sought after online multiplayer. Improved in most regards, but when it comes to fluent gameplay there is still a better game out there. Real Soccer 2010 is a complete package brimming with content that comes highly recommended, and I doubt that Gameloft will make a better game for 2011. Now we only wait for Fifa 2010 and X2 Soccer 2010 to spice up the competition, and to see how well Real Soccer 2010 holds up.