It always amazes me people that people think that there is not a huge fan base for soccer in North America. Well today at the second day of E3 2009 I was treated to a behind closed doors demo of EA Sports FIFA 10.

At the start of the demo the facts were laid out. Soccer is starting to pick up quite a momentum in the states. The title was number one in Europe but followed by a strong United States showing in the number two spot (cont)
The FIFA team’s main focus in FIFA 10 was to go to the community and open their ears because after all who knows this game better then its rabid fans around the globe.  Let me tell you from the short demo that I saw they really listened.

FIFA 10 offers not only some polish in the form of new updated graphics but complete overhauls of a lot of the gameplay mechanics.  I saw both the 360 version and the PS3 versions and both were beautiful.  I would have to give the edge in graphics to the 360 version as it just seemed a bit fresher then the PS3.  I was unable to see if any changes were done to the sound engine as the room was pretty noisey with other games but I was assured by the developers that the stadiums once again come alive with chants and ambient noises.

FIFA 10 offers complete overhauls to the defending and goalkeeping mechanics.  Players can get much more physical with their positioning and tackling is much more fluid depending on the players skill level.  Goalkeepers will not seem like robots waiting for a ball to come at them.  If someone comes to into their yard it may result in the keep charging out to save his team from getting scored on.  referees have been given some refinements and are now a little less touchy with calls or cards. Still no handball calls folks as the developers say it is not possible to do but you wont see red every time you go in for a tackle.

The shooting system has been given  some love as players felt like the ball was floating way too much or striking the crossbar too often.  Shooting from what I saw seems a lot more natural now showed the shots to be much more logical.

The big new feature in FIFA 10 is the first ever use of 360 degree dribbling.  This is HUGE to fans of the series as it finally feels like the magnet at the end of your foot is gone.  Coupled in with new skill moves players can dribble smoothly in any direction and even bounce the ball from foot to foot.  For those that know the game this raises the bar to a whole new level as defenders have to be on their game.

Other new features in FIFA 10 are an all new practice mode available from the lobby  and an overhaul to the manager mode.  Trade deadlines will be in full effect and depending on the player can result in a bidding war between clubs.  Transfers are in real time now and are updated week by week.  You also have more control over player development and how to manage your squad.

The final thing we talked about with the developers was the online community itself.  FIFA as a franchise is known to have a huge community even dwarfing Madden in my opinion.  With the launch of the beta version of the new EA Sports website i was assured that FIFA 10 will be strongly linked to the website with many great things still hidden behind the curtain.

FIFA 10 was the sports title of the show for me.  I may be a little bit biased but it really comes down to the complete overhaul that the developers did and the steps they took to actually listen to the community.  We look foreword to more announcements in the next few months on FIFA 10 as it is set to be released this fall for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 consoles.

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