FIFA World Cup 2010 has all the glitz and glamour of the biggest international sporting event of the year, but does it have what it takes to beat EA's own FIFA 10. We've put together a case for both games to help you decide which game you should buy.
Why FIFA World Cup 2010 is the better game
2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa looks better than FIFA 10. From the completely new lighting to almost photorealistic player faces, from the realistic pitches to new player animations, everything about the game screams "ooh look at me, don't I look lovely?". Beanpole England striker Peter Crouch's FIFA 10 face makes him look like some nightmarish troll. His World Cup face looks like... his face. Go figure.
Online FIFA World Cup
For the first time ever in a video game you can play an officially licensed World Cup online. Pick your team and go through the group stage, the knockout rounds, and, hopefully, win the World Cup. Your victories feed into your country's overall ranking in the Battle of Nations league, which ITV commentator Clive Tyldesley kindly runs through when you turn the game on. Sweet.
Improved game engine
Loads of improvements have been made to the already-brilliant FIFA 10 game engine for World Cup. Most of them you won't notice. But there are some key tweaks that combine to make a massive difference. Keepers are more likely to stay on their line in one-on-one situations, making scoring from chip shots much harder. Players now control lofted through balls without losing momentum. And there are new shot types. In short, World Cup plays a more fluid, responsive game of virtual footie.
Coke Zero Story of Qualifying
If you're from the Republic of Ireland, the World Cup is a somewhat bittersweet prospect. The Irish, as every football fan with a soft spot for justice knows, were dumped out of the World Cup by France following a handball assist from Thierry Henry. World Cup lets you rewrite history with the Story of Qualifying mode, a series of challenges that let you play qualifying games from key moments, like just after France's equaliser in the second leg of the World Cup Qualifying playoff against Ireland. For Ireland fans, this'll be as good as it gets this summer.
World Cup's brand new penalty system is the best we've seen in a football video game. It impressively simulates the pressure of taking a pen on the biggest stage in sports and with the expectations of an entire nation resting on your shoulders. Well, it's not quite that authentic, but it's devilishly tricky. First, you need to stop an oscillating needle in the "composed zone", then aim an invisible targeting reticule in a part of the goal you hope the keeper won't dive towards.
Why FIFA 10 is the better game
Play as your favourite club
It's all well and good being able to play as your national team in the World Cup, but what if you want to make up for Spurs' unlucky defeat to Manchester United in the Premier League? You can have a rematch in FIFA 10. You can't do that in World Cup 2010. If you so wish, you could even play as Crystal Palace, but we can't imagine why you'd want to do such a thing.
Use Ultimate Team
In FIFA 10 you can download Ultimate Team. This DLC lets you take on the challenge of building an Ultimate Team of the best football stars in the world, manage one or multiple squads simultaneously, and compete against other gamers in dynamically updated online tournaments. In World Cup 2010 you can guide a national side to World Cup glory, but that's it.
Be the manager
We're not going to sugar coat it. We're not big fans of the manger mode in FIFA 10, but at least it's there. You don't even have the option to be the coach in World Cup 2010. It's still a far cry from the intricacies of Football Manager, but compared to the completely missing mode in World Cup 2010, it's an excellent bonus feature.
Larger player database
Yes, World Cup 2010 includes 199 national teams, but if you want all the players you can think of, you'll need FIFA 10. Sure, some of you might only want the crème de le crème of the football world, but if your favourite player happens to be Jimmy Bullard you're only going to be able to choose him in FIFA 10. If unattractive footballers are your thing, FIFA 10 is the only option.
Play 10 vs 10 online matches
This is the big one. In FIFA 10 you can play proper 10 vs 10 online matches. That's 10 real people on one team playing against 10 real people on the other team. This, bizarrely, is missing in World Cup 2010, meaning that if you want to take part in the most realistic online football experience, you only have one option. World Cup 2010's online matches seem relatively archaic in comparison.