Soccer simulation makes quantum leap in FIFA Soccer 10

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      EA Sports’ FIFA Soccer 10 (PS3, Xbox 360; rated everyone) will prove problematic for some fans.

      The new 360-degree dribbling feature, which gives the virtual players true freedom of movement, is a subtle change that has more impact than you might expect. In past editions of FIFA Soccer, players could move along one of eight trajectories, so it felt like you had full control although the player was really running along diagonals. “Now, you can curve runs,” explained David Rutter, the game’s producer, “and it’s the first time you’ve been able to fluidly and organically control players on the pitch”¦the sensation you get from playing it [the game] is very real.”

      So what’s the problem? Having the players move 360 degrees represents a dramatic shift for the series. “No one can go back and play last year’s game,” Rutter said.

      The other feature that improves the simulation is the addition of a practice arena where gamers can select players and record their runs across the field. Their movements can be saved and then triggered during a soccer match. This allows gamers to become tacticians, as they can design set pieces for free kicks and corners.

      Rutter said that enhancements to the FIFA Soccer games come from looking at the real world.