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Summer is on its way and with it, a feast of soccer in South Africa. EA is looking to join the celebrations and, on first impressions, FIFA World Cup is well presented with its interface redesigned to reflect this summer’s tournament. The app brings all of the great features you would expect from an EA game, including decent commentary (although it sometimes gets a little confused), excellent crowd effects and high-speed game play. Unfortunately, other factors detract from these benefits.
Graphically, the game feels like it should have come on a lot further in this age of console-quality apps for the iPhone and some of the cut sequences are, frankly, dreadful. The tweaked control system appears to have gone backward rather than forwards with large clunky buttons replacing the simple A and B options of before.
Every now and again, you’re provided with glimpses of how good the game could be, the skill button, for example, can bring about some excellent tricks, but all too quickly they are squashed as the control system lets you down. A classic example of one such drawback is the inability to lift the ball over defenders unless the game allows it. Shooting is, no pun intended, hit and miss, as well.
Beyond the Kick Off quick match options there are other game modes to be enjoyed in FIFA World Cup. Captain Your Country mode is a far better effort and, arguably better than the main game, with more interesting features both on and of the field and all the focus on one player which translates well to the iPhone screen. There’s no club management option in this World Cup edition as you would expect, however you can play with your chosen team from one of the 105 included, from the World Cup’s group stages through to the final.
This World Cup mode was by far our favorite part of our experience and with the team management options available made the game far more engaging. Winning the World Cup with England wasn’t an easy task (although meeting underdogs Japan in the final was a welcome relief) but we managed it after persevering with the controls. However, as if to sum up the game in one sequence, when we finally won the World Cup we were greeted with a hugely underwhelming animation of the trophy before being dumped back to the menu screen.
FIFA World Cup offered so much but is definitely not a world beater.