Overall Score 79%
Awesome Soccer World 2010
Following on from last year's release of Awesome Soccer, Red27 Studio has brought out a sequel of sorts, just in time to take advantage of the Soccer World Cup in South Africa. It's probably best described as an upgrade to Awesome Soccer rather than a fully fledged sequel, although it is available for purchase as a separate product and does not require an installation of the original game to be present. If you were tossing up on which version to buy, I would strongly suggest Awesome Soccer World 2010 (ASW2010) as it contains all the content and features of the original release, along with a couple of noteworthy bug-fixes and additional content. There is only one dollar difference on the price of the full version of both games, and ASW2010 is the superior offering.
You might want to check my previous review of Awesome Soccer from December last year at http://www.bytten.com/gamereview.php?id=373 - unless stated otherwise here, all criticism of the 2009 game will still apply apply to ASW2010.
New to ASW2010 are, of course, all the 2010 World Cup teams and fixtures correctly ordered into their real life groups and ready to compete for the ultimate prize in world football. We all know now that Spain can win, but where's the challenge there? Fancy playing as North Korea or Ivory Coast? With you at the helm the sky is the limit! There are a couple of other new tournaments as well, bringing the total available to 16. You'll notice that some of the teams still don't have fully represented player rosters and that's a shame. As per the last release the excellent editors that are included make it a simple matter to edit existing teams, add your own, or create entirely new leagues.
The game engine seems to have been recycled almost in its entirety but there are some notable bug fixes apparent right from kick-off. Nearly all the control issues from the 2009 release seem to have been cleared up. It's now possible to use the keyboard as a controller; players can now shoot and pass in all directions. The gamepad still acts as a reliable control method, but for a game with such simple controls, the previous inability to use the keyboard was a killer. Red27 have also managed to fix some other really annoying glitches in the original release; like balls teleporting, substitutes appearing on the pitch instantly yellow carded and players in possession of the ball suddenly punting the ball out of the field of play. Overall, the presentation is much more refined and polished but the core elements that made Awesome Soccer so much fun to play are still present.
Audio doesn't seem to have been changed much at all, though that was one of the areas that I thought that Awesome Soccer scored quite well in. In ASW2010, there are some new crowd graphics and animations, new player celebrations and an awesome new overhead kick that can result in some spectacular shots on goal! There's no support for a widescreen resolution at this stage. You'll have to wrestle with your PC to scale the 1024x768 display (the only one available) with black bars at the sides of the game, or failing that just stretch the entire thing out over the whole display which, as well as looking quite ugly, makes it difficult to run angles and judge shots.
There seems to be a bit of a glitch where the game slows down a little after a few games in succession. It's not that the game itself runs any slower, but more of a slight delay between pressing the button to shoot and the power meter actually starting to fill up. The other effect of this weird slowdown is that the AI teams will wait far in excess of their normal 3-4 seconds before kicking off, throwing in or taking free kicks etc. Sometimes this wait can be as long as 20 seconds, and although that doesn't sound like much it did frustrate me quite a lot. The onset of this slowdown is a bit random, often during the 2nd or 3rd match in succession. Saving and restarting the game will fix this one
I still have extremely occasional issues loading highlight reels from the archive, although the rate of failure has been drastically diminished. I've saved and viewed close to 100 highlights, and only 2 from two different games refused to play. I can't find any pattern to the bug, but the error message seems to indicate that the save file could not be read from. Good news is that unwanted highlights can now be deleted from the in-game interface.
In its current state the game is highly playable. Many of the bugs and flaws that spoilt the first Awesome Soccer for me have been dealt with, and everything that I like about the game has been retained and expanded on. If you're still high from World Cup fever and are looking for a great action football title (and this game is about as far from a soccer simulation as is possible) then look no further. It's fully customisable, easy to learn, addictive and fun.
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