FIFA 12 Review
Release Date: September 30th 2011
Platforms:PS3, Xbox 360, PC
The Short:Another year another game, and this one is a cracker!
Depicting the world’s arguably best sport into video game form is a challenging task. The atmosphere of a game in combination with the skill and precision is so hard to capture, however FIFA manages to obtain this. The game eclipses last year’s version in almost every measurable way. The pitches look better, the crowds sound louder and the game is a much more rounded experience. This year’s game caters for all audiences wether you are looking to be a pro or manage your team to glory! A new tactical defending system, player impact engine, and head-to-head seasons are just some of the excellent new features it offers.
The most exciting addition to this year’s game is the new EA Sports Football Club. This allows players to track the progress of their favorite team and compare them self to their friends and the world. This adds another reason for you to keep returning to the game week after week. This feature also includes a leveling system, which allow you to access more features for your ‘Be a Pro’ character. This adds yet another incentive for you to keep coming back to the game. As part of the Football Club every game you play and win earns you points for your team, moving forward in the weekly championship. Don’t fret if you do not follow one of the giants as score are ranked to allow for each team an equal opportunity to win; at the end of each week the scores are reset and you prepare for battle once again. All these features are another way to incentive you for playing, and they do a brilliant job of it.
This year also see’s the introduction of the player impact engine and pro player intelligence. These features revolutionize the way the game feels and is played. The angle you come into a tackle now effects how the player’s body will react, as well as how the ball deflects over his tumbling body. The most noticeable change with this though is now the players feel real, they push and pull; flight and tussle over the ball. It’s an amazing feeling when you’re on the edge of loosing the ball but you just manage to fend off your opponent and keep the momentum you desire. However the engine is not without fault, players can often become tangled and start flying all over the place. Penalty’s can be awarded because of a random incident that caused a chain reaction. Even with that the game is much better off for this addition. The pro player intelligence may not be as noticeable of a difference but changes the playing field completely. Players now have different traits based on their ability, so a higher skilled player will be more likely to complete that long pass then someone who is not as skilled. This is of more use in the tactical side of things; AI will now evolve and change their strategy depending on the strengths and weaknesses of the players out on the pitch.
Unfortunately this year’s game does not see many improvements to the singleplayer aspect of the game. You still have three modes; Be A Pro, Manager and Player Manager. The be a pro feature branches down two paths like last year. You can either create an on field player or a goalkeeper. The goalkeeper mode is a neat but not that much fun in all reality, unless you are versing a significantly harder team you will not see much action. However the Player Mode, provides a much more engaging experience. The ability to live out your childhood dream of playing for your favorite club does not loose its appeal in any hurry. Even when it does a solid structure will keep you going for hours on end. Manager mode as seen a couple of tweaks this year with trading going by hour not by day and other ascetic changes. The competition if this mode is nice; especially talking a lower team and taking them up through the leagues. The player manager mode plays like a single game; with the ability for you to change the line up at your discretion while still playing as a single player or taking control of the whole team. The Ultimate Team mode is one that has lots of potential but can be hard to break into. This mode sees players create a team out of playing cards collected through winning games or by spending real money. This can provide some interesting teams but trying to create the ultimate and most coherent team is great fun. You can either play single matches or tournaments both in a single player capacity or online. The tournaments have a variety of criteria for entry which endeavor to keep the competition as level as possible.
Like every sports game the online component is essential to complete the package. FIFA 12 is no exception; the new menu structure allows for easy access to a wide variety of online modes. There is the standard friendly match as well as tournaments. These do not offer any new experiences but the online play is lag free and the competition is fast and furious.
This years game sees improvement is a significant number of areas, however it is a real shame that the singleplayer gets no real attention. The addition of some key features such as the impact engine and football club; give real incentive for you to come back match after match. If you are a die hard fan of the series its likely you already have the game; if your still running FIFA 11 its worth really considering upgrading to this years edition.