FIFA 11 was once again the leading football video game across the globe last year. This year, continuing demands for innovation in the series have led to new features including: a trinity of Player Impact Engine, Precision Dribbling and Tactical Defending. While these new features improve the game as a whole, will veterans of the FIFA games enjoy them? FIFA 12 delivers an authentic Match Day experience, faster and easier navigation, and over 500 officially licensed clubs.
In FIFA 11 the best way to obtain the ball was to put pressure on the opposing team. The game took the stance that the best offence is a good defence. By launching an offensive assault of fullbacks en mass, the player was able to almost haphazardly gain possession of the ball. FIFA 12 has revolutionised this system by introducing ‘contain’ and ‘jockey’: that means you must constantly control the opposing players’ movements and force them to make errors. It is a much more strategic way of going about things and better mimic’s real-world football. The new system also means that slide tackling is less effective, unlike FIFA 11 where it was the most dependable option for defence. If you are not extremely cautious with your timing, you will give the opposition a clear path to your goal posts.
Tactical defending also adds realism to FIFA 12. If you actually mark your man, as opposed to running around while you wait for the ball to be kicked or thrown, you are more likely to gain possession and if you keep up your fitness, other players will sometimes fall behind giving you a decisive advantage over the opponent. Veterans of the series may find these new additions challenging, but the pressure system of last year can be toggled on. However, bear in mind that this style of play is a much more primitive mode and restricts both strategy and realism.
Precision dribbling means that you can get those extra few feet, while the Player Impact Engine notes how fast players are travelling, making player clashes relative to their movement. This means it feels like you are looking at a real-world game of football, as opposed to a bunch of polygons with preset animations that occur according to certain actions. Career mode has been tweaked to be closer to the real-world business Sport in today’s Football. You must pay close attention to the statistics in order to make progress. You must even contend with the testy players as they whine about certain things, which I thought added realism to this feature.
FIFA 12 is another extremely polished EA title. The graphics are solid and emphasise the realistic approach that the game’s creators are aiming for. The professional players’ likenesses are almost flawless and the stadiums are accurate in their design. Crowds do sometimes look like clones, but let’s be honest; you’re not really playing the game for the appearance of the audience. Lighting only heightens an already impressive graphic experience.
The cheers of the football fans, commentators and accompanying soundtrack are all done in the usual vain of the EA FIFA series, but the quality is clear and adds nicely to the overall experience.
You can participate with your friends in online friendlies or take part in the almost intimidating ten leagues of online play that EA offers. Here points must be earned to advance up the ranks. The highest three leagues will then progress to the Continental Cup at the end of each season. You will always faceoff against teams that are a similar rank to you. In friendly matches you can post your best results, share game experiences and challenge other people. Then there’s EA Sports Football Club that is supposed to recreate real-world challenges. Players must complete challenges like keeping the match at a certain score for a certain time to mimic real-world matches. This will have to be monitored over a period, however, as it is a fairly new concept.
Not only is EA still the king of authenticity in nearly all major sports leagues, but now it is really creating its own leagues through online networks that are accessible in titles like FIFA 12. The game has few flaws like minor graphics defects and only adds realism to the ongoing series of FIFA games. If the new features are too much for someone to handle, the game offers easy-to-learn tutorials, and players can toggle on older game features to adjust gameplay to their desired preferences.
Predominantly reviewed on PlayStation 3.