FIFA 12

[Multi Plat.] - Review: EA gives us a new Fifa, but has it improved much since its last outing?
The Details
  • Title: FIFA 12
  • Web: Official Site
  • Developer: EA Canada
  • Publisher: EA
  • Released: 30 September, 2011
  •  
  • Platforms: PC XBox 360 PS3
  • Reviewed On: PS3

The FIFA games are a bit like Groundhog Day.  Every year, EA releases a new one with the slightest – and I mean slightest changes compared to the last.  The gameplay never changes much, neither does the graphics.  One thing that is noticeable however, are the updated teams.  So is that worthy enough to pay £40 a year for? I bought my copy the other day for the PS3, and I looked at it feeling a little sad for I knew in a years time I will just be trading it in for FIFA 13.  It’s like having a brief husband.  You are in love with it for a while, then it starts to get a little boring and so you trade it in a year later for a new and slightly improved one.  Repeat.

So has the game changed at all?  Well…no.  Not really.  EA have added a new defensive tactic into the game and a couple of new features, but that’s about your lot.  I guess people would say ‘well what do you expect from a football game?’.  I expect what people have been crying out for.  I expect EA to listen to its fans.  I want a ground that you can upgrade in career mode, that starts off looking like a shabby school field, to looking like an 80,000 seated stadium.  I want to feel as though i’m earning something for my winning ways.  I want the crowd to have some life to it, not just a blurry mess in the background that moves simultaneously.  What am i saying here? I’m surely asking for too much.

Close-ups still look stunning, but you never actually see it like that. So what’s the point?

Enough with what we all wanted but never got.  What we did get are some improvements to career mode.  Now you get to interact with your players a lot more as they complain about not being played, they ask you to risk them even though they’re injured, and when they’ve had a bad game they try to tell you that they’ll improve in their next match.  It looks as though they’ve taken a leaf out of Football Managers book for some of the career mode features.  It’s just a shame that there is still no training modes for your players.  I like how there is now an injury list you can scroll through, and the transfer dealings are a lot more realistic this year too.  Players’ morale is now effected when they’re having a bad run, and this can lower their performances.  All in all, career mode is a much bigger improvement compared to last years, but you can’t help but feel as though EA could have added a bit more to it.  Of course, they’ll be holding off to add the rest of the features into FIFA 13.

The Be A Pro feature is still good fun, where you can create your very own player and control him inside a club of your choice.  You can use him in a career or online.  The online feature is fun, as you can put your Pro in a team with other Pros online players have made.  This isn’t exactly new, but it is highly entertaining so deserves a mention.  One big disappointment for me though, is that your Pro still never gets subbed off.  Vision this scenario: I put my Pro up front for Tottenham and he’s having a bad game, but he’s only young and not been in the team long.  Your manager has got Defoe and Adebayour sat on the bench, but he chooses to keep the kid on.  Not realistic much, and despite people asking for it, EA still haven’t added the sub feature which could have made Be a Pro even more entertaining than it already is.

The crowd is still a blury mess of sprites. It’s worse than a NES game.

The new online feature I have been addicted to the most, is the Head To Head Seasons mode.  You get to choose any club you want to play as before the start of each match. You start off in division 10, but the more games you win, the more your bar goes up and you can get promoted up the divisions gradually.  This is a fun feature, but not without its flaws.  When I first started playing it, it classed my wins as losses.  This made me very annoyed indeed.  I blame this on a server problem though, for it has been fine ever since.  I dislike how lots of people choose to be the ‘best’ teams when it comes to playing them online.  I always end up playing against people who are either Man Utd, Barcelona, Chelsea or Real Madrid.  I mean come on.  Surely you’re not all that selfish?

One major issue I have with the game, is the new defensive tactic EA have added.  It’s called jockeying, and it doesn’t work too well at all.  Sometimes it can be very unresponsive, and it uses too many buttons that are distracting to use when you’re in the middle of trying to tackle an opponent.  Also, the closing down button has gone.  Originally, you were able to just hold down the circle button and all of your players would run up to the opponent on the ball and take it from under him, but that has now gone.  Instead, you have to slide tackle or kick the ball from under the opponents feet to get the ball back.  This makes the game much harder, and I’ve had to turn the difficulty down from World Class (I have always played this difficulty in every Fifa game I’ve played) to Proffessional.  But it allows people online to be able to just dribble past you very easily indeed.  It’s also harder to bring a player down when you slide tackle him.  So when it comes to defending, it feels pretty much broken.

The new player collision causes more trouble than it’s worth

The AI is still silly.  You’ll find yourself chuckling away as you see two of your players run into each other, knocking themselves onto the ground.  Also, you could just be doing a simple standing tackle in the penalty box, for the referee to give away a penalty.  Yes, the harsh penalties are still existent, and they can be very frustrating.

One thing that players will certainly notice the most, is the absence of Andy Gray.  Since his Sky Sports sacking, he has also been removed from doing anymore commentary work for the Fifa series.  He is replaced by the ever so slightly annoying Alan Smith.  Being a Tottenham fan, I am allowed to say this. *Wink*.

Overall, it’s a fun game to play, but by adding certain features that currently don’t work as well as they should, EA have taken away a lot of that fun.  If you’re not that much of a big football fan and you don’t care about updated teams and silly new features that don’t really matter because they’re not exactly good anyway, then stick to FIFA 11.  If however, you like to update your FIFA experience each year and it’s a habit you just can’t get out of, then prepare to suffer from anger problems whilst playing certain features of this game, despite it having an improved career mode.

Judgement
Pros:
  • It's football?
Cons:
  • Same game as last year.
  • New features detract from the game. EA must be scraping the barrel now.
  • Previous features removed for no good reason. Must be so they can include them in next years release as 'new features'.
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In my spare time I like to play games (obviously) and read. I'm a fan of DC Comics and manga.
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