Being a long time video game soccer-head, I could not resist a
chance to examine what the latest EA Sports FIFA game was like. For
most of the past decade, I have been a devotee of the Pro Evolution
Soccer series. Now, FIFA, it seems to have well and truely caught up
with some big enhancements.
Now, not only does the FIFA franchise have the licenses for all the
major leagues, most importantly the top four levels of the English
leagues which are now the epicentre of soccer interest it seems. But
there is also the French, Spanish, Italian, German, American,
Russian and the up and coming Australian A-League to name but a
few. National teams are also included, such as the Australian
Socceroos and England. All up over
500 officially licensed clubs and more than 15,000 players.
But where FIFA now seems to have caught up and perhaps even taken
the lead over Pro Evo is with the introduction of three new key
areas. An Impact Engine, Tactical Defending and
Impact Engine improves collision variety, accuracy, and momentum
new advanced procedural animation system is used along with
collision physics to produce different results depending on the
players and physical forces involved. This
affects all players, so even those off the ball may have collisions. The
Impact Engine also directly affects injuries sustained by players
during a match.
The Precision Dribbling feature allows players to dribble whilst
shielding, meaning you can still move around the pitch whilst
holding players off, rather than being stuck to the spot. Close
control has been added below jogging as a way of allowing players to
take smaller, more frequent touches, keeping the ball closer and
keeping tighter control. Players
will now be much more aware of their surroundings. As an example,
players in possession near the touchline will understand their
position, and keep tighter control of the ball to stop it running
out of play.
An improved artificial intelligence system named Pro Player
Intelligence aims to make AI-controlled players react to the skills
and capabilities of other players with appropriate actions. For
example, a winger will be more likely to cross the ball into the box
when he has a waiting team-mate with aerial ability, whereas he
might look for support and play the ball along the ground if that
team-mate is less of an aerial threat. Players
will also make better use of their own strengths, so for example a
creative player might look for less obvious opportunities such as
playing long accurate passes, where another player in his situation
would be more likely to play it safe with a short pass.
Graphics & Audio
Graphically, there is great detail in all the animations. The club
kits are included with highly recognisable player characters.
Stadiums are excellently reproduced with reasonable crowd scenes.
The field grass texturing is pretty good, but not quite there. It
appears too billiard table like. All the menus are well laid out in
the traditional format that makes navigating fairly simple to
Career mode is another interesting option within FIFA 12. It allows
the player to either become a manager, a single player or a
player-manager. Player managers both run the team and play as a
single player on field. As a manager, the relationship with the
players is determined by factors such as team selection, success and
salaries. Squad members can go and talk to the press to stir up
interest and dissent within your squads.
Audio includes many team chants that you hear unique to certain
teams with all the regular ohhs and ahhs that a soccer gamer would
now be well and truely accustomed to. There is also the ability to
swap commentary teams namely
Martin Tyler and Alan Smith with Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend
which adds a bit of variety to your games as the same rehashed lines
can become predictable after a while.
Online mode has the option of Head to Head seasons, where a player’s
team has the challenge of trying to climb through 10 divisions of 10
matches per a competition, with promotion and relegation. Cup or
knockout competitions will be staged every few weeks.
All up FIFA 12 is a very addictive and at the top difficulty level
very challenging. There are many options to stop you getting bored
and constantly tossing up varied challenges. The audio is real life
like which recreates the atmosphere of game day. This title is
definitely worth consideration if you like your soccer.