The latest FIFA soccer game was recently put in my hands with the instructions to write a review for it. Having played every FIFA game since 1998 it has always been great checking out what’s new and what has changed in each new iteration. Although FIFA 11 wasn’t a massive step up from 10, EA Canada have definitely done a good job of upsetting some hardcore fans with their latest changes, and yet they’ve still managed to kick a goal with FIFA 12.
Okay, so now that that terrible pun is behind us we can kick off the meat of the review (oh god somebody stop me). Gamers in general are a fussy spoiled bunch and once they get used to a way something works they tend to get angry when a seemingly fine system is changed. With a big focus being put on the new jockeying system (basically strafing an opponent while in a wide defensive stance) and providing more tackling options the changes made to the defensive tactics in FIFA 12 are actually a great improvement to the game, even though they do take a bit of getting used to. Having to time your button press right to tackle instead of just running into someone does make it more challenging, but it is a great improvement from the perspective of making the game as realistic as possible.
The Player Impact Engine which has been in development for 2 years is the source of the improved tackling and animations within FIFA 12. The new physics engine basically follows all player contact in real time to change up how different tackles affect players based on which parts of the body are contacted, from what angle and speed, and of course the size and physique of the players in the contest among other things. This creates a much more natural outcome from tackles and with things like pushing and pulling and more realistic recovery times it all adds up to make the battle for the win even more gripping.
One thing which hasn’t changed unfortunately is the repetitiveness of the commentary soundtrack. While playing career mode as Brisbane Roar in the A-League (of course) I find a lot of repetition in the commentary. Obviously while playing exhibition matches with different teams the soundtrack varies a bit, it has just been something I’ve really noticed while playing in career mode.
EA Sports Football Club
One of the great new improvements from an online standpoint is the introduction of the EA Sports Football Club and the Support Your Club feature. While playing in any game mode you receive experience points based on wins, losses, in-game achievements, Be A Pro performance and other factors which go towards levelling up to create a more competitive environment with your friends via a leaderboard system. These points also go to your nominated club with Support Your Club, creating a bit of international competition to see which club out there has the most talented FIFA 12 players.
Obviously there are a fair amount more Real Madrid and Arsenal fans than Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory fans, but the system is designed using an averaging system which levels the playing field. Rather than ranking teams based on how many fans they have, or how many XP those fans gain each day, FIFA 12 calculates the average amount of points earned by a fan for each team and they are ranked like that. To put it simply, if there are a million Chelsea fans playing and they are all pretty average at FIFA, but a hundred Roar fans who are all awesome then Roar will sit higher on the leaderboard. It is just another way that EA Sports are encouraging soccer fans around the world to step into some worldwide competition in FIFA 12.
As you may have guessed I am now going to close by definitely recommending that you pick up this game. Yet again EA have come through with another fantastic game in the series, and if you haven’t bothered picking up a new version of FIFA for a few years then this one is definitely different enough to deserve the purchase. As always it is great fun in online multiplayer, and of course just multiplayer on your couch with mates and the new XP system creates a nice way to encourage more play as well.
Oh and by the way if you want to play some multiplayer FIFA 12 with either Lucas or I check out the staff page to get our gamer tags and add us! Lucas has it on Xbox 360 and I have it on PS3.