After months of anticipation, the wait is finally over. FIFA 12, the latest in the massively popular football game series was released 30th September on all major platforms, having already clocked up impressive pre-sales.
But is the game actually any good?
With massive hype and big boasts from it makers EA Sports, the game has a lot to live up to. I recently tried the game out for myself to find out exactly what all the fuss is about.
At first glance you may be forgiven for thinking that not much has changed, but look again and you will find lots of little upgrades. The menus have changed, which makes navigation and finding players far easier. The default camera angle is a little lower in the stands this year, and there’s a noticeable improvement as far as lighting is concerned. Also the familiar tones of Andy Gray have been banished, with his replacements doing a good job to not make this a major issue.
The View from the Stands
Quite simply the game looks magnificent. Players are realised so incredibly that you almost don’t need the players’ names on the back of the shirts to tell who they are. Take Wayne Rooney for example, whose notable hair transplant hasn’t got passed the makers of this game. It’s little details like this that takes the gaming experience to a whole new level of realism. Players move with all the styling’s of their real counterparts, even down to their exasperated expressions at a linesman over a tight off side decision. The stadiums to are brought to life brilliantly, with famous chants from each ground adding to the eerie sense of authenticity.
There is a far greater emphasis in FIFA 12 on defending, something that I was not looking forward too given my less than successful track record in previous football games. The new tactical defending system demands players consider positioning to intercept passes and make tackles. One mistimed tackle and your defender can be taken completely out of the game, leaving your goalkeeper at the mercy of pursuing strikers. It took me a little while to master this, but you do get a long tutorial to help you with these newly implemented changes. On the whole I think making the game more challenging will make returning to the game again and again a much more attractive option.
Also New to FIFA 12 is the Impact Engine, which EA claims ‘improves collision variety, accuracy, and momentum preservation’. Players’ body parts react to collisions depending on the position, direction and force of the impact, so a shoulder barge will result in a much more realistic turn of play than before. Anything that makes the game more true to life can only be a good thing, and I think it is a great addition.
It does seem a little unrealistic that (for example) Peter Crouch can use the exact same ball techniques as Lionel Messi, but in the world of FIFA I guess anything is possible. The narration by football commentary legend Martin Tyler sounds impressive, with subtle up to date references to form and incidents from what seems like fairly recently. But like all sport games, this may well become repetitive over time, but for now I will give it the benefit of the doubt.
Without a doubt, FIFA 12 is the most significant step forward in the Fifa series for a long time. If you were thinking of just sticking with FIFA 11, you might just want to change your mind.
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*Images taken from www.ea.com