EA Sports return this year with the latest instalment of their award-winning franchise, FIFA 12. This year’s version, of what is arguably the most essential game for any football fan, is the most feature-packed to date, sporting new in-depth online and multiplayer modes, innovative new gameplay additions and improved graphics.
But what’s new in the gameplay to warrant you parting with a sizeable chunk of that precious student loan if you already own the previous instalment? For starters, defending has undergone a complete reboot, meaning that it’s no longer as easy as holding down the pressure button to try and win the ball back. Emphasis now lies on timing of tackles in order to regain possession, meaning matches become much more balanced and attacking moves all carry genuine threats to your opponent’s net. The new ‘player impact’ engine also gives a genuine feel of the crunching tackles, and realistic injuries mean that that FIFA’s presentation is as slick as ever. The impact engine is even advanced enough for injury-prone players to pull up with a niggling hamstring injury while chasing after the ball, and while it can be annoying it adds to the realism of a football simulation that prides itself on being as true to life as possible.
Another facet of the improved realism, player likenesses have been overhauled using a new facial recognition system (Wayne Rooney’s new hairline is all bought and paid for), and for those online addicts a new matchmaking system means that no longer will your lowly Southampton team be paired with Barcelona or Inter Milan when playing a head-to-head match.
So, is FIFA 12 any better than your beloved FIFA 11? Well, it has almost spotless presentation, vastly improved gameplay, and is as close as you can get to the action without lacing up your own boots.
FIFA 12 (2011), published by Electronic Arts, is available on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo 3DS and iOS.