Another year, another addition to the FIFA franchise. I am not a big football fan, but I know of people who actually revolve their calender around the release of this game. Some may call it sad, I say dedicated.
Well, I am not going to bore everyone explaining how to play FIFA. I am fairly certain that, over the years, almost anyone who has played a video game will, at some point, have played a football video game. The core mechanics have remained the same for many, many years. If you have no idea how the game works, at it’s most basic, then you obviously have no interest in playing this game, or any game for that matter, and I have to ask “why are you reading this?”
Still here? Want to know more about the new features and updates to the game? Well, ok. Let’s see what I can do…
I think that perhaps one word can sum up the overall improvements made to FIFA 11 over it’s predecessor – Realism. Somewhere along the line, someone came to the conclusion that the game could be more realistic and, as a result, there have been lots of tweaks and adjustments to make it more lifelike. Perhaps the most obvious of these tweaks revolves around the passing mechanic. It has always been quite amazing how the players can snap off these passes with such precision and dexterity, bouncing the ball between players as if they were playing an old school “tennis” video game. Well, those days are gone and players will now have to rely a little more on their skill. That’s me doomed then.
But the leaning towards realism does not stop there. There are numerous other little tweaks within the game that aim to make the game more life like, such as the general physics of the ball. Fancy ball skills are now much more difficult to pull off successfully.
There have also been a number of improvements to the AI in that the players are much more likely to stick to their positions and fulfill their team roles. The players have also been “imbued” with the power of their real life counterparts, allowing them to exhibit skill on the field that you would expect from the player in real life. The reality of this is not as impressive as you would imagine. Certain players that you know to have, for example, an impressive burst of speed on the field now replicate that in the game, but it’s not like that really stands out. It seems to work well enough, it just doesn’t make that much difference.
The much maligned Manager Mode has now teamed up with Be A Pro to form the career mode, which I think will please a lot of people. Also included in career mode is the chance to be a goalie. Does anyone out there actually imagine this to be fun? For the sake of completion, I guess it had to be added. But the reality is that spending the majority of the game just watching the other players run around in the distance, providing you have a good team around you, waiting for the opposition to make a break and take a shot, is slightly boring. I must confess to constantly running out of the goal area and trying to join in the actual game whilst testing this mode out.
As one would expect, there are a massive number of different ways to play the game online and enjoy some real competition. Whatever your mood, there should be a mode to suit, from a quick and classic head to head game, to entering a full on league. With the inclusion of playable goalies, you can even indulge in some 11 vs 11 action, should that be to your liking.
Anyone who has taken a break from football games in recent years will likely be awe struck by how good they now look, and FIFA 11 is the cream of the crop. The game looks beautiful and creates an atmospheric environment in which to play your matches. Although not much has changed since the last outing of the game in this respect, that can’t really be seen as a bad thing. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
The big question on everyone’s lips is “should I buy it?”. Well, that depends on a lot of factors. To be honest, the improvements in this game are not exactly ground breaking. Fans of FIFA 10 will likely appreciate the updates, but owners of the FIFA World Cup game will find that even less has changed to the fundamentals. As with any game that has an annual release, it simply comes down to how big a fan you are. For what it’s worth, this is the best FIFA game so far.