The annual outing of the FIFA franchise.
This week we’re going to take a look at FIFA 12 on the Xbox360. With its yearly updates and year after year releases, will this year’s game be any different from the last and will FIFA 12 win the fight with the latest PES title to be top football Sim? Will it up its game again to warrant another £40 of your cash and be a star striker? Or is it doomed to be relegated to the lower league?
The story to FIFA 12 is very similar to the previous editions of FIFA, with returning features like Goal Keeper mode, which allows you to play as the keeper for a full season. Other features returning to this edition are the combination of the Manager mode with Be A Pro where you get to create your own player and take them from the lower leagues to the starry heights of the Premiership, creating a solid career mode which I found to be a great way to add more depth and longevity to the game. The game continues to have all of the licences for all the major leagues from across the world, 28 of them in total, though it is missing a few of the international sides. But on the whole, if you are a footy fan, odds are that you’ll find you favourite team in the game.
The visuals of the game are fantastic. Character models of the players are top notch with the facial expression and emotions of the players being more realistic than ever. The game used new technology to scan the faces of over 30 players for clubs across the world, so that their likeness in the game is perfect. The animations of the players have been improved with players acting aggressive and tussling for the ball and new celebrations adds an atmosphere to the game. Also the stadiums look absolutely superb with various cut scenes which show off details such as stewards, while the crowds are more detailed than ever and will jump up as you get closer to the goal. The game also has a weather system which sees rain, snow and fog affecting the way the players play and how the ball handles on the pitch, along with the chance to play games at different times of the day.
The gameplay is the most realistic I have ever seen from a FIFA game, with the ball physics and mechanics given a few tweaks again. Crosses from corners have been fine-tuned making it easier to whip the ball in the box and with the improved heading, which sees players perform a range of new animations, it is easier now to convert corners into goals with personality. There are improved user controlled passes. Also players will play and move more like their realistic counterparts. On top of this, there is a stack of new features and modes which have been added to the game like handball mode and in-game stats. You can also now watch highlights from a game you just played after the match, or you can download the highlights from Xbox live to watch the best in the world play or just to show off to you friends. You can even make your own team at www.easportsfootball.com and then share it with your friends so they can use it in game.
Also in this year’s edition is the new FIFA Ultimate Team which sees you having to collect cards to build a team, which you buy from the Live marketplace or PS store. You can also auction off cards you have to other players online. This is a footy Top Trump game and adds a extra layer to the tactics of the game in that you are limited to the cards you have to build your team, so you will have to pick them carefully. If you buy the FIFA Ultimate Team you will receive 4 gold packs of cards every 6 months and you can also manage your team when you are not on your console by going to www.easportsfootball.com/ultimateteam
The multiplayer side of things is where the game really kicks off on its own with the multiple game modes such as the old favourite quick ranked match for a fast competitive game, to the Be A Pro mode which now features 11 v 11, a first for the FIFA games as players now can control the goalkeeper. The live season mode returns which allows you to play as a team and get live updates of players fitness which can alter the way you play the game. There is still the user fault which all sports games have, in which minutes or seconds before you are about to win the match, your opponent suddenly quits. This is not the end of the world as you still get your points for the match, though your opponent doesn’t which I believe is a good way to prevent players from quitting games.
So, this year’s update of FIFA has upped its game again and raised the bar on football games just that little bit higher. It has improved on FIFA 11 and, with its new modes, features and online play, is the most complete football Sim there has been to date. An essential purchase for footy fans and for new players looking to try the game for the first time. Until next year and the inevitable release of FIFA 13, this is the star player.
Wooooooooof what a GOAL!