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Platform

Playstation 3 / Xbox 360

Genre

Sports

Publisher

Electronic Arts

Developer

EA Canada

ESRB

E (Everyone)

Released

September 27, 2011

 

 

- Vast improvement to the defensive system
- Player impact system is starting to get very realistic

 

 

- Minor updates to Single Player modes
- Some odd collision scenarios

 

 

Review: FIFA Soccer 10 (Wii)

Review: World Tour Soccer 06 (PSP)

Review: Sega Soccer Slam (GC)

Review: Mario Strikers Charged (Wii)

 

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FIFA 12

Score: 9.0 / 10

 

fifa 12          fifa 12

 

Each fall brings us the blitz of new EA Sports games – and the list of franchises that are becoming “must buys” is starting to get financially prohibitive. Not helping one bit is how damn impressive the FIFA franchise has become over the past few years. This iteration of the franchise has made some particularly impressive upgrades to the opponent AI and the contact system to push the gamer even deeper into the rabbit-hole.

Gone are the days of defensive AI acting like an impenetrable wall – controlling your own defenders has become much more important. You can no longer just set the scheme and forget about what’s going on in your own zone. With the new “Tactical Defending” system, position play and containment of the

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opposing attack represent the winning formula to forcing the offense outside or into a bad pass. Going for the big open field tackle will spread your defense thin and inevitably end up in the back of your net. That’s not to say the system makes perfect sense immediately, even having played the last 3 years’ worth of games, it still took a good 10

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hours to figure out the best way to work the new system. The front side of that learning curve will unfortunately be a tad unforgiving as you learn to play like an actual position player instead of a grand-standing super-star. The little details are what you really notice now, not only does the tackling look more true to life than previously, the way that jostling is shown really looks good and true to life. If you’re a little too flagrant with tugging on the opposition’s jerseys, you’ll start catching yellow and red cards – much better implementation than we’ve seen previously.

You can turn the Tactical Defending system off and play with the previous year’s system if you prefer, but honestly, it makes the experience so much truer to the real thing. In single-player games, you will find the opposing AI a bit unforgiving – it was not uncommon to get blown out by scores of 4-0 or worse against higher skill-level AI. That’s a real testament to how un-forgiving the defensive AI can be… scoring a goal isn’t just a “goal” in the traditional sense, it’s a downright celebration for how friggin’ hard they come by at times.

The new Player Impact system was the big feature being touted coming into this game – and it certainly is easy to see why. Gone are the generic “falling over” animations that make no sense in the context of the action. Hits from behind to the legs look completely different than being clipped in a slide-tackle and the animations certainly reflect accordingly. The system certainly isn’t infallible, as some collisions produced some spectacular rag-doll flights for contact. It’s not a common occurrence, but in a game striving for perfect simulation having something that visually jarring really disrupts the experience.

 

fifa 12          fifa 12

 

The multiplayer experience is as impressive as one would expect from an EA Sports title. Honestly it felt a vast improvement to get my backside handed to me by a living and breathing person instead of my console. As the game gets a good handle on your “talent level” (quite the loose term for me) the random matchup system really tries to make sure that it matches you up against someone appropriate in skill level. After getting destroyed 3-4 times, it was able to find some unattended consoles for me to match up against. In all seriousness, those later games featured some of the better experiences for me online instead of the random matchup against the 15 year old who plays the game as if he were getting paid for it, it was finding inexperienced casual gamers such as myself to take it easy against.

The single player modes are pretty much the same experience from last year’s iteration, not as though there are any major missing modes that I could come up with – you can do the typical team seasons, 15 year player careers, and management modes that we come to expect from the annual sports franchises. So if you’re expecting something revolutionary here, it’s not going to happen, and odds are most people don’t pick up these games to play through the single player campaigns anyways.

All in all, FIFA 12 is another spectacular game in the series. The differences between this game and the real thing continue to be chipped away at, and with the depth of material available in this title you can really submerge yourself into beautiful game.

- Tazman

(March 29, 2012)

 

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