What could they possibly do to improve? It’s a predicament many developers would love to have, but only a few get the opportunity to tackle the problem. EA is up against that very issue with their FIFA franchise which had one of its best outings last year and is looking to continue to push the envelope in FIFA 12. The big question though is how? Read our full review to find out.
I loved FIFA 11; it was up there as one of the best sports games of 2010. Never did I think thought that I would fall in love again so quickly, but I did with FIFA 12. From the opening moments of FIFA 12 you can see this is a new game. Sure it still has a lot of the makings of FIFA 11, but instead of being a cross between arcade and simulation, FIFA 12 made gigantic steps towards being an incredible recreation of the real sport.
Looking back on FIFA 11 there is no doubt that the game skewed towards the offense side of the ball. In FIFA 12 the game has been rebalanced to put an even higher importance on the art of defense. You can see this from the moment you enter the game and it will take you through a tutorial of all the new defensive controls. My tried and true use of slide tackles no longer is nearly as effective as it used to be. The game emphasizes positioning, match ups, and timing. You can turn the setting off and make it play like FIFA 11 but I would highly recommend against it. Give the new defensive mechanics time because if you’re anything like me they add an extra few levels to the games depth.
There are a lot of small changes as well that make a huge difference in the game. The dribbling which it seems like each year the developers are telling us has been improved really has been upgraded this year with even greater control over your player’s movement. There is also a new collision detection which eliminates (for the most part) players going through each other and odd situations. This is one of those things that when it works it works amazing but there are times where the detection offers up some even more bizarre animation that makes for some chuckles.
I could go through FIFA 12’s plethora of modes but to be honest there is just too much to cover. You can play as an individual or take a team to the promise land with a varying degree of options and challenges along the way. There is just a ton of content to sink your teeth into that you will have plenty to do from now until next year’s release.
The big standout for FIFA 12 is the gameplay. Although it took me a while to get the hang of it (I’m still not fully convinced I have it down) there is reason for the madness. To me turning off the new defensive tactics really eliminates the brilliance of this year’s release. Most of my matches were 1-0, 1-1, or 2-0 affairs rather than last year where many matches ended in a 5-2 or 7-4 score.
FIFA 12 is a beautiful game both from a far and even up close. The new detection system adds to the realism in the presentation even if sometimes it doesn’t work perfectly. One of the things I haven’t touched on is the amount of new animations in the game that continue to expand the realism of the experience. There are so many variations of passes, shots on goal, and even goalie animations that make the experience feel fresh each time you sit down and play.
To that point, each game of FIFA 12 feels new. You may hear that a lot when developers talk about their games but it’s actually true in FIFA 12. The additional strategy along with the improved presentation truly adds to the overall experience. There is just so much to do in FIFA 12 that if you buy into the new features of the game then you will have plenty to do for months to come.
There is two minutes left in the game; I have been battling Manchester United tough for 88 minutes and kept the score at 0-0. I manage to get the ball to their side of the field something that hasn’t happened often. I shoot a pass to my created player down the left hand side of the field hugging the sideline. I hit a beautiful cross to the center of the field where my forward manages to pull always and head in a ball for a game winner. The crowd goes wild and the game ends only a few seconds later and I have a feeling of satisfaction that I haven’t had in a FIFA game in a long time.
That was the last game I played before I wrote the review but really it’s not all that uncommon in the game. FIFA 12 is an amazing game of soccer. There were so many times that I would sit back awe struck at the action on screen. If you have any interest in soccer, do yourself a favor and pick up this game.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.