REVIEW: FIFA 12

The monster returns. Are you watching Pro Evo?

 

Has it really been a whole year? Each release of a new FIFA game just makes me feel older. I’ve bought every iteration of the game since 97′ on the Mega Drive and there have been fifteen since then. It makes you realise that just like yourself, the series is growing up.Info

Iwasn’t a huge fan of ‘FIFA 11′. Its biggest draw was undoubtedly the fact 11 players could participate on either side, and that was pretty much it. There wasn’t a huge jump from ’10′ to ’11′, although I preferred the former. What about the differences here though? Have EA Sports once again done enough to convince you to part with your cash to pay for yet another FIFA game? Are you like me, and you’ll just head out to get it either way and make up your own mind? That’s the thing about FIFA, it’s hard to review because the changes are such a personal thing. Some will love them and praise EA Sports for their innovation, others will spit on them waxing lyrical about how they’ve changed too much and its just not the same as it used to be. Damned if they do…

So, what then? This is FIFA. It is what it is. It’s not a game for ‘gamers’, it’s a game for football fans who just happen to own consoles and computers. From every last detail, it has everything a football fan could possibly want from an interactive experience of their favourite sport. Licensed leagues? Check. 2011/2012 complete season updates? Check. Grounds, kits, transfers? Check. Like I said, it’s FIFA.

This time round though…well. Some will cry, some will jump. Without doubt, in gameplay terms, it’s the biggest leap in the series’ history. Ooh, yes. But still, more on that later.

Well, let’s take a look at the major differences this time round. First things first, EA Sports Football Club. It seems that every game released nowadays needs to have some kind of XP, or ‘levelling up’. I’m not sure why, as its never it has never bothered me in the slightest, and yet here it is on FIFA this time round. To be fair, it doesn’t really get in the way. Near enough everything you do in the game will gain you an XP contribution, which is nice – you won’t be fighting for it like on most games as everything is noticed and discovered. You can also track your progress against friends, giving the game a little more competition between Gamertags. One of the cooler aspects of the game is the real world ranking system. At the start of the game you have to select the team you actually support in real life. The XP you gain will be added to their overall score across the world, basically more xp means higher ranking for your actual team, proving once and for all that Barcelona fans are better at FIFA than Huddersfield Town fans, or something.

Once this is all done and dusted, you enter a laboriously long online setup process. I’ll be the first to admit I despise the EA Online Pass. Having to pay extra for extra features when I already pay Microsoft for the privilege to even play EA’s games online is disgusting. Of course, if you don’t redeem this stupid pass, you can’t access anything. And so goes this stupidly long setup, connecting you with EA Online or some shit with your email address connected to your gamertag. Twenty minutes in, still not actually playing ‘FIFA 12′….

Oh! Done. We’re in,  here we go. the ‘FIFA 12′ interactive tutorial – which you’ll be familiar with if you played the demo – begins with the ever present Martin Tyler talking you through the new defensive system, running through drills and new tackling etc.. This time round we’ve got dribble take, slide tackle, (just an x tackle) jockeying, running jockey, contain (hold down LT for a little bit to keep the opposition a fair distance from anywhere), teammate contain (RB to get a teammate to do the same thing for you) and push pull (press B to nudge the player off the ball to gain possession). They all have their uses, although you’ll only really use one or two once you’re actually in a match.

Of course your home screen is placement for the typically epic FIFA menu.  Here is how they break down.

Kick off > Exhibition > Be A Pro Player > Be A Pro Goalkeeper.

Standard now in FIFA games. Exhibition where you can play a one off quick match. 90 minutes and over. Be A Pro, controlling a player you created getting him up the rankings from amateur to superstar. Be A Pro Goalkeeper, same thing but with a goalie, naturally.

Ultimate Team. Game Mode > Career, Tournaments, Create Tournament, Live Season.

This is where you start campaigns. Start your career as a player, a manger or both and work your way through the leagues. Create your own cup tournament or follow the Live Season, where you pay EA Sports even more money to follow the exact fixture season of your favourite team within the game. Arsenal fans may want to take note.

Xbox Live > Head to Head Seasons, Online Friendlies, Pro Clubs, Custom Games, My FIFA 12 Online.

The Xbox Live hub, where you control your online persona, start a season with a friend, find random games online etc. Nothing special to see here unless you’re willing to pay EA Sports more for the right. Grrrr.

Virtual Pro

Create a player you can use in your team throughout the game. Simple as that, really.

Customise

FIFA Arena Options choosing different stadiums for the practice area, My Music and Chants where you can edit and upload your own chants and music to the game, Edit/Create Players, Edit Teams (Stadiums, Change Squads Rosters – Team Rosters). Finally here you’ll find the Creation Centre, more or less where you upload/download pictures, videos and teams. Think of it similar to the File Share from ‘Halo’, for example.

My FIFA 12 Friends Records, Manual, Interactive Tutorial, Profile, Replay Theatre

The options including the manual. Only place to find it here, no physical copy comes with the game. Sign of things to come?

Ibegan a career mode as a player manager, essentially to get the best of both worlds for the sake of this review. I went to choose a team, and with my previous history of FIFA games, the most fun you can get from it comes by picking a team from the lower leagues and taking them to the top, which is exactly what I did here. At random I went for Southend United, 1 and a half stars? That’ll do me, fine. From there I entered Virtual Pro, where I created an uber superstar footballer version of myself. As with previous FIFA titles, the customisation options in Virtual Pro are second to none, able to change everything to your suiting regarding your player, right down to the preferred foot your player can shoot from, CHEEK placement, eye colour and more. Martin Tyler pops up again, describing that if you want the more extravagant look for your player, you’ll have to earn it. With a hearty chuckle, I might add. It’s nice having Mr.Tyler holding your hand. After several save screens you finally get to your HUD. As you’d expect, it’s brilliantly presented giving you all the details you could possibly need right infront of you. Your league on the right, news right in the middle and next game list on the bottom right. The top right is your menu where you can search on team management, squad ranking, injuries, contracts and kit numbers. Hitting ‘Back’ on this menu will open up your squad option (where you just were), transfers, fixture calendar, statistics and career overview.

So what of a match? Apart from a sparkly new opening (to every match, which you can skip thankfully), it plays like good old FIFA. A major difference this time round though is the pure fluidity. Every match is so smooth you feel like you’re playing on silk, such is the new movement of the players, which are unique to the individual player you’re controlling. For example, while I’m playing as Scunthorpe United against Arsenal in a cup match, my players just can’t keep up with Arsenal superstars like Van Persie, Fabregas etc. Every player feels like you’re genuinely up against them, which is exactly how playing FIFA should feel. Of course it ramps the difficulty up considerably, but you just can’t argue when it’s presented this well. FIFA veterans are going to scream their heads off in frustration, as legendary players of the game are going to get completely pwned, curse the game for it and never play it again claiming it’s ‘the worst game ever’ (something I’ve already seen on Facebook). The simple fact is: ‘FIFA 12′ is far more difficult than its predecessors, but in doing so it has made the game far more interesting to play, because you really have to forget everything you know and bloody challenge yourself. Yes, you can play it on amateur and still bang in a 12-0 victory over Barcelona playing as Rotheram, but whats the point in that? The big achievements only come when playing on expert or professional, and it’s going to test you, more than any FIFA game has tested you before. And I think that’s just brilliant. It single handedly gives you a reason to pick the game up, even if you already have previous installments, just to see the genuine challenge it presents. ‘Ninja Gaiden’ can stay in its cot, this is the serious shit up in here.

FIFA 12′ justifies its existence purely by being different. There is no way around it, ’12′ will challenge you and make you start all over again with the series. It’s unique features – those that will test any true FIFA player – will make this game almost historic. You can hear the internet already cry out with LOVE IT/HATE IT theories about the game, and how great/awful the new abilities are but you can’t deny its balls, so to speak. EA Sports don’t really have to doanything to make this game sell, it sells itself – up there with the behemoths of ‘Call of Duty’ or ‘Halo’. ‘FIFA 12′ will be another massive seller on its name, and whatever you may think of the franchise there is just no getting away from that. What EA Sports do is make the game better and better every year, and die trying. I can’t even imagine sitting in a meeting discussing ‘whats next’ for the franchise and throwing in everything they can to create the ultimate football game for the true fan, and they have absolutely succeeded. It’s almost perfect, save the odd one or two thing. EA Sports charging far too much for their extra online features could be considered blasphemous, and sadly seems to be the norm and we reach a purely digital age. The situation is, I payed full price for this game and get told I still have to pay to access all the features that aren’t even DLC? Give me a break, I’m not up for this and I can’t imagine many else are either. Still, they are all optional – so let’s not complain too much eh?

I‘m blown away by ‘FIFA 12′. As a huge football fan everything I could possibly want is here. From the little things such as live scores coming up on my feed from my actual team to realistic chants from the stands dedicated to the team you’re playing as. I’ve fallen in love with this iteration and will perfectly tie me over until ’13′ appears. You will hear fans cheering along with jeer about the new features, curse and praise EA for their efforts, and can you ask for more than that? Well, one more thing…I do miss Andy Gray.

So, honestly now…what next?

[9.2]

REVIEW: FIFA 12

The monster returns. Are you watching Pro Evo?

 

Has it really been a whole year? Each release of a new FIFA game just makes me feel older. I’ve bought every iteration of the game since 97′ on the Mega Drive and there have been fifteen since then. It makes you realise that just like yourself, the series is growing up.Info

Iwasn’t a huge fan of ‘FIFA 11′. Its biggest draw was undoubtedly the fact 11 players could participate on either side, and that was pretty much it. There wasn’t a huge jump from ’10′ to ’11′, although I preferred the former. What about the differences here though? Have EA Sports once again done enough to convince you to part with your cash to pay for yet another FIFA game? Are you like me, and you’ll just head out to get it either way and make up your own mind? That’s the thing about FIFA, it’s hard to review because the changes are such a personal thing. Some will love them and praise EA Sports for their innovation, others will spit on them waxing lyrical about how they’ve changed too much and its just not the same as it used to be. Damned if they do…

So, what then? This is FIFA. It is what it is. It’s not a game for ‘gamers’, it’s a game for football fans who just happen to own consoles and computers. From every last detail, it has everything a football fan could possibly want from an interactive experience of their favourite sport. Licensed leagues? Check. 2011/2012 complete season updates? Check. Grounds, kits, transfers? Check. Like I said, it’s FIFA.

This time round though…well. Some will cry, some will jump. Without doubt, in gameplay terms, it’s the biggest leap in the series’ history. Ooh, yes. But still, more on that later.

Well, let’s take a look at the major differences this time round. First things first, EA Sports Football Club. It seems that every game released nowadays needs to have some kind of XP, or ‘levelling up’. I’m not sure why, as its never it has never bothered me in the slightest, and yet here it is on FIFA this time round. To be fair, it doesn’t really get in the way. Near enough everything you do in the game will gain you an XP contribution, which is nice – you won’t be fighting for it like on most games as everything is noticed and discovered. You can also track your progress against friends, giving the game a little more competition between Gamertags. One of the cooler aspects of the game is the real world ranking system. At the start of the game you have to select the team you actually support in real life. The XP you gain will be added to their overall score across the world, basically more xp means higher ranking for your actual team, proving once and for all that Barcelona fans are better at FIFA than Huddersfield Town fans, or something.

Once this is all done and dusted, you enter a laboriously long online setup process. I’ll be the first to admit I despise the EA Online Pass. Having to pay extra for extra features when I already pay Microsoft for the privilege to even play EA’s games online is disgusting. Of course, if you don’t redeem this stupid pass, you can’t access anything. And so goes this stupidly long setup, connecting you with EA Online or some shit with your email address connected to your gamertag. Twenty minutes in, still not actually playing ‘FIFA 12′….

Oh! Done. We’re in,  here we go. the ‘FIFA 12′ interactive tutorial – which you’ll be familiar with if you played the demo – begins with the ever present Martin Tyler talking you through the new defensive system, running through drills and new tackling etc.. This time round we’ve got dribble take, slide tackle, (just an x tackle) jockeying, running jockey, contain (hold down LT for a little bit to keep the opposition a fair distance from anywhere), teammate contain (RB to get a teammate to do the same thing for you) and push pull (press B to nudge the player off the ball to gain possession). They all have their uses, although you’ll only really use one or two once you’re actually in a match.

Of course your home screen is placement for the typically epic FIFA menu.  Here is how they break down.

Kick off > Exhibition > Be A Pro Player > Be A Pro Goalkeeper.

Standard now in FIFA games. Exhibition where you can play a one off quick match. 90 minutes and over. Be A Pro, controlling a player you created getting him up the rankings from amateur to superstar. Be A Pro Goalkeeper, same thing but with a goalie, naturally.

Ultimate Team. Game Mode > Career, Tournaments, Create Tournament, Live Season.

This is where you start campaigns. Start your career as a player, a manger or both and work your way through the leagues. Create your own cup tournament or follow the Live Season, where you pay EA Sports even more money to follow the exact fixture season of your favourite team within the game. Arsenal fans may want to take note.

Xbox Live > Head to Head Seasons, Online Friendlies, Pro Clubs, Custom Games, My FIFA 12 Online.

The Xbox Live hub, where you control your online persona, start a season with a friend, find random games online etc. Nothing special to see here unless you’re willing to pay EA Sports more for the right. Grrrr.

Virtual Pro

Create a player you can use in your team throughout the game. Simple as that, really.

Customise

FIFA Arena Options choosing different stadiums for the practice area, My Music and Chants where you can edit and upload your own chants and music to the game, Edit/Create Players, Edit Teams (Stadiums, Change Squads Rosters – Team Rosters). Finally here you’ll find the Creation Centre, more or less where you upload/download pictures, videos and teams. Think of it similar to the File Share from ‘Halo’, for example.

My FIFA 12 Friends Records, Manual, Interactive Tutorial, Profile, Replay Theatre

The options including the manual. Only place to find it here, no physical copy comes with the game. Sign of things to come?

Ibegan a career mode as a player manager, essentially to get the best of both worlds for the sake of this review. I went to choose a team, and with my previous history of FIFA games, the most fun you can get from it comes by picking a team from the lower leagues and taking them to the top, which is exactly what I did here. At random I went for Southend United, 1 and a half stars? That’ll do me, fine. From there I entered Virtual Pro, where I created an uber superstar footballer version of myself. As with previous FIFA titles, the customisation options in Virtual Pro are second to none, able to change everything to your suiting regarding your player, right down to the preferred foot your player can shoot from, CHEEK placement, eye colour and more. Martin Tyler pops up again, describing that if you want the more extravagant look for your player, you’ll have to earn it. With a hearty chuckle, I might add. It’s nice having Mr.Tyler holding your hand. After several save screens you finally get to your HUD. As you’d expect, it’s brilliantly presented giving you all the details you could possibly need right infront of you. Your league on the right, news right in the middle and next game list on the bottom right. The top right is your menu where you can search on team management, squad ranking, injuries, contracts and kit numbers. Hitting ‘Back’ on this menu will open up your squad option (where you just were), transfers, fixture calendar, statistics and career overview.

So what of a match? Apart from a sparkly new opening (to every match, which you can skip thankfully), it plays like good old FIFA. A major difference this time round though is the pure fluidity. Every match is so smooth you feel like you’re playing on silk, such is the new movement of the players, which are unique to the individual player you’re controlling. For example, while I’m playing as Scunthorpe United against Arsenal in a cup match, my players just can’t keep up with Arsenal superstars like Van Persie, Fabregas etc. Every player feels like you’re genuinely up against them, which is exactly how playing FIFA should feel. Of course it ramps the difficulty up considerably, but you just can’t argue when it’s presented this well. FIFA veterans are going to scream their heads off in frustration, as legendary players of the game are going to get completely pwned, curse the game for it and never play it again claiming it’s ‘the worst game ever’ (something I’ve already seen on Facebook). The simple fact is: ‘FIFA 12′ is far more difficult than its predecessors, but in doing so it has made the game far more interesting to play, because you really have to forget everything you know and bloody challenge yourself. Yes, you can play it on amateur and still bang in a 12-0 victory over Barcelona playing as Rotheram, but whats the point in that? The big achievements only come when playing on expert or professional, and it’s going to test you, more than any FIFA game has tested you before. And I think that’s just brilliant. It single handedly gives you a reason to pick the game up, even if you already have previous installments, just to see the genuine challenge it presents. ‘Ninja Gaiden’ can stay in its cot, this is the serious shit up in here.

FIFA 12′ justifies its existence purely by being different. There is no way around it, ’12′ will challenge you and make you start all over again with the series. It’s unique features – those that will test any true FIFA player – will make this game almost historic. You can hear the internet already cry out with LOVE IT/HATE IT theories about the game, and how great/awful the new abilities are but you can’t deny its balls, so to speak. EA Sports don’t really have to doanything to make this game sell, it sells itself – up there with the behemoths of ‘Call of Duty’ or ‘Halo’. ‘FIFA 12′ will be another massive seller on its name, and whatever you may think of the franchise there is just no getting away from that. What EA Sports do is make the game better and better every year, and die trying. I can’t even imagine sitting in a meeting discussing ‘whats next’ for the franchise and throwing in everything they can to create the ultimate football game for the true fan, and they have absolutely succeeded. It’s almost perfect, save the odd one or two thing. EA Sports charging far too much for their extra online features could be considered blasphemous, and sadly seems to be the norm and we reach a purely digital age. The situation is, I payed full price for this game and get told I still have to pay to access all the features that aren’t even DLC? Give me a break, I’m not up for this and I can’t imagine many else are either. Still, they are all optional – so let’s not complain too much eh?

I‘m blown away by ‘FIFA 12′. As a huge football fan everything I could possibly want is here. From the little things such as live scores coming up on my feed from my actual team to realistic chants from the stands dedicated to the team you’re playing as. I’ve fallen in love with this iteration and will perfectly tie me over until ’13′ appears. You will hear fans cheering along with jeer about the new features, curse and praise EA for their efforts, and can you ask for more than that? Well, one more thing…I do miss Andy Gray.

So, honestly now…what next?

[9.2]

Posted 2 years ago

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A grouping of my Thumb Culture posts and other unabashed tomfoolery.

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