FIFA Soccer 12 Review
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FIFA is reborn with an all-new defense system and physics engine that puts complete control in the player's hands. It's not just an evolution in soccer games; it's a revolution in sports games.
- Defense is finally fun
- Realist physics engine
- Depth of game modes
- A.I. is a bit off
- Random glitches
- Some new features need time to evolve
(continued from previous page) ...when used properly. Hold down L1 and your player slows down, protects the ball, and can save just enough time to either make the defender commit to a tackle or get a forward to make a run for the goal. This trinity works extremely well as a complete package, but it’s not completely without its faults. Key to that complaint is the opponent A.I. When playing defense, sometimes you can force your opponent to run from midfield back to his own goal to simply kick the ball out of bounds. Opponent A.I. tends draw a bit of realism away from an otherwise complete package. Play with real-life opponents, and this of course goes away. There are online friendlies and head-to-head online seasons, giving you plenty of chances to take your game to real life opponents.
EA Sports dropped a pretty massive addition to FIFA 12 through Football Club. Everything that you do in the game is measured and tracked and shared online. There wasn’t much for us to see pre-launch, but it’s clear there is a lot here. In addition, the Support Your Club feature allows you to pick your favorite club, and earn points in a virtual league. FIFA Ultimate Team also makes its way to the Blu-ray disc for the first time in the series. Previously available to download, this acts like a virtual league, allowing you to build a team and take it online, and offline, to progress and purchase better players.
When it comes to the standard career, the place most players will spend most of their time, there are some terrific tweaks that give management a bit more depth. You’ll have to pay attention to player morale to make sure everyone is happy, and you can even talk trash in the papers about your rivals. Even the transfer period is more intense, with more headlines and conjured drama. It’s important to manage player injuries, too. You can’t just throw a player who was out for a few months in a training injury back into the starting line-up as he could easily get hurt again. There aren’t huge changes to transfers, but you do get a youth academy and scouting system, which are a bit primitive at this time. All of these small components add-up to a more engaging and deep career mode -- it’s truly addictive stuff.
The presentation is as sharp as ever. Lighting is more powerful and even the use of two broadcast teams just adds to the drama. Martin Tyler returns with newcomer Alan Smith calling regular games, while Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend call the tournaments. You can, of course, customize this if you’d like. Meanwhile, the crowds are alive and the stadiums still look amazing.
It’s not very often that a sports game makes such sweeping changes, and does so this well. Yes, this is still FIFA, but it’s progressed so far that it feels like an entirely new game. Put this up against last year’s installment, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. In many ways it is leaps ahead of previous years’ games, but another year in the oven will help EA Sports perfect some of the small annoyances, namely the A.I. and minor physics-related glitches. Soccer (football) fans should set aside plenty of time to re-learn FIFA, because it’s truly worth your money and effort. FIFA Soccer 12 represents the next chapter in sports games, and its beginning is remarkable.
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