In the interest of full disclosure I must reveal that I am a huge soccer fan. In fact, I am watching soccer even as I write this review for EA’s annual soccer sim, FIFA 12. I eat, breathe, sleep, and a few other bodily functions I don’t care to discuss, this sport. Of course, I still have my integrity and I will attempt to be as objective as possible. That being said, this game is pretty awesome… trust me.
I think most of us would agree that EA puts out solid sports titles year after year. But that “year after year” part becomes a problem. No EA sports title stands alone; it is always compared to its predecessors. As well they should, even if the title is solid no one should shell out $60 of their hard earned money for a sports game that amounts to little more than an updated roster, especially knowing that in 12 months said game will as obsolete as the Iphone in your pocket.
So, what is new about FIFA 12? In the gameplay department defending has been drastically improved. The name of the game is containment rather than flying in with mistimed tackles. While containing the ball carrier you can now call over a second defender to put extra pressure on the target. This is especially effective along the wings where you can trap an opponent between yourself and the sideline, the additional pressure from the second defender will often result in a turnover. Also, physical contact is much more realistic. There is no more ghosting through players. Even shoulder to shoulder collisions will cause one or both players to be thrown off balance or hit the ground.
Ultimate Team is now included on-disc. This game mode is part sports sim and part card game. You start out with a fairly average, if not lousy, team. You play online against other player’s teams or offline against the AI to earn coins which you exchange for card packs which gives you a random assortment of players that you can either integrate into your team or auction off for more coins. Of course, the best players are only found in the more expensive card packs and it will take time before you can really assemble the ultimate team (unless you want to spend Microsoft points, which you can, to buy the high level card packs).
In the EA Sports Football Club Arena you can either create or join and online club. This is similar to clans in Modern Warfare. You can invite players to join your club or you can try out in ranked matches in the hopes of being invited to join a club yourself.
There is also a new feature that ranks clubs based upon their supporters abilities. The first thing you’ll do in FIFA 12 is choose which club you wish to support. If you are anything like me you will choose Tottenham Hotspur, because frankly, Tottenham is the best club in the world. All the experience you earn also applies to the club you support. The game then ranks the clubs based upon their average scores every day. This feature doesn’t affect any other area of the game, but it is fun to see how your club’s supporters stack up against other clubs.
For those not familiar with the FIFA franchise there are plenty of other returning features to which you will quickly become addicted. Virtual Pro is back, where you can create your own pro to finally live your failed dreams of becoming a star with your favorite club. You can play as your virtual pro in single player career mode, or take him online to showcase him against other players. One of my favorite online modes is the 22 person multiplayer, where everyone controls one player on the pitch. You can even play as the goalkeeper, which swings from periods of absolute tedium to moments of utter terror as you become the last line of defense for your team. Just a word of warning for the xenophobes out there; if you are easily perturbed by someone with a foreign accent or, god forbid, speaking a different language, then this mode may not be for you.
Everything else we have come to expect from a FIFA game is here: tight, challenging gameplay, plenty of teams (30 different club leagues plus international teams), lots of online game mode options, and a deep career mode. If you are a fan of the beautiful game but have never played a FIFA title I strongly suggest checking out FIFA 12. If you have played FIFA titles before there is enough new content here to make FIFA 12 a worthwhile buy. And even if you aren’t a fan of soccer there is still fun to be had with this game. Who knows, perhaps you will gain a new appreciation for the sport.
[author_infos]Add to favorites