Hello readers. Yoobster here, signed up and reporting for game reviewing duty. To all those people out there who have seen Anchorman, I like to think of myself as the Champ Kind of MM Gaming, the sporty alcoholic, who likes a bit of action. To those of you who have not seen Anchorman, what a deprived life you have! Anyway I would describe Champ as my gaming style- sporty with a bit of action thrown in for good measure and variety. Well here is my first Review, FIFA 12. Hope you enjoy it!
So this year a big revamp in the FIFA gaming system has allowed the creators to produce the most realistic football game ever made! Although this is said every year, where normally only one or two wee things are tinkered with, I genuinely believe that there is a massive improvement in the game from those of previous years.
The introduction of the all new physics engine allows for a stunningly realistic flowing football game, where unlike previous years, it actually has the feel of an actual live football game about it. The physics engine provides a lot of minor details that previous games had been missing. For instance now if you charge into a player, instead of just going right through them like a ghost, or delaying for a second before kind of leaning round them, they fall back, or bounce off like they would in a real game. The engine has also allowed the ball to spin off of blocks and tackles more realistically. And of course the game just looks more pleasing on the eye, with better camera angles, the newest strips and players looking more like their lifelike selves… not necessarily a good thing in the case of some of the players not blessed with the looks. Good job they can play a bit!
The new defending system is one of the reasons for this more authentic feel. Whereas in previous years, to tackle you used to just have to run into the player with the ball and tap the tackle button, this year the art of defending has transformed into a real skill with a great deal of emphasis on timing and tactics. With your defence you can shield the ball, pull back players with a cheeky tug of the shirt, slide tackle, call over another player to help you defend… basically everything that defenders do in a game of football. If you think your defender can jump in and intercept a poor pass, or block a shot, then they probably can so go ahead! The positioning of your defence is also a key aspect. The players tend to stick in the selected formation and therefore it is much easier to stop the opposition to score, and when you are attacking – harder to score! Therefore when playing the computer, (on a reasonable difficulty I may add… none of your amateur nonsense) you actually have to construct moves play tidy one-two’s and use some skills, to unlock the defence.
Another one of the new features is that of the quick throw in. When the ball goes out in previous FIFA games, you would have to wait a few seconds which allowed the opposition to get back and defend. However Fifa 12, when the ball goes out of play you can still control the players on the park and take a wee cheeky quickie to get in behind the defence and catch the opposition unprepared. This reflects the overall game play of Fifa 12, in that on the whole there are much less cut scenes, and delays, and this allows the game to flow better and feel more natural than ever! The shot blocking is also improved. Beforehand you couldn’t really slide in and block a shot, without aiming at the player and committing a foul, but the people at EA seem to have addressed this issue and now the shot blocking is a very effective method of defending.
Another wee cheeky realistic extra Fifa have added in this year is that of the bounce up. If a player is down injured for a length of the time, the referee will stop the game, the injured player gets treated, and then the team that didn’t have the ball will kick the ball back to the opposition keeper via a bounce up. It doesn’t really add anything to the game, and it doesn’t happen too often. But again it just makes the feel of the game for lifelike and kudos to EA for that.
I think from an attacker’s point of view that the game has improved as well. The control of the ball is much improved and as a result you get more touches on the ball and are less likely to lose the ball by running into someone. Because the positioning and defending has improved, you don’t get kamikaze AI players running into you on the right wing when they should be on the left etc. Although you get more touches on the ball, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will beat the defender, because you need to actually work to get past the defender. The shooting has also improved. Whereas Fifa 11, and it’s predecessors if you held in the shoot button for too long, the ball would balloon way over the bar, this year you can actually hold it in for a reasonable length of time and get a powerful shot. It also feels like you are in much more control of the shot, again making it more lifelike.
The intelligence of the computer has been greatly improved to suit how each player and team play. For example Manchester United are excellent at counter attacking fast, and this is reflected when you play against them. They will sit in deep and hit you in the break. And players such as Messi are annoyingly hard to get they ball off of, due to their close control, skill and of course his magnificent eye for a pass, or goal. Each player has their own personality, and affects what they do on the pitch, which is brilliant as again it makes the game more realistic. Also, whereas in previous games, the computer was quite guilty of becoming very predictable, this year the computer play has much more variety about it, which can only be a good thing.
Of course it also has the customary improvements on player ratings, making it up to date with how the player’s performed last season. It makes for ominous reading when you come up against Barcelona, who have for 90 plus rated players, and the lowest rating in the starting line up an 82. From a first glance through the teams, I think the ratings are pretty reasonable apart from a few, who obviously will be improved when the online update is applied. E.g. In Manchester United’s line up Chris Smalling, and Phil Jones, who have been stand-out performers at the start of this season, both are rated under 80, which will surely be improved upon!
So now we come to the various game play modes and features of the game. Of course we now have the, as standard, arena, where you are a selected player, and have half of the pitch to yourself and a goalkeeper to beat, where you can work on your shooting and skills. Of course the exhibition feature has remained, where you can take on the computer, a friend or two in a one off friendly game.
The online aspect of Fifa has been improved. Now you can choose to play in an online season. You can still go a different team from game to game, but your wins, draws and losses are recorded, and you can progress up and down online leagues, through promotion to a more challenging league and face better players, or be relegated down to a worse league and play worse players. This appears to be better than other FIFA’s as your more likely to play against someone suitably matched to your ability, and shouldn’t end up in David v Goliath matches too often. You can also choose to play a season against one of your friends, where you play for example ten games, and then the winner wins the season. And there is the option to just play an exhibition against various friends.
Unfortunately, you can still quit the game, so from past experiences I would advise not going out and humping little noobs 5 or 6 nil, as they just quit the game which can be annoying. However aside from this I have found the online features to be great.
The support your club is also a new feature of the game, and a great addition at that. Select the team you support, or any team you want at the start of the game, and then your XP points, results are all monitored and added up, along with all the other people that have selected your team, and at the end of each day, your team is placed in a place in the league. For instance, my team is St.Mirren ( Yes I know… Before any jokes are fired in, I will say I’ve heard them all already so don’t bother!) so say I play 6 games in a day online, and then play my career and unlock some achievements, all of this will be added up and then St.Mirren will benefit in the kind of online SPL. At the time of writing, Dunfermline were top of said league… Ah well, guess it’s only fair if they win something this season. Yeah I went there!
Career mode is another one of the game modes you can play. You can choose to be a player, a player/manager, or a single manager. In the player mode you can choose any team you want, and choose whether to create your own pro, or go an existing player in a team ,and play a season with that player or team. When you choose player mode, you control the one player for the season. This is quite challenging as in the game, you have to stick to your position, make good passes and decisions, mark players etc etc. You can choose to go a bit mental and run about after the ball, or stick to your position, however running about like a headless chicken will without doubt put down your positional score and therefore affect your player’s overall score. At the end of each game you get a rating and you get rated in your squad, and so you want to try and be the best player.
When you play as the manager, you are in charge of everything that a manager would be, and you receive regular updates via email from your chairman and staff about how you are doing and what they think you should be doing, which is handy as you know where you stand and what’s going on, much like a real football manager would. One of the new features in this mode is the youth academy. You have to hire scouts and send them out all over the world in order to search for the new up and coming stars in order to prepare your team for the future, and then gradually over the years keep an eye on their improvements and flood them into your first team.
And of course you have to buy and sell players to improve your team, which is pretty similar to previous years. After a week of putting the players through contract talks, signing players for the youth academy, you still get to play the games controlling all the players as in a normal game of Fifa. The players also interact with you. For instance if a player has played poorly in the pre season – which you are told about on the home screen- then he may pop up and tell you he knows he’s playing poorly, but if you play him in the next match, he promises to up his game and improve.
The player manager mode is a combination of both of these modes, where you can create a pro and put him into the team, and at the same time stay in charge of all the managerial sides of things. I would advise this game mode to experience the best of both worlds.
Tournament mode is a regular game mode in the FIFA games, and makes yet another appearance in this year’s version. In tournament mode, you can play for any of the domestic trophies in all of the countries available in FIFA. From the A-League in Australia, to the U.S Open Cup in the United States, it’s there! You can also choose to create your own tournament mode, in which you can include national teams as well. So you could make the World Cup if you want to, or just make your own random trophy with a selection of up to 32 teams that take your fancy. Always a fun game mode to play.
Another of the game modes is the virtual pro, in which you can create your own player, select any position for him, and then play him in a team, online, or in a season. Basically the same idea as the career, except you can take your character to online games. This is pretty similar to the previous years, apart from the improved game play perspective. Although it is pretty fun to get your own character involved in the game.
Two game modes left (Don’t worry getting close to the end now!) which are the ultimate team mode, and the challenge mode. I’ll start with the challenge mode first seeing on how it’s probably the most addictive. Every now and again, a challenge appears on your home screen, which is relative to the football world at that moment in time. At the time of writing, the challenge available was “Hamburg Comeback with 10-men?” Last weekend ( 30th October) Hamburg were at home to FC Kaiserslautern, got a man sent off, went one nil down, and came back to draw 1-1. So in this challenge you start one man down, and one nil down with a free kick on the 56th minute and you have to either draw or win the game. Other recent challenges include Arsenal drawing 3-3 with Chelsea and having to win by 2 goals, and Chelsea losing 3-1 at old Trafford in the 48th minute and having to comeback to at least draw. I think this is an excellent addition to the Fifa games and is proving to be very popular already!
The last game mode is the Ultimate Team. This featured in the Fifa 11 but has been updated again with better packs of cards, and more strips etc. The basis of this mode is that you start of with a team of random players around the 60-65 rating level. You have to play games to win coins in order to improve. When you get enough coins you can purchase a pack of cards that will contain better players, upgrades for players, new strips to wear. You can enter your team in different tournaments and play against friend’s teams as well. It is a very entertaining game mode, if slightly unrealistic, and the objective is to get the best team you have. Admittedly it takes quite a lot of playing to get that far into it, and I’m not the biggest fan, but it can be quite rewarding and you get the feel that the players and team are your own and it can get quite addictive.
So that’s my first ever game review done and dusted. Hope that it’s at the very least readable! Hope you enjoy it and I hope to bring you more reviews in the near future. Laters Beys!