Developer: EA Canada
Publisher: EA Sports
Yearly, iterative sports games have a tough job on their hands. It is not enough to simply rest upon the laurels of years gone by, each year must bring something new to the table, something vital that stands apart from those that have come before. And no, we're not just talking about updated rosters.
EA Sports have made a big show of the changes that they've rung for this year's instalment. Buzzword-heavy announcements, flashy explanatory trailers and bolshy fighting talk have served to prime and prepare the FIFA faithful and attempt to assuage long-time sceptics that the strides that the series has undeniably made in the past few years have been leading up to something utterly game-changing. It is perhaps too early to tell if that may be the case, but the fact is that FIFA 12 plays a game of football so far removed from its predecessors that all-comers, new or old, will have to do a little bit of thought adjustment.
Let's start on the pitch. The new focus on the field is really all about defence, EA Canada have stripped away the 'Hold A to Press' tactics of yesteryear, ditching them completely to make tracking and tackling a more hands-on affair that has completely changed the dynamic of the way that you play. Matches are far more ponderous than they used to be, the whistle-happy refs often carding for mere tussling, and so timing is everything. The range of options at your disposal is cracking: you can jostle and jockey players to hold them up and slow down their advance. Standing tackles must be executed with precision, else they leave you looking an absolute fool, the half second of committed animation giving your opponent the opportunity to break you defensive line. You can call in other players as you ensure you have you back to the goal, always facing your opponent thanks to the triggers, but they won't go in for risky slide tackles. That's really up to you now.Click here to read more...
I've been playing rolling matches of FIFA 12 for the best part of two hours now and something odd is happening. I've seen it happen before in the past ninety minutes, but now it's getting a bit ridiculous. The ball has come to a complete standstill and is simply sitting in the middle of the field, daringly lounging about in open play and none of the players can do a thing about it...because they've all fallen over into a giant comical heap.
It would appear we've found something of a bug. True, the new collision system, or Impact Engine as EA Sports insist upon calling it, has caused some deliciously replayable tackles, but at the moment players earning more than God are falling over with as much abandon as Austin Powers on a circular bed. We're all for emergent gameplay, but the slapstick is occasionally a little irritating.
This, though, is the price of change. Transitions into new territory aren't always smooth, but that in no way means that they should be discouraged. As producer David Rutter has stated, EA Sports are unconcerned by the competition this year, and neither should they be. As I've already stressed, the two biggest exponents of the Beautiful Game play very differently. It's like arguing which is better out of Street Fighter and Soul Calibur.Click here to see how FIFA 12 is shaking things up a bit this year...