Not only is this entry from The Hut the cheapest price you'll find at the moment for FIFA 11, but you'll be able to snag yourself a free polo shirt, and twenty quid's worth of vouchers in the process too. It's shaping up to be a pretty good game with full 11-a-side online play (yes, you can now be a goalie), all the presentation and pizazz you'd expect from a frontline EA Sports title and lots of nifty little tweaks and gameplay additions like 360 degree jostling, Personality Plus and vastly improved AI. We'll have a review for you very soon, but footie fans would do well to strike whilst the iron is hot. Thanks to markpomeroy at HUKD
I've always enjoyed footie games. I never subscribed to the school of thought that you had to own either FIFA or PES, instead I've generally tried to get both iterations each generation (waiting for bargain bucket prices in some cases) as both have always had different things to offer. However, it would be remiss of me to suggest that both have always been peerless sports sims.
The turn of the millennium saw FIFA slide slowly into a slump that was only resurrected with an overhaul for FIFA 08 that has since then seen copious amounts of polishing and refinement to match a fall from grace for the PES series which peaked at 5 before losing the plot a bit. I was astounded by FIFA 10, from the dribbling to the wealth of game modes to its excellent online support and 10 vs. 10 potential.
But it wasn't perfect.
Enter FIFA 11. Running with the tagline 'We Are 11', it boasts a number of refinements, not least the ability to finally pit 11 players against 11 others. That's right, user controlled keepers are coming, and I can't freaking wait! How well it'll work remains to be seen (watch this space for a further appraisal if we manage to snaffle some more time with it later in the week) but, with three levels of computer-assistance from hand-holding to nada, it could be quite a mouth watering prospect.
Manager Mode is out, a 15 season Career Mode is in, and yes you can even spend that time between the sticks should you wish. Other refinements include the ability to import your own song library into the soundtrack the ability to save replays locally, a fully functional creation centre rather than the borked one we have at the moment and a host of gameplay refinements and presentational polish to make matches even more exciting.
I've got to be honest with you, there's not a huge amount of point in buying this game if you already own FIFA 10. The two games play nearly exactly the same way. Aside from the odd tweak to the physics engine, improved grass textures and player faces and marginally easier setpieces, all of the differences here are pretty much cosmetic. That said, if anyone knows how to really get the most out of a licence, it's EA, and everything here is peppered with slick, glossy, and undeniably glorious, presentation.
If a Bumper Party FIFA Game sounds like a good idea to you then you'll be pleased to know that The Hut's 10% voucher can help net you the game for an even lower price than before. Barely a week or two old, entering in 10GAMES at the checkout will knock the price down from £34.93 to £31.54, saving you over £2 on Tesco's price.
NB. Remember to use the code 10GAMES to get it at this price.
Let's not beat about the bush. This is really only a title that's worth investing in if your either an avid footie/FIFA fan or simply forgot to buy FIFA 10. This game's lack of variety is the thing that most hampers it if you fall into the latter category not to mention the price. Sure, the fanfares are louder and the menus are slicker and the reflection of reality is well supported, but it's really just the international part of FIFA 10 with a few bells and whistles.
As with its predecessor, World Cup is an excellent game to play and, although I know Neil will disagree with me, is based on an engine that has delivered arguably the best virtual representation of the Beautiful Game to date. However, it also shares its faults. The irritating, bug-ridden commentary is still there. Goalkeepers occasionally have such severe lapses of concentration that it's as if they've received news that a relative has died just as there's a long shot on target.
There is no doubt whatsoever that this is a fine game and, as the hype builds up towards the first kick of the tournament, the excited will no doubt sell a lot of copies of this title, and perhaps rightly so. But after the party's done, expect to see this filling up bargain bins everywhere. Gotta be honest, I'd probably just buy FIFA 10 for half the price.
Ask a football fan who they support and you'll get one of several hundred answers. Ask a console-owning football fan who they support and, yes, you'll also get one of several hundred answers.
Ask them which football sim they prefer though and the field narrows substantially. To two: Konami's Pro-Evolution Soccer or EA Sport's FIFA.
Rivalry between the factions can be more passionate than Liverpool Vs Everton, Spurs Vs Arsenal, or United Vs City - only with less violence and considerably fewer scarves. FIFA fans used to rave about the silky smooth gameplay, the accurate graphics, the skills and flourishes. PES fans used to rave about the grittiness, the grinding out of results, the depth of realism...
However, in recent years, the lines have blurred somewhat. For a few years, Pro-Evo was THE footie sim of choice, a universally acclaimed console interpretation of the beautiful game. Towards the end of the last decade, though, the paradigm shifted. There was a sense that Konami was resting on its laurels, a mood that EA picked up on.
EA, you see, pulled out all the stops for FIFA '09 - seriously, the overtime bill must have been HUGE - added assorted bells and whistles and improved just about every aspect of their product. Whatever the overtime bill, it was worth it as the general consensus was that they'd finally trumped PES. Personally, I wasn't convinced. As a long time PES devotee, it was going to take more than shiny graphics and fluid player movements to overcome my prejudice.
Don't get me wrong. I didn't dislike FIFA. Far from it. As a distraction on a boys night in, FIFA's accessibility gave it an edge over its rival. Within a game or two, you could be smacking 30 yard volleys over Peter Cech's head, exchanging cheeky one-twos with Stevie Gerrard, or smacking Beckham-style cross-pitch passes.
The thing is - and I know this sounds masochistic - I don't want that. It might be more fun to watch a 5-4 thriller with every strike a contender for goal of the season but there's a problem: that ain’t football. Sometimes, football is about grinding out a 0-0 draw with superior opposition. It's about coping when your star player is out for 11 weeks with an injury. It's about tweaking your side and still balancing the books. It's about dominating the match for 89 minutes only to see the opposition nick it with their one attack of the match. And that, you see, is what you got with PES - and, it must be said, in latter versions of FIFA.
The ease of earlier incarnations was still possible in the charmingly named Lounge mode but set the skill level high enough on the League or Cup modes and you had a much greater challenge than before. For once, I found myself wavering. PES 2009 was good but even I had to admit that FIFA was snapping at its heels. There was still a sense that FIFA was playing to the crowds while PES was playing to the fans but PES had missed a few tricks. Why were the squads out of date? Yes, the changes were available as an instant update but, for example, Berbatov had moved to United TWO MONTHS before the game was released. And why hadn’t they changed the commentary? A season of Jon Champion and Mark Lawrenson burbling the same clichés was too long, but two seasons? You’re testing my patience Konami...
And that’s perhaps why late last year, I found myself purchasing FIFA ’10 before Pro-Evo, and playing it. A lot. The graphics are impeccable. The skills and moves are realistic and instinctive. The commentary by Clive Tyldesley and Andy Gray made a refreshing change. Other tweaks also impressed, particularly the ability to create a player and take them online for team challenges and the ability to store your best goals online so you can show them to friends.
But then something happened. I don’t know what pushed me over the edge. It was possibly Andy Gray talking about my goal celebration “the aeroplane is what it’s called” and speculating on whether I was about to take off for what felt like 14 times a game. Or it might have been the season in Be A Pro mode when, despite setting the difficulty level to World Class, my third season team record read played 24, won 24, scored 153, conceded 2 – oh, and I’d just scored my sixth consecutive hat trick for England. Yes, it’s a buzz to do it, but there’s no satisfaction when it’s virtually served on a plate and the game's learning curve clearly needs more adjusting.
And so FIFA went back in the box – unless the boys are coming around – and I’m back on Pro-Evo. It’s tough, it’s frustrating, it’s blooming difficult to score, and that’s the way it should be. Konami – I’m sorry I ever doubted you, but well done for taking the lessons of FIFA onboard. And well done for EA for giving them, and their game, the kick up the Arsenal it clearly needed. I, for one, look forward to the 2011 tussle...
Dealspwn Rating: 9/10
Platforms: Xbox 360/PS3/Wii/PC/PSP/DS
Developer: EA Canada
Publisher: EA Sports
I walked into my mate's lounge the other day to see a football match on the television. Bizarrely it featured England playing an autumn friendly against the Young Boys of Bern. It took me a little while to realise that Andy Gray kept repeating himself at the worst possible moments and that either the match clock was telling me that time had sped up, or I was somehow slowing down while reality zoomed by at its usual pace and that I'd sealed myself in some fourth dimensional traffic jam. Looking closer I realised that whilst the players on the screen did in fact look remarkably life-like, Wayne Rooney did kinda appear slightly more beaten-with-the-ugly-stick than usual, and that what I was actually witnessing was a game of FIFA 10 in progress. Six hours, and numerous Live Lounge matches later, I had run into town to buy my own copy.
Traditionally, EA's efforts have often been about style over substance: Shiny games that look amazing, but usually have fundamental gameplay flaws that prevent them from reaching the higher echelons of Metacritic's stats tables. You might say that EA is a little bit like a young schoolkid: A short attention span, tendency to rush, and occasional laziness being a few of the many issues such an enormous behemoth of a software production company might encounter. The FIFA franchise has traditionally been in that mould; high in production value (second only behind Madden), but low in footballing realism, clunky to play, and lacking generally in the realm of fun. These are the joyous criticisms of the Pro Evo fan.Click here to read the rest of Matt's review...