Publisher: EA Sports
Developer: EA Sports
by: Nicholas "BAPenguin" Puleo
Yearly updates to sports games are rarely worth the $60 investment, that is, if you purchase them every year. You need to keep a careful and keen eye on the particular sport series to determine the right time to buy if updated rosters aren’t the biggest bullet point on the back of the box. This year’s FIFA seems like the time to go all in on the series, as it has seen it’s biggest overhaul in core game mechanics in quite some time.
So what exactly has changed?
The game utilizes a brand new player impact engine, one that’s similar to a player engine found in the NHL and Madden beginning last year. Basically it comes down to this - player animations and movement are governed by real world physics not only with the field of play, but with other players. What you get is an incredibly realistic feel to playing the game - momentum feels natural, movement is smooth, and players feel less like animations on a screen and more like a diorama in action of a game.
Adding to this huge update is improved defensive capabilities, like holding the left trigger to keep your player between the attacker and the goal - and the ability to gently tug on an opposing player’s jersey to slow him down. There’s a host of other tweaks and features to the game, but these few things I feel make this one of the most realistic and fun FIFA games in years.
The few dozen games I played in FIFA 12 yielded unpredictable results, though, it mostly ended with me losing the game. That said I felt like there was a dynamic underlying system in the game which adapted to my play style. I’d try to mix it up - whether it was through passes in the middle, lobbing the ball over defender’s heads, or dribbling it down the sideline to cross. After a few times of trying the same thing it seemed as if the computer was learning my strategy.
As with most EA Sports games, presentation in FIFA 12 is top notch. Player models easily resemble their real life counter part and the in game chants while playing make you feel as if you are on the pitch.
So is this year’s FIFA worth your $60? In my mind without a doubt. Having just come off of playing FIFA 2011, FIFA 2012 felt like a totally different game to me. And in this case, different is better.