To anyone worried about this being simply FIFA 11 with a new name — it’s not. FIFA 12 plays drastically differently than FIFA 11 did.
Game developer Electronic Arts’ unwavering dedication towards making FIFA a realistic simulation is instantly seen in the game’s slower pace. FIFA gets technical this year; it’s not just about making a pass, but how and when you make it and what position you and your intended target are in when it’s made. The most important new feature in FIFA 12 is also the most controversial. While a lot has been done to advance attacking, dribbling and goal scoring in past games, this time, EA has paid a heap of attention to defending.
Be prepared for embarrassment as the AI will make your defensive line look silly on a regular basis on the higher difficulties, but once you’ve learned the nuances of the new system and the effective use of jockeying and standing tackles, FIFA 12 reveals itself as a more tactical game all over the park. The downside to tactical defending is that while defending is harder now, attacking is pretty much the same.
The other big feature in this year’s game is the Player Impact Engine, which is designed to make the game more fluid and realistic, but its
implementation is far from perfect, leading to some embarrassing scenarios.
In terms of offline game modes, FIFA 12 is largely unchanged. The Career Mode, which was first introduced last year, has seen a few tweaks here and there — an easier transfer system, for example.
What we like
* Engaging 3D visuals
* Lots of additional content
What we don’t
* Backlight bleeding
* Confusing menus
It’s no revolution, but FIFA 12 is the boldest installment in the series since FIFA 08. While the Player Impact Engine is a little iffy in its implementation and the new defence controls have a steep learning curve, play it long enough and you’ll find a technically sound and ultimately rewarding football simulation experience. It’s hard to say if it’s better than FIFA 11, but once you do play it, you won’t want to go back.