It often gets to the stage with sports games that they become merely annual roster updates, with a huge list of supposed gameplay changes that in actuality make little or no difference at all. However for the first time in a long time FIFA 12 bucks that trend.
This year gamers are treated to a full physics engine that means the end of canned animations for players on the pitch. While that may not sound like a big deal it means that every time two players are involved in a scuffle for the ball the result will be different.
Rather than one player entering into a pre-determined ‘ball winning’ animation and the other a pre-determined ‘losing ball’ animation you get a natural clash and outcome, as you would at a real game. Of course there are still a few teething issues – the occasional pile up of players on the ground as they trip over each other being at the comedy end of the scale – but overall this new feature adds so much more to the game.
As has become expected in recent years the gameplay of FIFA is second to none. You will really feel like you are involved in a real game of football – especially against human opponents locally or online. The AI is a little too good for my liking but most of my time is spent online anyway.
Last year the main draw online was Ultimate Team, a sort of fantasy football where you build a roster of players and control transfers etc. This remains in FIFA 12 but personally I feel it’s been eclipsed by the awesome new Head To Head league mode. This sees you needing a required amount of points in 10 online games to progress up through the leagues. As you move up through the 10 leagues you need more points to stay in that division and face better players that match your skill level. It is extremely addictive, so be warned.
Have no doubt, FIFA 12 is the ultimate football package both offline and online. There is something here for everyone and if you have any interest in football, this is the game for you. The new physics based gameplay means this title is a genuine step forward for the genre.