Modelling FIFA Football after FIFA 11 isn't a bad thing, but in doing so EA has released a game that fans of FIFA 12 will find hard to play if they're going to continue playing the latest version. On one hand it's undoubtedly the best handheld football game I've ever played, delivering a true home console experience, but it's also a step back compared to FIFA 12.
If you've not transitioned to the new defending systems EA introduced in FIFA 12, you'll be able to jump into this with relative ease. Sure, the excellent Player Impact Engine isn't included here, but aside from that the two games are largely comparable. The problem comes if you did invest the time and effort into learning the new tactical defending.
In FIFA 12, EA encouraged players to do away with the overly simplistic "hold button to tackle" technique that the series had relied on for quite a few years. The new system in FIFA 12 centres on player position and impeccable timing when going in for a tackle, and often you're better off merely using a player's weight and position to prevent attackers making progress. That technique cannot be adopted in FIFA Football for Vita. You hold down X to track and tackle the opposition, just like you did in FIFA 11. That's fine, but play the Vita game a lot and you'll risk hampering your performance in the daddy version of FIFA.
EA has included a number of Vita exclusive control features that use front and rear touch, but these are largely awkward to use. The touch screen can be used to direct passes into space by tapping on the location desired, passing to a player by tapping on the player you wish to take possession, changing player by tapping on another player while not in possession, and shooting by tapping inside the goal. On all accounts the front touch screen controls are hampered by the fact that it's incredibly hard to take your hands away from the standard sticks and buttons in order to press on the screen - ideally you'd need an additional hand.
Rear touch functionality is better, simply because you can access this with fingers that aren't already occupied elsewhere - although it's still far from comfortable. Tap the rear panel and you'll fire a shot at goal, with your player's aim determined by the location you tap. Finger the top right of the touch pad and you'll aim towards the top right corner of the goal, touch the middle and chances are you'll fire straight at the keeper. Things are made more complicated by the amount of time you press determining the strength and quality of the strike, an on-screen guide showing you if you've struck the ball perfectly or overdone it - usually resulting in the ball flying wildly out behind the goal.