FIFA 11. It's FIFA 10, but better. After playing this year's version of EA's blockbuster football sim, that's the best I could come up with for an opening. It's true, though. FIFA 10 was by far the best football game I'd ever played, and this latest iteration is that game with a smattering of new features, tweaked and refined where needed. As such, you can probably stop reading now if you want. What follows is about 1000 words on exactly what's new, what's changed and what makes it a better game, but it's still essentially a trumped-up version of FIFA 10.

On the pitch is where the changes matter most, so I'll jump straight in to how this year's game feels to play. At risk of sounding like a broken record, FIFA 11 initially feels very similar to FIFA 10, but after a few games the differences in player physicality start to become abundantly obvious. Whereas in 10 you could somehow wrestle the ball away from a giant even if you had control of a player barely big enough to go on the rides at Alton Towers, now it's a whole lot more difficult. Player size and weight will determine if you can hold off a pursuing defender, or snuff out danger by simply pushing away the oncoming attacker.

Other changes are less immediately obvious. Pro passing gives you more control over where you're sending the ball, but unless you're an expert it's unlikely you'll even notice; such is the help given when played with assists turned on. It's worth persevering with no assists, though: Whereas it seems that you can ping the ball about as you wish using the default settings, with manual passing it feels as though the stabilisers have been taken off and you're playing properly for the first time.

There's also a revamped penalty system, with a gauge for composure, a power meter and fully analogue aiming. Stop the bar in the red on the composure gauge and you'll fire wide or over the bar; use too much power and hold a direction for too long and you'll miss the target. It's a fiddly system at first, but definitely better than the overly simple penalty mechanic we've had in the past.

FIFA 11 screenshot

These changes have made a more realistic virtual game of football; one in which it's harder to break down defences, where skilful players are worth their weight in gold, and careful build-up is key. The best teams put you under pressure as soon as you receive the ball, and frustrate with their ability to retain possession, but they can all be ripped apart if you use the right formation, utilise the required tactics and have the skills. Timing is the key to everything, whether simply passing or trying to hammer the ball into the top corner, as a player off balance or being harassed is incredibly likely to fluff his shot or end up passing to the opposition.

One of FIFA 10's most high profile problems was the ease at which you could chip onrushing keepers. This appears to have been solved by making chips harder to pull off and keepers a bit more intelligent. As every player now has his own personality, some keepers are more likely to go crazy and rush you than others, but on the whole even the Almunias of the football world try to cut down your goal scoring options.

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User Comments

scaz2244's Avatar

scaz2244@ TomO

is there any form of master league at all?
Posted 22:45 on 02 October 2010
boumazouza's Avatar

boumazouza

hoyhoyyyy
Posted 20:14 on 02 October 2010
saint_markperth's Avatar

saint_markperth

I would have to say that Crossing and Corners are better this year, pro passing is good aswell anything to make things more of a challenge
Posted 09:40 on 02 October 2010
hamoo's Avatar

hamoo

fifa 11 better than pes 11
Posted 19:05 on 01 October 2010
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev

My copy arrived today, Shopto.net are heroes.
Posted 19:05 on 29 September 2010
cousinwalter's Avatar

cousinwalter@ Cherub007

that does not bode well
Posted 18:29 on 29 September 2010
Cherub007's Avatar

Cherub007

@CousinWalter

I heard somewhere that the PES review has been embargoed until the weekend. Gulp.
Posted 11:52 on 29 September 2010
jinsurgent's Avatar

jinsurgent

For anyone who thinks these yearly iterations are hard to justify I will say this: Try and play Fifa 09 after playing this years version - you'll be amazed how basic and clunky it feels with limited player movement and animation, and poor ball physics. Fifa 09 was my entry level to the series after years of Pro Evo, and at the time I felt it played a perfect game of football. But after selling my copies of Fifa 10 and Fifa World Cup 2010 last month in preperation for this years version, I gave Fifa 09 a go and simply couldn't play it. The changes may seem subtle initially but, my god, the improvements are immense on reflection and are certainly worthy of £30 or so pound yearly for the depth of play and enjoyment it provides.
Posted 20:29 on 28 September 2010
clangod's Avatar

clangod

I have FIFA 10 on 360 but apart from the odd game, I haven't really dived too deep into it. Adding to that, I am still getting used to FIFA again after playing PES for so long. The truth is I'm really pretty bad at it but I think regardless of the shining review I'll stick to FIFA 10 for now.

It's good to learn that the passing has been altered somewhat. I find it hard sometimes to actually get the ball to the intended player. I know some of it has to do with my lack of familiarity with FIFA 10 but there's definitely something going on there that just isn't quite right. I should probably just play it more, maybe...
Posted 19:03 on 28 September 2010
TomO's Avatar

TomO@ jessejames

There's a replay theatre of all your saved goals and highlights. You can also use your own tunes.
Posted 17:15 on 28 September 2010
jessejames's Avatar

jessejames

What about being able to save replays (goals + skills) onto the hardrive, even while online? and putting your own tunes on the game? It said these update would be there in the demo. R there? They sound great!
Posted 16:37 on 28 September 2010
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev

For the past few years I've thought that EA have done enough with Fifa to warrant an annual release, more so than others who manage to get a game out in time for each Christmas period.

I always think that it takes a while to notice the more subtle changes that can make a big impact on the game.
Posted 16:08 on 28 September 2010
TomO's Avatar

TomO@ jase_ace_uk

I didn't, but I had a fairly small squad and rotated regularly. Your players will be more prone to injury if you play them too often though. I had Modric out for 40 days after pushing him too hard.
Posted 16:01 on 28 September 2010
jase_ace_uk's Avatar

jase_ace_uk@ El-Dev

Sweet, I sure hope so. Cheers dude.
Posted 15:45 on 28 September 2010
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev@ jase_ace_uk

I think Asda are, £23 I read somehere but dunno if it's true.
Posted 15:42 on 28 September 2010

Game Stats

Technical Specs
9
Out of 10
FIFA 11
  • From distance it looks incredible
  • 11-vs-11 is there if you want it
  • Most realistic FIFA yet
  • Some players are ugly
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 01/10/2010
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC , Wii , DS , PS2 , PSP
Developer: EA Canada
Publisher: EA SPORTS
Genre: Sports
Rating: PEGI 3+
Site Rank: 2,936 198
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