FIFA 12 screenshot
FIFA 12 screenshot

It's perfectly conceivable that some FIFA players won't like the new Tactical Defending on offer in FIFA 12. You can turn it off and use the system found in previous games, but to take part in proper online competition you'll need to be using the new system. There's no denying that Tactical Defending takes a lot of getting used to, but the effort is worth it. Games against AI on higher difficulty levels are still beyond me, but the game feels fresh and new when played against a human opponent. Matches play out in a more realistic fashion, with attackers able to go on runs, but actually making that decisive breakthrough on goal is harder than ever.

Going hand in hand with Tactical Defending is the Player Impact Engine - something which EA claims is the biggest change FIFA has seen since it arrived on this generation of consoles. Having seen this earlier in the year and been incredibly impressed I expected a lot, but in action in FIFA 12 it's a lot more subtle - an improvement over what we had before, but not initially hugely noticeable. There are certainly glitches that cause players to react in bizarre ways when they collide, but most of the time body parts are pushed, pulled and knocked about in a way that gives the game a more realistic look and allows for more fluid gameplay.

Actually scoring when given the chance depends heavily on the player in possession, but against good teams it can prove to be incredibly tough. When you do nail a shot and see it fly in off the post the sense of satisfaction is just as great as ever, and it's possible to score some real beauties while holding down the skill modifier - even if it can result in disaster a lot of the time.

It's fair to say FIFA 12 is at its best when played against real people. AI annoyances go out the window and you're left with a far more enjoyable football experience. It's no surprise then that EA has clearly focused more on this competitive side of the game, offering an absolute tonne of online game modes. New this year are Head to Head Seasons and Online Friendlies.

Head to Head Seasons puts you in a league and gives you 10 online games to try and earn enough points to get a promotion into a better league, pitting you against tougher online opponents. Online Friendlies gives you a way to make competition with friends more regimented, deciding who is the best over a 10-game season. Neither is likely to cause too much of a stir, but it's good to have more options.

In terms of new features in the online space, EA has added loads to the social side of the game. You have your own rank, levelled up by earning XP through playing the game, and this can be compared to friends and rivals online. There's also a global league based on the teams FIFA 12 players support, with the average XP scores being worked out to create league tables. At the end of each FIFA 12 season there'll be promotions and relegations, meaning that everything you do while playing counts for something.

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FIFAAddiction's Avatar

FIFAAddiction

Great review, will add a link from our blogs. A lot of people unhappy but FIFA has become a game for the more serious players. It will be a learning curve which will help younger and less experienced players learn about football. Defending and now shooting requires an understanding of what you are doing.
There will always be parts of each version which need improvement. More important is how the online experience is this time as 11 wasn't good. However as I said a few times the World Cup version was almost a perfect game and much better online.
Posted 18:43 on 24 September 2011
InvalidUser's Avatar

InvalidUser

After E3 I had no excitement at all about a succession to FIFA 11, playing the full game today crazy how things have changed. Looks like my first midnight launch.

Great review. agree with Wido a minus for challenge?, they do kick ass and possession is key, the AI movement is much improved over the demo so far for me.
Posted 17:15 on 24 September 2011
Wido's Avatar

Wido

Nice review Tom but "AI above semi-pro is rock hard" ? I disagree with that. You want a challenge, not a game that poses no challenge whatsoever, but I suppose it has to be supporting Tottenham or is it James? :p

Will be getting this but it won't be day one purchase.
Posted 16:55 on 24 September 2011
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

Fantastic review Tom. A genuinely entertaining read.
Posted 13:10 on 24 September 2011
munkee's Avatar

munkee

Hmmm, you just made me want to have a go on a football game for the first time in.. i dunno.. ever.
Posted 09:11 on 24 September 2011

Game Stats

Technical Specs
9
Out of 10
FIFA 12
  • Tactical Defending is more authentic
  • Physics are greatly improved
  • Loads of new online functionality
  • AI above semi-pro is rock hard
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 30/09/2011
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC , 3DS , PS Vita , iPhone , Wii , PS2 , PSP
Publisher: EA SPORTS
Genre: Sports
Rating: PEGI 3+
Site Rank: 991 98
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