FIFA 12

FIFA 12 Review for Xbox 360

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The beautiful game is back.

Review Verdict Read Review
9Out of 10
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FIFA 12 screenshot
FIFA 12 screenshot

FIFA Ultimate Team has also been included out of the box, rather than coming as DLC. Here you start with a basic team of players and can then earn points through playing (and trading player cards) to build up a better team and improve team chemistry. Even losing games earns you points, with shots, corners and more all adding to your tally - while playing against stronger teams adds a bonus multiplier. It's a game mode that has proved so popular that the best teams have been sold on eBay for small fortunes, and there's no reason to think it won't be just as successful in FIFA 12.

While FIFA 12 includes an improved Career Mode, complete with a tweaked youth academy and scouting system, the various options here still feel lacking. Playing through a career as a single player suffers due to the AI's poor managerial decisions. As Luca Modric for Tottenham (although I chose to take control of the entire team during games), I had to sit back and accept that the manager was playing Scot Parker as a striker and repeatedly subbed the team's best players before half-time. Taking on a management and playing role is far better, but the transfer negotiation side of the game is so basic it'll frustrate anyone who has dabbled with a proper management sim.

Injuries and recovery from injuries has been handled very well, not only thanks to the way incidents look more realistic but also in how problem areas can be aggravated when players return. If your winger gets clouted on the knee while recovering from a knee injury, chances are it'll be made a lot worse. It's not exactly a revolution, but having to think carefully about who you'll pick in your starting 11 adds another level of realism to the experience.

As ever, presentation is top class here. The menus, pre-game practice arena, team montages, soundtrack, crowd chants, and all the rest are superb. The EA Sports Creation Centre is also back, now with more features and bonuses for Season Ticket holders. More important is how good the game looks on the pitch, with EA once again making a genre-leading sports sim. I'm a little disappointed by some of the player likenesses, with only the top clubs getting a full suite of accurate models - Tottenham, for example, suffer from a number of rough approximations that aren't as good as those seen in PES.

Player faces aside, there's very little to complain about. The lighting is excellent, animations are top notch and made even more realistic thanks to the game's new physics engine, and no other game has all the official kit licenses. Not so brilliant is the somewhat random commentary, which once again suffers from the pair failing to accurately read situations, often with comical results. It's also a shame that there's no licensed Champions League here, which can only be found in PES.

I booted up FIFA 11 to gauge just how much has changed and the differences really are quite striking. The Tactical Defending feels entirely alien to begin with but stick with it and it makes FIFA 12 feel like a brand new, and more realistic football experience. The King is dead. Long live the King: FIFA 12.

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5 Comments

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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
FIFA 12
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
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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: 1,049 59
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