Reviews

Fifa 12 Review

How many ways can you write an intro to a videogame review of the worlds most popular sport? To be honest, I think anything I could come up with has pretty much been done by now. So I’m going to take a new approach this time round and attempt a complete beginners guide to soccer. Here goes.

Soccer, or Football as it’s known in Europe, is a team sport comprising of eleven players on each side who…

Screw it. This is going to take too long. If you don’t know anything about Football, you shouldn’t be reading this.

I’ll get right into it, FIFA 12 is thigh-slappingly awesome. That is, I did actually slap my thigh on more than one occasion as an expression of how much I enjoyed this game. Needless to say, I now have a pretty red thigh.

fifa12-4Improved graphics? Slap. Better sound? Slap. New modes including a cool ‘Daily Challenge’ that offers you a different match scenario to complete every 24 hours? Slap, slap, slap. I could seriously take my thigh right off the bone and go hobbling into work on one leg. It’s FIFA 12 for goodness sake, they’d understand.

Starting off then, the most noticeable difference from FIFA 11 is that Manager mode has made a return. And it’s glorious.

Fans had been crying out for it. In fact, they demanded it. They pretty much gathered outside EA’s headquarters with pitchforks and burning torches. For this release, it needed to happen.

And instead of a generic league season, which amounts to little more than playing each team in succession, FIFA 12 Manager mode is a fully featured beast with everything under the hood seamlessly integrated.

League and national cups, board expectations, transfers, contract negotiations and injuries are all present. Player valuations are slightly off, and there’s the odd transfer which’ll raise an eyebrow (£7m for John Terry? Rooney to Celtic for £31m? Really?) but all in all, it’s what we’ve been waiting for.

Once you get out on the pitch – which may take a while, the front end is so shiny and slick, you can’t help but explore every option – you’ll see even more improvement. Gentlemen, prepare to butter my bottom and call me a biscuit, this is the best looking football game on the iPhone.

I didn’t think they could improve last year’s game graphically, but boy have they. The visuals are significantly sharpened without any of the slowdown which plagued FIFA 11 it’s early days. Stadiums look fantastic, the flow of the game and player animations are so impressive, I promise you’ll get as much satisfaction from this as any console version. The only thing that snapped the TV-esque illusion was the fact that as Arsenal, I’d somehow managed to beat Manchester
Utd. Yeah right.

fifa12-3A lovely variety of goals can be scored. Of course you can bang it in from 30 yards, or tikka-takka your way through to goal like Barca, but because the game engine allows for player collisions and awkward bounces of the ball, you can also score an 89th minute off the bum deflection just like in real life. And as a bonus, you can now save your replays.

One of the things that really got on my goat about FIFA 11 (Yes, I do own a real goat), was the crowd noise and stadium atmosphere. EA have definitely worked on this, but it probably remains one of the few weaker links.

There’s obvious improvement where audio is concerned; matches no longer play out with a 65,000 strong crowd resembling a ‘Sounds of The Ocean’ CD. You’ll hear region specific chants, reactions to match events, and finally get an appropriate roar or groan when the home team scores, or in my case, concedes.

The problem is that all too often, these sonic delights are punctuated with periods of almost complete silence, as if the crowd have realised they’re in a library. It’s not a massive deal, it just screams I AM A VIDEOGAME.

Controls are similar to last year, which is no bad thing. The Casual option which features instructions on each button telling you exactly what it will do, and which change with the context of the match, is a blessing for those wanting to get stuck in straight away. The advanced system offers serious depth with commands for faking shots, first touches and tactical defending, but can get a little fiddly at times. It feels as if EA wanted to cram everything in, but ran out of space. As a result, you’ll often have to press one button while sliding to the next to do something as simple as cross the ball into the box. Try remembering that when you’ve got a hairy defender breathing down your neck.

fifa12-2Speaking of controls, you may have heard about the ability to use your iPhone as a control pad with the iPad version of the game. If you haven’t, I’m here to tell you that you can use your iPhone as a control pad with the iPad version of the game. There, you’ve heard it now.

Once you’ve installed the free EA Gamepad app for the iPhone, two of them can connect via Bluetooth to an iPad for you and a mate to go head to head. A downside for me was the lack of customising the controls on the iPhone controller screen. Because the buttons are not physical, you will find yourself glancing down to your handset to check you are indeed hitting pass, as opposed to shoot. It’s a slightly flawed system, but it is none-the-less impressive, even if it is nothing more than a gimmick.

But alas, FIFA 12 is not perfect. Unfortunately, despite the massive strides it’s taken, there’s still a rather large elephant in the room. An elephant which clearly refuses to leave the EA offices. An elephant who sits around doing elephant farts, making obtrusive elephant noises and scoffing elephant sized portions in the staff canteen.

What am I talking about? Here’s an open letter to EA I wrote after spending some time with the game:

From: Kevin Moore
Subject: FIFA 12

Dear EA,

Where the *@!? Is multiplayer?

Yours,

Kevin Moore

This is the world’s favourite sport. Steven in Cambridge plays it. Xia Yang in Beijing plays it. Even eight year old Timmy in Ohio plays it. So why then, when rival football games can offer online connectivity to other players, does FIFA 12 have none? At the very least you’d expect local Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, but there isn’t even that.

I suspect it may have something to do with optimisation. Maybe EA refuse to enter the iOS multiplayer arena because they haven’t quite been able to ensure a quality product every time. With something as input heavy as a football game, you need to have what is basically a perfect connection to get the most out of it. This isn’t Words With Friends after all, and the online multiplayer of other iPhone football games hasn’t exactly been perfect. So maybe in a way, EA are saving us from ourselves.

Or maybe I’m throwing them a rather large bone.

fifa12-1For now, little Timmy in Ohio is crying. It’s a shame, because EA have put in boatloads of effort improving FIFA as a package, and it shows. It easily passes the acid test for annual sports games; once you’ve played it, the thought of returning to the previous instalment gets laughed away at the Gentlemen’s Club with the wave of a cigar. And for those of you who think that’s just a cliché’, remember it’s a test the iOS version of Madden 12 recently failed.

In the end, FIFA 12 is a fabulous football simulation that stops just shy of full marks. But for the tears of little Timmy, this may have been perfection. Perhaps in years to come, EA will reveal to us that adding multiplayer to their iOS games would have triggered the Apocalypse.We’ll all be thankful then.

Until that point however, tap that FIFA 12 icon, dive into Manager Mode, and be content with undoubtedly the finest football game on the iPhone.

eds-choice

un-missable

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  • Peter

    Excellent review. I wish you could had also pointed out the absence of tournament modes. EA could have also included be a pro mode, I don’t care about MP to be honest.

  • Kevin Moore, UK

    I actually forgot about BAP. Look out for that in FIFA 13 I guess.

    Multiplayer is far more important in my opinion. It’s a core feature that should be included in some form in a footy title.

  • THE RPG NOOB

    EA is not putting in mutiplayer because they want to put it in as IAP later on.

  • Peter

    Source? Or is that an assumption?? Either way, an IAP with more features (be a pro and tournaments), will be an instant buy from me!!

  • mobile_gamer

    absolutely HATE the idea of new control mechanism…it took me full three months to get acustomed to fifa 11 touch controls and now i have to do it all over again….
    though it does ensure i’ll be playing it for a longer time….
    all in all, a good game

  • THE RPG NOOB

    @peter its an accurate guess, After all IAP is very profitable on the App store

  • http://gamecentergames.com Game Center Games

    I just wish they would include Game Center in there games already. It looks as if they may never do so.

  • Matt

    Something is strange about this version:

    - Usually Fifa games by EA are very accurate but here I see the goal frame being dark-grey??? Nowhere in Soccer are goal frames dark-grey.

    - Also the goal itself seems a bit small compared to real-life goals in pro-Soccer.

    - I know those are small details and most/ all Americans don’t care about Soccer anyway but those who do and know it well it’s a bit disappointing to see EA screwed up on those details when in their previous Fifa11 version they had it right.

  • mobile_gamer

    1) new controls are horrible. run and sprint that used to be a one thumb affair in fifa 11 now requires two thunbs. so when u wish to swipe a player forward or tap him to pass , u hav to lift your finger from sprint button which is annoying. through balls are inaccurate.

    2) ball visibility in regions with shadow of the stadium is zero. the radar is next to useless if your team jersey is dark blue/black. and lastly, the line marking the outside on the far end of the pitch is also nearly invisible.

    3) too many force crashes at random times. especially in manager mode, you cant get past the fourth (league cup) match, i hav tried crossing it twice with chelsea and once with atl madrid but all three times the game crashes after that match. hence, it is impossible to advance in manager mode.

    still it is a very good game for a quick match and i hope ea sorts these issues out in future updates. thnx!!

  • Toea

    Very nice game, a lot of improvements as compared to the previous one.

    Controls are different from FIFA11, so it take some times to master them, but they are better. The end of the sprint on the control pad is so important ! Now you can control the ball in less than 2 seconds… “Advanced controls” are not easy to master, and some huge differences with the “easy controls” (e.g. the sprint & tackle button which moves from the sprint to the B button, horrible) make the switch to be difficult. If possible, and if you want, start directly with the advanced ones to not spend once again 20 games to master the news controls… But the master of the controls are one of the most interesting of this game. It’s like if you’re learning football !

    The IA is good in defence when it works for your opponent, but not when it takes care of your defenders… Your defenders can sometimes watch the opponent running to the goal if you aren’t controlling them. In offence, the IA have more difficulties. You wont concede a lot of goals, except when your defenders will watch and let the opponent score… The IA of the referee is also very strange: he can end the match in the middle of a shoot to the goal or when you are just in front of the opponent’s goal, ready to score… and some faults are missed, like obvious obstructions. The “automatic player change” has also some problem when it chooses the best defender…

    Graphics and animation are perfect, really. And now you can save your replays, priceless ! You can see new player’s movements afters tens of games and it often looks like real football. Nothing to say here except “wahou !”. Just one bug: in saved replays, the goalkeeper has the same clothes as the rest of the team, not a specific one… It’s sometimes very strange if there are several defenders near the goalkeeper.

    The “management” mode is very fun and make the game much more interesting. Well done, not to much management, but far far far away from real management games… The main problem of this mode is that it’s sometimes bugged, and it’s the only mode. You’re obliged to manage, even if you only want to play… not in the FIFAXX spirit. And there is no multi-player mode ! And the bugs… they are not a lot, but just one can really bother you. Some are small, some can force you to end a more-than-2-years party, very sad… For example, you can have players “locked” in injuries. Every week, a new injury makes him not available for one or to weeks, and so on… Some management screens are also bugged: when you press “back”, it’s not going back to the previous menu, but to the same screen in the previous stage. If you make 12 players resign a new contract, you will have to press “back” 12 times to leave this screen… And I have a question: why they don’t add a “league top scorer ranking” ??? It’s seems to be so easy to create! You have one for each team, but not for all the league…? Well…

    Sound is ok, and we have some nice surprises, for example, some teams have their own fan song coming from the grandstand !

    So, a must have game if you like football game. So nice to play a real football game in the bus, waiting for the doctor or… in the toilets :)

  • Tim

    Terry is much cheaper than Rooney because he is older in age, making him stay in the team less then retiring.

  • http://e karim

    like

  • http://mokha_momo@hotmail.fr karim

    love you

  • anon_shadow

    can you please update this review with visuals from fifa12 v1.1.3 on iphone4s?? i’ve heard ea hav upped the graphics for the a5 on the 4s.
    thanks!!

  • AJ

    I love the game to bits – the only problem I’ve got is manager mode. I didn’t want to manage one team and tried to delete it. I had to quit the job but then only a limited number of options became available e.g., I had Barca, I quit and it gave me…Burton Albion (no offence BA fans). Is there a way to delete a manager mode file – or to quit the job and get a higher profile team?

  • Roberto961

    I cant find the “controller” at quick match can someone help me?

  • Jacob

    Has anyone been able to download this, i cannot find it on the store
    http://itunes.apple.com/sg/app/fifa-12-online-multiplayer/id525043000?mt=8

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