by Liam Edwards
reviewed on X360
We love you football we do, oh we love you football we do (cntd)
Even classic modes such as career mode have had a boost in depth and detail. As with previous years, you still take on the role of either manager player or player-manager, but with more depth. The manager role especially allows for more control over the club and squad, with you being able to designate kit numbers, transfer budgets, create a youth squad and even talk to the press. EA seem to have been playing a lot of Sports Interactive’s Football Manager series, as the career mode borrows heavily from ideas and systems found in the manager sim. Although it feels stolen, it isn’t a bad thing and the depth of control allows for more a satisfying feeling when achieving victory, it feels more deserved as you personally did all the hard work. Game modes such as the be a pro and be a goalkeeper also return, but without as much a redesign as the other modes.
Ultimate team also returns, and the challenging card based mode is a near clone of last year's mode, but this also isn’t a bad thing. The stellar mode offers tournaments and matches online and offline, and is just another exceptional gameplay mode, that offers even more wasted hours. But even with all these offline modes and hours of gameplay, there is one thing FIFA 12 certainly seems to scream at players is and that is, 'Play me online!'.
Play me online!
FIFA 12 admittedly isn’t as good a title offline as it is with online enabled. The social stream, real time leader boards, head-to-head seasons and football club system are what truly make it a great title and a game that features some of the best online modes available.
FIFA is a truly competitively based series, it is based on one of the most competitive sports in the world. EA know this, and with FIFA 12’s online modes, it excels at offering addictive, competitive online gameplay. Within the club you can keep track of your friends and offer them matches, the club doesn’t necessarily act as a gameplay mode though, but more of a hub for everything you do within the other modes and a collective document for what your friends are doing. But it also offers regular challenges that you can complete for heavy amounts of XP, each are based on real-scenarios of real matches that have happened in previous seasons. Completing the challenges are essential to gaining as much XP as you can, as it can be hard to gain a lot of XP from just playing normal matches, which can leave you in the wake of friends storming ahead.
The main online mode that FIFA 12 offers is the new head-to-head seasons. The season matches replace the ranked matches in past titles. In previous FIFA titles, the online ranked matches never showed for anything and there wasn’t really anything competitive behind them. But with this year, each match is essential. There are 10 leagues, and you must progress as far as you can by beating others online. You start in the 10th league, and for each season you have 10 matches to gain as many points as you can. You have a set number of points needed to get promotion into the next league and there is also a minimum you must reach in order to stay up and not get relegated into the league below. If after all the matches are up and you are above the relegation zone but haven’t passed the promotion barrier, then you stay in that league for the next season. You also build up your rating by winning matches, and the better you get the tougher opponents you face, which can make progressing into the next league a lot harder. Seasons can change in an instance, one win or loss can mean everything, and it's this addictive, nerve-racking quality that keeps you enthralled as you battle to get a well deserved place in the next league.
With the addition of head-to-head seasons and the XP club system, FIFA 12 has one of the very best online multiplayer components available. EA has taken time to review their previous attempts and listened to the voicing complaints of fans’ annoyances with the online modes. They have crafted an addictive experience, that rewards you for consistency and the time you spend.
The Beautiful Game
Football is football. It has rarely changed in its 150 year existence. The simplistic nature of the sport is what captures the interest of people worldwide, it's a game anyone can play. The same principle exists for the FIFA series- the gameplay really hasn’t changed since its beginning. Controls, passing systems, shooting, free-kicks and the smoothness of the title have all had changes and additions to make them more realistic, but the essence of FIFA hasn’t changed, its football, and you can’t change football. There are, however, ways you can make the experience of playing football matches more like the real “beautiful” game. FIFA 12 attempts to drastically overhaul the way you play football sims and adds new gameplay systems that are different to previous editions.
Revamped gameplay, full of content, brilliant online modes, almost sports game perfection.
Some problems with the impact engine, small glitches, same graphics.