E3: FIFA Soccer 12

E3: FIFA Soccer 12

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Realism that finally feels realistic.

I used to play a lot of soccer videogames. I mean, a lot. But over the last decade or so, I've actually found myself playing less and less. There was something about the games of the 1990s, notably the popular FIFA series, which got just enough of the fundamentals right, that it didn't matter that some of the finer points of the game were lost. But the problem as time went on was that increasing attempts to add realism to the games actually made them feel less realistic. It was a sort of uncanny valley in terms of the simulation, where the added realistic bits were just off enough to keep me from wanting to play at all.

FIFA 12 might have turned me around. The new precision in dribbling and defending, not to mention the real-time collision animations, actually make this game look more like a real match than any soccer game I've seen in the last decade. The ball control is very natural and the physical movements are completely convincing.

In previous versions of FIFA, your player's turning radius was far too wide, leading to dribbling situations that took you well out of the range of safety. It's like trying to steer a semi around a mini-kart track. Players can now turn the ball on a dime, stopping it right in the face of a defender and repositioning to take off in an entirely new direction. You don't have to be moving to make the system work, but the fluidity makes controlling the ball on offense much more satisfying.

On defense, players will also have more dynamic and realistic options. You can read the play and react to it now, rather than just mashing away for steals and tackles. Tackles are now launched with a greater regard for time and position. Even the computer controlled players will do a better job of finding positions and intercepting passes. In the match we played, you could really play a position and rely on the other players to make smart decisions when the ball came near them.

Player impacts are astonishingly realistic and you won't have any more stuttering animations as players transition from blocking to sprinting to sliding. Player movements can be interrupted at any point with convincing animations. Tackle a player and he will literally trip over your legs. Back into a blocking player and you won't see any embarrassing clipping as his arm comes out of your chest. There's not a single canned animation to be seen in the game's real time physics model, which takes into account the way that the human skeleton is designed to move. The new system will also drive the realistic injuries your players might face.

We had one moment in our game where I and another friendly player went after an attacker a the same time and the resulting pile up looked as believable as the yellow card the ref threw my way.

The final piece of the puzzle is less interesting to me but is sure to please folks who are already militantly objecting to my use of the term "soccer." Called EA Sports Football Club, the new service will allow players to throw their in-game achievements towards the support of one or more clubs around the world. A leaderboard shows which clubs have the most support from the most skilled players, adding another layer to the competitive game.

FIFA 12 will be out this fall.

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See all our coverage directly from the show floor.

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Ah, FIFA. I love and hate it. They are great games, and are by far the best football games. However i dont like paying 40 quid every year for LITERALLY the same game that could be easily achieved with DLC. I didnt get 11 so i might end up getting this one though.

Any idea if the EA Sports Football Club works with the PC version, too? My last football game was 2010 World Cup, and I'm about ready for a new one. FIFA 12 looks great.

My friend and I always go halves on the latest fifa. I don't like paying 40 for a yearly update but often the fifa games come with good offers (in the UK at least, supermarkets being the best places)

10 was alright but not great, 11 was very good. Looking forward to 12 coming out, hopefully it sorts out some of the silly things like tackling someone, getting the ball, but not being able to get up in time before the striker does and gets to it first.

Plus it's nice to make Blackbrun Rovers actually win some matches! \o/

Fifa 11 was great and it seems like they want to make it even better.

after getting 10 and 11 i will probably dont get this but its nice to see they re evolving in the right direction

Just got back into Fifa last year with Fifa 11, and now it is one of the only games I play :D

It looks like Fifa 12 is shaping up to be really good as well, can't wait for this game, and the new football season to get rolling, otherwise I feel as if I am missing something every Saturday, when I am usually watching Sky Sports, or at my local teams football match.

Interesting I might be switching back to FIFA after years of playing PES, which unfortunately seems to have fallen behind in recent years. Although I might just pass up the yearly footy game this year as there are now a lot of games coming out that I want more

Well, we'll have to wait for both FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer demos to see whether they will be more then just a roster update this year.

Darkgoosey666:
Ah, FIFA. I love and hate it. They are great games, and are by far the best football games. However i dont like paying 40 quid every year for LITERALLY the same game that could be easily achieved with DLC. I didnt get 11 so i might end up getting this one though.

Exactly the same thing I'm always struggling with. Right now I'm hapy with Fifa10, I usually get the 'update' at the discount price, but this means fewer people to play with usually.

Darkgoosey666:
Ah, FIFA. I love and hate it. They are great games, and are by far the best football games. However i dont like paying 40 quid every year for LITERALLY the same game that could be easily achieved with DLC. I didnt get 11 so i might end up getting this one though.

Do what I do, get the previous years Fifa, in this case Fifa 11, for a much cheaper price, and get Fifa 12 next year when Fifa 13 is released.

FIFA 09 is the best FIFA I've played thus far, although 10 had some interesting features.

Any word yet on whether the PC version will be a port of Fifa 12 (for consoles) or an older version?

I will buy it, but I just hope that they fix tackling on the multiplayer front cause everybody can tackle like a mad man and there's no repercussion.
Also Arsenal, get some new players. You're breaking my heart.

 

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