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FIFA 12 - Learn it, Live it, Love it

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19.10.2011

Advantages:
More realistic than ever before, online leagues

Disadvantages:
Tactical Defending will be hated by some

Recommendable Yes:

Detailed rating:

Gameplay/Playability

Graphics

Sound

Value for Money

Difficulty & ComplexityA difficult game - needs a lot of patience

LongevityAlmost limitless longevity: ongoing

MultiplayerExcellent multiplayer functions

73 Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful See ratings
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very helpful by (63%):
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Introduction

Autumn time is synonymous with many things, leaves turning brown, darkness before tea time, Halloween and EA’s annual release of the latest version of its much acclaimed FIFA series. Much criticism is often voiced about such releases with the argument being that in fact you are paying for the same game each year with a few minor enhancements. Anyone who is fortunate enough to pick up a copy of FIFA 12 after playing older versions will tell you that this is simply not the case this time round as EASports have reworked their masterpiece from the ground up to create an even more realistic video game of England’s national sport.

Where do we begin?

From the moment you load FIFA 12 for the first time, the differences from previous versions will become apparent. Initially you will need to select the team that you support. This can be any team that is featured in the game and everything you do in FIFA 12 will help your chosen club accrue league points as the game attempts to crown the most loyal FIFA fans. In order to help your team, you need to build up your XP. You gain the most XP by playing and winning games but you can also gain XP by completing challenges, increasing the skill of your own in-game professional and even by loading the game.

Obviously the bigger clubs are going to have more fans than smaller clubs so in order to make the fans league a level playing field, EASports take a daily average of each player’s XP in order to rank clubs. For example, if Burton Albion had 10 fans who had gained 15,000 XP, they would be ranked higher than Manchester United who have 100 fans with 120,000 XP. Fortunately the game takes care of all the working outs so you can sit back and study the league tables with interest. The league tables have actually made guide interesting reading with teams such as Arsenal, Man Utd, Chelsea and Spurs all languishing in the bottom leagues whie the less fashionable teams occupy the top places in the top leagues. Although this is only meant as a bit of fun, it does add a tremendous amount to the game as you strive to get those extra XP points that may make all the difference at the end of the season. To ensure a fair playing field, each player can only earn a maximum of 2,000 XP per day. This represents over an hour per day of gaming and in my opinion is a fair limit.

Once you have selected your favourite team, it’s off to the menus to have some fun. Even the menu system in FIFA 12 has had a dramatic revamp. No longer are the menu options presented in a bland vertical list. Instead, you have a scrolling horizontal bar at the bottom of the screen with each menu item expanding to give even more choice. Although the menu headers are similar to previous versions, the content behind them is new and in some cases, revolutionary.
Pictures of FIFA 12 Ultimate Edition (Xbox 360)
FIFA 12 Ultimate Edition (Xbox 360) fifa12-1 - FIFA 12 Ultimate Edition (Xbox 360)
FIFA 12 Ultimate Edition (Xbox 360)
More of that later.

Matchtime

As with any football game, the only real factor that will decide whether it is a hit or miss will be the match engine and the entire matchday experience. Seasoned FIFA players have known for many years that all they need to do to perform a successful tackle is to hold down the ‘A’ button and let the console do the rest. This has led EASports to perform a major revamp of the entire defending model. ‘Tactical Defending’ , to give it it’s real name now relies on you ensuring your defenders are correctly positioned to negate an opposition attack rather than going flying into a tackle at the earliest possible opportunity. While this new approach is far more realistic, it is really difficult to master, so much so that seasoned FIFA players have tweeted and posted on messageboards that it will be the death of FIFA. These sentiments are a little extreme and whilst I have gone through the same pain and frustrations, taking a step back and relearning the basics of FIFA will have you winning games again in no time. The idea behind tactical defending is that you hold your position until either the opposition makes a mistake and gives you the ball back or you see an opportunity to make a tackle which isn’t going to leave you exposed if you miss it. Time will tell whether this new feature has been a success but now I have learnt how to do it, I think it’s a super enhancement.

Whilst the attacking side of the game has been pretty much left untouched, EASports have now made manual crossing part of the default setup. This means that in order to cross the ball, you need to point the analogue stick in the direction you want the ball to go. This can prove to be quite tricky as if you are slightly out with your controller, you will either put the ball behind for a goal kick or send it screaming back to the half way line. This can be infuriating as chances can be at a premium during a game so you want to ensure that you maximise the effect of any that you may get.

For the first time in a FIFA game, FIFA 12 includes two sets of commentators. Following Andy Gray’s sacking from Sky Sports, Alan Smith now partners Martin Tyler for the main matchday commentary. This commentary is now a lot slicker than ever before and although Alan Smith doesn’t have the same charisma as Andy Gray, his commentary does work well and complement the game. The second commentary team are Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend from ITV Sport. Their commentary is primarily used for cup matches and whilst it also works well with the game, I don’t find it as polished as the Tyler/Smith combination.

Game Modes


Ultimate Team

FIFA Ultimate Team has been around for several versions of FIFA now but this version has been marketed more than any other by EA. The game can even be bought in one of three versions. The standard version , Special Edition which entitles you to three gold packs of ultimate team cards per month for 6 months or the Ultimate Edition which gives you more rare items in your pack.

The idea of Ultimate Team is to build up winning squads from players all around the world from the packs of cards you buy. These players are categorised as either bronze, silver or gold players depending on their ability. Whilst the temptation is always there to discard the bronze players and to have a squad full of gold standard players, certain tournaments require you to only use lesser able players so it is always work having a good bank of bronze and silver players for when these tournaments become available.

As well as playing Ultimate Team in offline mode you can also take your created team online to play against other players Ultimate Teams. Before even thinking about going online it is worth ensuring you have the best possible squad as all of the people I have played against have had far superior players to what I currently have and has resulted in some fairly severe beatings.
Be a Pro

Be a Pro has been around for a couple of years now and has not really progressed since FIFA 11. The idea of this mode is to take a young professional (usually modelled on yourself) and by playing well, progressing through the ranks from a junior pro, right up to being an international. In theory this sounds like a good mode to play but it can take a long time to progress as each season contains the correct number of games which can get tedious, especially as because you only control one character, the game can pass you by at some points.

Playing as your pro online however is a different ball game. When playing with 21 other players online, Be a Pro is so much fun as everyone is controlling their own created player. Whilst occasionally you do get someone who wants all the glory themselves and never passes, usually everyone will want to help each other out to ensure a win against the opposition.

If you have enough friends on Xbox Live, you can even set up your own club to take on other teams of friends. If you don’t have enough online friends to do this you can either offer to join someone elses team or play well enough in online pro games to get noticed and invited to join a squad.

Online Friendlies

The major gripe I have always had about FIFA is that there is no way of tracking how you do when playing against your friends. These games have always historically been friendlies matches which have not counted towards your online rank. This has all changed in FIFA 12, and in a good way.

Whenever you play your friends now, the games take the form of a league which lasts for 10 matches. Each time you play a game , the results counts towards the league. This adds a lot more competition to these friendlies as occasionally, I have used them just to mess around and try out tricks. Whilst you can still do this, not playing seriously could have a negative impact on your stats and as these are visible to all of your friends, you want them to be as clean as possible. If a player takes an unassailable lead in the league before the 10th match, the league will automatically end and the league champion will be crowned. At this point you can start a new season without the need to play any meaningless games.

Head to Head Seasons

In much the same way as the online friendlies have been revamped, ranked online games against random people have also been revamped. In Head to Head Seasons, every player will start in league 10 where the aim is to get promoted into league 9 and above. This is achieved by getting the specified amount of points over a 10 match season. Failure to do this will result in you staying in the same league for another season unless you fail to reach the amount of points needed to avoid relegation. In this case, you will drop back down a league. This mode now has a lot more going for it than in previous versions as you should now be able to judge more accurately how good a FIFA player you are and calculate what percentile you fit into as far as ability goes. Every 2 weeks you have to option to play in cup competitions which are always limited to teams of equal or similar abilities to your own so you should never come across an exceptional player if you are only a novice yourself. Climbing the leagues is going to take some practice however, even players in league 10 have some ability.
Challenges

Challenges are a new feature in FIFA 12. These enable you to try and copy history or in some cases, change it. Challenges usually take the form of something that has happened in the footballing world in the previous week and it is your job to match or better it. For example, the game may start midway through the second half with you losing 3-0 but with a penalty. The challenge may be to get a draw in this game or maybe even go on to win it. You are able to attempt a challenge as many times as you wish before it expires and is replaced by a new one. For each challenge you pass you will be awarded XP. In my experience, this seems to be around the 600 to 700 XP mark.

They think it’s all over…. It is now

To sum up, FIFA 12 is a totally different game to FIFA 11 and anyone who thinks they can just pick up FIFA 12 and carry on from where 11 left off is in for a real shock. FIFA 12 is a totally new game which needs learning from the beginning. If you can get over the fact that you are going to lose more than you win to start with then FIFA 12 is a very rewarding game with some excellent game modes to keep you coming back for more. As with all FIFA games, it has to be experienced online as the online play is second to none and with the new league format, Xbox Live Gold members are in for a real treat. I cannot recommend FIFA 12 highly enough to anyone who has a soft spot for console football games. FIFA is still the king, well at least for another year anyway.
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Comments about this review »

wazza115 24.02.2014 23:06

E!

kirstysian 21.02.2014 14:05

Great review x

Gingerkitty 10.02.2013 11:16

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Product Information »

Product details

Genre Sports
Sub Genre Football
Age 3+
Publisher EA Sports
Release Date 2011
Max Number of Players Offline 4
Max Number of Players Online 22

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This review of FIFA 12 Ultimate Edition (Xbox 360) has been rated:

"exceptional" by (37%):

  1. wazza115
  2. kirstysian
  3. Gingerkitty

and 24 other members

"very helpful" by (63%):

  1. Dentolux
  2. prettypolly40
  3. Lalibela

and 43 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

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