So here we are, the business end of the FSB FIFA 12 Review, where the team share their final verdict on this years football gaming delights. There’s also the small matter of the final FSB score for FIFA 12 which hopefully you’ll agree with.
Don’t worry, we won’t judge you if you scroll right to the bottom to see the final score first and then come back to the top to read the more detailed final verdicts. After you’re done hit the comments and share your own final verdict of FIFA 12.
With the launch of FIFA 12, EA have managed to push the bar tech-wise with sports video games once again. With a plethora of improvements to graphics, audio, gameplay mechanics and features combined with improvements to both offline (Career Mode) and online game modes FIFA 12 offers a much improved gaming experience when compared to it’s predecessor. However, whilst FIFA 12 manages to impress with it’s bold implementation of new gameplay features, it is hampered by the same fundamental issues that existed in previous iterations and remain unresolved.
For all it’s glory visually and mechanically, this game remains an enigma. The simple fact is that FIFA 12 allows you to play football the beautiful way with skill, precision and finesse. However, the basics of the sport that include pass, move and support are not endorsed by the almost lathargic AI that fails to support build up play and seems static. For this reason above all it has surely been the most difficult football game to ever review due to the gulf in variability within the game’s various aspects.
Take nothing away from the FIFA development team in Vancouver, FIFA 12 is the best FIFA game to date and is a joy to play! However, on a personal level I feel that the potential of this game was immense and I keep wondering “What if”!
FIFA 12 has shown that EA are capable of making bold moves. A lot of FIFA 11 has been ripped up and disposed of, Menus, Online systems, Career mode has seen drastic changes, as has Creation Centre, and that’s before you go into changes on the pitch. I want to see more of this bravery going forward. FIFA 12 is very much a step in the right direction in so many ways, but there is more work to be done. Those largely cosmetic changes don’t alleviate the issues with player movement and AI, which I feel haven’t really moved on from last year. That’s what frustrates me most about FIFA as a franchise, with every step forward, certain aspects get left behind, leaving them to stand out even further than they previously did.
At this point 12 months ago I was already picking holes in FIFA 11 and becoming more and more frustrated by the day, but currently I’m still very much enjoying the game overall, which excites me because there’s still so much left to explore. That said, it’s early days and there will no doubt be problems that arise and exploits that appear, but for the first time since FIFA 09 I feel confident that I could be enjoying the game right up until the next release.
Overall, FIFA 12 is a game which has improved a lot over FIFA 11, and represents the single biggest yearly improvement in recent years. We have a bulked up Career Mode, an entirely new online setup, and in some ways, revolutionised gameplay, but in far too many areas the game is all too recognisable. The Be a Pro side of Career Mode, and Clubs modes are almost unchanged from last year, and there are far too many problems in FIFA’s gameplay which have been there for far too long.
In that way, FIFA 12 is a contradiction. EA has bravely shown that they are completely capable and willing to make big and risky changes to their core engine, while still experiencing sales growth and great critical acclaim. At the same time, they have been unwilling to expand this revolution any further, spending a lot of time implementing the complex Player Impact Engine, barely noticeable but for the glitches, yet leaving the AI in a frankly appalling state. FIFA 12 may be the best FIFA yet, but at the end of it all I’m still mourning how much potential is still unrealised.
One thing EA always seem to nail with new FIFA releases is the feeling that you can never go back, and with FIFA 12 that sentiment is perhaps greater than ever before. If that was the only barometer for success, then FIFA 12 would be without doubt a 10/10 game. For me though, improving your product immeasurably year on year is simply expected and not necessarily cause for celebration.
With fundamental issues surrounding AI, inertia and variety of team styles still prominent for many FIFA gamers there’s only so far the largely successful trinity of new gameplay features could ever carry FIFA 12 on the pitch. Tactical Defending has forced FIFA in the right direction but until the intelligence is there to back-up the impressive tech, it will always fall just short of the mark.
FIFA 12 is an immensely enjoyable experience this year and it’s probably the best FIFA game I’ve ever played. My major disappointment is that I don’t believe FIFA 12 is as good as the potential many of its features possess.
Thanks to new gameplay features and revamped modes, FIFA 12 represents the biggest change in the series since FIFA 09. Tactical defending, precision dribbling, an improved online structure and a bolstered career mode all make the game a much more enjoyable experience than its predecessor. Yet despite all that, FIFA 12 still has some of the same old problems and a few new ones too.
Whilst you’ll get a decent game of football out of FIFA 12 (especially if you play with friends), thanks to the lack of AI, you won’t get a great one. It’s a shame really because the potential for a truly amazing representation of the beautiful game is there, hiding somewhere deep inside. EA promised a revolution, instead what we have is more of a slight evolution. Still, even with that in mind, FIFA 12 is quite possibly the best addition the series yet. If you loved FIFA 11, chances are you’ll love this too.
And the Official FIFA Soccer Blog Review score for FIFA 12 is:
* The final score is not an average of each element reviewed, additional weighting was given to more prominent game modes.