FIFA 12 Review: This Game is a Game
Platforms: PC (reviewed), Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Mac, Wii, Playstation 2, PSP, 3DS, iPhone, iPad
Developer: EA Canada
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Released: September 27th, 2011
MSRP: $59.99 (PS3, Xbox 360), $49.99 (Wii), $39.99 (PC, 3DS, PSP, PS2)
Modes Within Modes
Conventional wisdom dictates that you can’t be all things to all people. This warning was ignored by the makers of FIFA 12. Packed full of different modes, features, and gimmicks, Electronic Art’s latest installment in its yearly soccer franchise provides a dizzying array of gameplay options, catering to every possible taste.
There was a time when the FIFA experience was relatively straightforward. Players controlled a team of eleven players, and tried to manuever the ball past another team controlled by a human or AI opponent. Today, after booting up FIFA 12, you have to pick which kind of game you want to play.
Online Leagues enable groups of acquaintences to engage in persistent online competition. Live Season challenges fans to follow in the footsteps of their favorite team, reproducing its fixtures in the virtual world while having to contend with real-life injuries and personnel switches. Ultimate Team turns FIFA into a kind of collectible card game, asking players to cobble together a winning side by spending in-game currency and trading with other players.
In FIFA 10, EA introduced the ability to play through a game as a single player, as opposed to an entire team. This opened up a wealth of possibilites (which all return in FIFA 12): Eleven-on-eleven online multiplayer matches; Virtual Pro mode, which allows you to nurture a player’s career by carefully controlling him in games, even to the point of joining an online Pro Club staffed entirely by individually controlled avatars trying to excel.
Career Mode, long a staple of sports games, appears in FIFA 12 in an especially flexible, robust guise. Gamers can start a career as a player, coach, and now player-manager. Having exercised the third option, every game is a dilemma. Do I play through it controlling the entire team, or just my Virtual Pro avatar? Or do I let the computer just simulate it? Vigorously updated with improved AI and a host of other changes intended to evoke the media circus that is modern professional soccer, Career Mode in FIFA 12 is a time vortex of significant strength.
Next: We put a game in your game so you can game while you game!