FIFA 12 Review: This Game is a Game

Red vs. Red

Old habits do die hard, after all. Unfortunately, this applies to some of the series’ more intransigent bugs. FIFA 12 is still unable to avoid assigning black-clad referees to games involving teams wearing navy blue. This bug is only as insignificant as it is easy to fix, and when a nail-biting comeback is derailed by perfect through ball to the ref, it doesn’t seem insignificant at all. When they’re not being passed to, the AI refs do a decent job acclimating to the sweeping changes made to the defensive and physics systems, but the adaptation isn’t perfect — too many fouls not called and non-fouls called to give their programmers full marks.

Speaking of color clashes, Head-to-Head Seasons mode has no way of ensuring that you and your opponent aren’t wearing exactly the same color jerseys. Nor does it disallow match-ups like Portugal vs. Real Madrid, which will dismay purists and lead to uncanny visuals, like Christiano Ronaldo tackling himself (given Ronaldo’s well-established narcissim, he might actually relish this prospect).

There’s still no discernable way to pre-arrange the formation and line-up your favorite team uses when competing online, an oversight that necessitates half a minute of repetitive menu navigation every time you want to play a match with them. This problem is compounded by a persistent post-release issue, common on both PC and 360, in which players are kicked from online matches for not having the right “online squads” file. Considering that you have to wait through a “Downloading and applying online squads” pop-up every time you enter matchmaking, this bug is especially galling.

Most of the play time that informed this review took place on PC — high resolutions and high-quality textures really showed off the game’s visual acumen. The faces of many star players — now closer to photographic skins than 3D art — are impressive in their verismilitude. That being said, if you want to get a game late at night, you’re better off on Xbox LIVE’s chock-full servers, and you won’t have to deal with persistent framerate lag. The PC version is also virtually impossible to navigate using the mouse; players would have to be crazy to use a keyboard for gameplay, but they’d ahave to be crazy not to use a gamepad when it comes to using the menus.

Extra Time

FIFA 12 deserves praise for its wealth of new features, and for its polished, fun changes to the gameplay. In their rush to develop exciting new modes and game types, however, the talented people at EA clearly forgot to address a handful of more mundane concerns. Nevertheless, those who fear that the game is just an excuse to charge $60 for a roster update can rest assured – FIFA 12 will feels and plays differently than any soccer game before it. It provides the most realistic, enjoyable soccer experience currently available. Now, time to help move up Liverpool up the rankings with some stunning online victories!


  • Wealth of game types means something for every type of soccer gamer.
  • EA Sports FC and Head-to-Head Seasons give meaning to every match.
  • New gameplay features are well-implemented, convincing, and fun to use.
  • Animations, textures, and players look more realistic than ever.


  • Do we really need a FIFA collectible card game? Concentrating on a more limited number of game modes could increase their individual polish.
  • Bugs that have gone unsolved for years remain in the game, new bugs mar first-week enjoyment.
  • Lazy PC porting inexcusable for a company with the resources and experience of Electronic Arts.

    Final Score: 85/100

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10 Comments on FIFA 12 Review: This Game is a Game


On September 30, 2011 at 10:06 pm

nice in depth review, thanks!


On October 4, 2011 at 1:07 am

Nice balanced review, even if I did myself find the new controls (based on the demo I played) stiff and erratic compared with Fifa 11. I still am finding it difficult to justify spending full price “updating” my copy of Fifa 11 which I still enjoy.


On October 5, 2011 at 10:46 am

Yes, it is a great game! What’s not great though, is that EA didn’t resolve the on-line cheaters problem!! FIFA12 is an innovation, graphics are better than 11, the playing is more fun, and movements, special movements, ecc., have improved a lot. but don’t play on-line if you have the intention to play an honest game, FIFA11 was and FIFA12 is ALREADY full of on-line cheaters and this is getting really SAD because EA isn’t doing anything about it and doesn’t respond to complaints about this matter… Am I the only one with this problem??? It’s not funny any more, sometimes my players hardly move while the opponents players run like hell, get every ball, the goalie stops everything, ecc, ecc, ecc. EA DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!! By the way, I don’t read anything about that in your nice review…

PC Gamer

On October 6, 2011 at 3:52 am

I have not picked up a football game since 3-4 years ago as I just got bored with them. It was great to see that the PC version of this game is a thrill to play. It just feels so good and it’s very addictive too.


On October 14, 2011 at 9:52 pm

THG is right 100% I cant believe how many cheaters theres online, i just dont get it, the only time i cheated in a ga,e ever and for jus a couple of times was when i used to play medal of honor, i just cant undersand how these kids spend time just to find ways to play this way and believe me if after 2 weeks of fifa12 there are players capable pf scoring me 10 goals in 45 minutes without me havng a chance to even touch them or the ball tthere is sometyng wrong for sure, i mean they could be better than me , no doubt but im sorry ive been playing since fifa98 and i cwn definetely tell, buttom line, great game, too many cheaters, EA incapable of blockng the


On November 16, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Well, we’re about a month later now. Nothing changed, rather worsened. The higher you get up the ranks the more cheaters. If you check the statistics online of the top players, you’ll see that most of them win their games by 3-0. At a certain point I was starting to think something was wrong with my pc or broadband, made a compete new pc (was planning to anyway) with extreme performance, had my provider check and power up my broadband… and… nothing, same , same cheaters, same “I WANT MY MONEY BACK”. Sure, in a certain way it has become fun to try to beat them, but let’s be honest, it’s not exactly fun to be squeezing the game pad trying to get to the ball or outrun an opponent… In some games, over and over again, even before an empty goal, I keep shooting on the post… LOL Jesus EA, you really aren’t able to get these guys out??? Suspend them from online competition games for a few days, then a few weeks, you’ll see, they’ll stop doing it! and please don’t continue answering my complaints saying there are no cheaters, EA admitted in the end, just not capable of doing something about it ( is resetting them to the lowest of levels enough? Is it fair to the beginners that are in that level??? EA, another proof of multinational that cares about their pockets, not about their customers, they know we’ll buy it anyway, year after year… So since they let people cheat, I guess they will let us make illegal copies…??!?!?!


On November 17, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Really EAQ, this is becoming very annoying, there’s no more fun playing on-line. What’s the use of making the best on-line sports game ever if you can’t take on the cheaters problem????? Money, money, money…


On December 3, 2011 at 5:44 pm

What has really changed nothing really same hacking bullssh#t.oh forgot so easy to win pens same crap different number y not listen to what ppl want everyonme buys it and puts money in ya company so surely we should be heard


On February 25, 2012 at 8:30 am

Cheating is so annoying, that I’m only going to pkay online friendlies from now on with people I actually know!

Come on EA, it ruins the game.


On March 12, 2012 at 9:01 pm

yeah i have to agree about the cheaters. I just had a game where every time my opponent lost the ball, he’d press the pause button before the game has recognized that I have possession. Obviously this interrupts all the rhythm in my play. I’ve made desperate bad tackles in important games and I know how pissed off you can get when you lose but to go out and use tactics like this is the act of a total . These people need to stop playing because they obviously have no love for the game. My policy now is to not play against people who choose to be R madrid and Barca. Not everyone using these teams is a cheat but I find people who use the slightly lesser teams actually have an appreciation and knowledge for the beautiful game.

all the cheating ’s, they obviously don’t have a girlfriend or anything good to do with their time but come and piss off the rest of us. just so they can make it a little further up the ranks.

You real fifa players keep at it and i look forward to playing a FAIR game of Footie with you all!