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.
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