Whatever EA Sports does with its FIFA games, they're going to sell. Unfortunately, that means EA can get away with a laundry list of glitches, knowing full well the games will sell.
FIFA 12 is no different.
Sure the producers are touting the game’s “new” defensive system, player-impact engine, animations and improved player movement – but FIFA 12 continues to suffer from the same old exploits.
Pingpong passing – still there. Easy header goals from unrealistic centering – still there. Entire pitch length through balls – still there. Poor defensive lines allowing for easy rebound goals – yep, there.
I watched some of the finalists for the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2011 tournament play the FIFA 12 demo. ALL of them used these exploits.
So what are the new features?
EA Sports replaced FIFA’s old defensive press, where the defensive player follows the opposing player in a parallel form, and added a more intensive press similar to what you’ll see in NBA Elite. Unfortunately this won’t matter much in real game play, as most players (offensive and defensive) are running in turbo mode the entire time and the new press only works well if the opposing player has slowed down or completely stopped.
But EA will have you believe that the biggie for this year is the “player impact engine.” It’s a real-time physics system that calculates each player’s force, momentum and skill to create realistic collisions. This eliminates those awful collision animation sequences in which players’ body parts would go through one another.
"It creates these really fluid moments," said FIFA 12 lead producer David Rutter. "In FIFA 11 you had these momentum-breaking glitches, where a player gets stuck in a little animation cycle against another player. It drags you out of the moment. The impact engine isn't just a physics engine, it's a continuation engine, it adds a smooth believability. The strength and weight of the players leads to different outcomes – there are limitless collision animations in the game. Every nuance is captured."
It was hard to tell from the demo how well this will work, but I foresee the Wayne Rooneys and Cristiano Ronaldos of the world plowing through defenders, especially those playing in second- and third-tier teams.
The one thing I was excited about was the tweaked precision movement. Players will now be able to rotate in tight 360-degree turns and be able to squeeze through two defenders. This is great for those who can actually play with a stopped ball.
FIFA 12 takes a small step in evolving the soccer game. You’ll still see online gamers pick the same six teams and still use those players to either pingpong pass or run in a straight line with the turbo button pressed. But it’s an EA FIFA game, so it’s going to take will power to plunk down the $60 on the fall launch date.