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FIFA12 Initial Preview

LC June 20, 2011 0

Posted by rusayne

Obviously, the FIFA franchise needs no introduction to even the most avid of football (soccer) fans. Hell, even Lil Wayne and Drizzy Drake are casual FIFA gamers (evident by their E3 promo appearance). And yes, just as they manage to do every year, EA have touted their most recent, and 19th, edition in the series as the best one yet. But, that’s like saying OJ didn’t kill his wife; as much as we’d like to think it’s true, we all know it’s not, he killed her. Yet, for some reason, I’m oddly optimistic about FIFA 12 in the build up to its release. Here, in part, is why:

Line Producer David Rutter has mentioned the word “trinity” more than a baptist priest at Easter when describing this year’s trio of gameplay innovations. Last year, we were given a solitary gameplay revolution: Player Personality +. Ultimately, it failed to live up to the billing. So what better what to respond than bash out three fresh new improvements that will significantly alter the franchise for years to come.

#1: Player Impact Engine
Fancy name for a rather simple concept: when players collide, they don’t seemingly run through each other or fall when absolutely no contact is made (a la Cristiano Ronaldo). Simple, yes. But it’s revolutionary. Starting in FIFA 12, even slight contact and jostling will be met with the full force of realistic physics. Slights clips, jostling and accidental collisions will be not only recognized, but will result in realistic reactions based on the new software that defines Player Impact Engine.

Positives (+): Added realism, More physical play, Crunching tackles and More Injuries.
Negatives (-): Too Frequent? Too many Injuries?

#2: Tactical Defending
This is something I take a liking to. After a dozen games or so, it’s easy to identify the trends of A.I. defending in FIFA 11. You realize you can take shots from certain angles without fault, cut certain ways and make particular runs with the same result, even on Legendary. Now, Tactical Defending not only improves the general A.I. of computer opponents, but feeds into Personality Plus. Here’s how: Take a match between Liverpool and Chelsea, for example. When approaching players like John Terry, each defender has an estimated radius in which they can reach the ball to make a tackle. But being right-footed, you’ll now have a better chance of beating JT to his left. Not only that, but a player with a high aggression like Terry will more often lunge into a tackle, increasing the chance of drawing fouls or slipping past en route to the net.

Positives (+): Added realism, Harder A.I., Requires more logical decisions
Negatives (-): Difficulty Levels may be altered

#3: Precision Dribbling
Precision Dribbling is a slight improvement, but an improvement nonetheless. EA has already refined the system with skill moves and more responsive ball control, balance and dribbling attributes. Now tight turns will seem effortless for players like Leo Messi, Samir Nasri and Luis Suarez. It’ll be easier to not only control the ball in tight situations, but allow your player to hold and shield it while waiting for support. Simply for reference, the primary example EA developers used to model Precision Dribbling is Abou Diaby and his ability to take almost five touches, while only traveling a matter of feet through his tight control (even though he’s upwards of 6’1″).

Positivies (+): Close control, Feeds into Personality Plus
Negatives (-): Increase in whoring Messi/Ronaldo in Online games, Dribbling too dominating?

Along with significant gameplay innovations, EA has announced EA Sports Football Club in line with FIFA 12. Essentially, it feeds into online leaderboards for both XBOX Live and PSN. But instead of your online record, you earn points by accomplishments in the arena, exhibition mode and career mode. Here’s how it goes: You’re asked to pick your favorite team. I choose Liverpool FC. If I start a Career Mode and win the FA Cup, I earn points for Liverpool Fans as a whole. If another fan wins a cup, it adds to the total again. Essentially, it’s objective is to connect supporters, or basically see what team’s fans suck at FIFA. Because 90% of people who play with larger teams have no skill, don’t be suprised to see Chelsea, Barcelona or Real Madrid at the top of the leaderboard all the way until FIFA 13.

Another feature within EA Sports Football Club is a Challenge Mode, updated with real world results. In simplest terms, it’s a challenge to recreate a real life result. Say Manchester United engineer some b.s. comeback with the help of the officials (as usual), don’t be suprised to see a challenge asking you to accomplish the same feat in the game. Again, every time you complete a “challenge”, you earn points for your favorite team.

Positives (+): Another game mode, Chance to brag, Connects to supporters
Negatives (-): None as of yet

Details are still general, with the Alpha version still in production. Until EA starts to release more information on Career Mode, Leagues and other features, there isn’t too much to report on other than the above. So far, here is what’s been done aside from official announcements:

Quick Throw-Ins
Changed Kit Selection
New Shooting Bar
More Realistic Shooting
Elimination of ‘Ping-Pong Passing’

Release Date: September 30th, 2011

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