Still in top shape - FIFA 12 review
The word "revolution" is often scary, especially when boldly used by game developers. When it comes to combining, designers often lose themselves in applying new changes that are not good for their latest works, but also for the entire series. Whether it will be possible to regain customer confidence once again is not so obvious. However, with the computer football saga by EA Sports, we have a completely different situation - only a cataclysm could prevent the next installment of FIFs from disappearing from store shelves in amounts reaching millions. So, does it make any sense to change something that has worked perfectly so far? Absolutely - the "twelve" turns out to be a perfect confirmation of this.
The new FIFA is the first installment of the series in many years, bringing such significant novelties, the vast majority of which have a noticeable impact on the gameplay. Most of them can be seen in the actions of our defense bloc - all thanks to the Tactical Defending module, which completely changes the face of pressing and cooperation of the entire defensive formation. In previous games, effective pickup of the ball was possible thanks to the repeated pressing of a button, thanks to which the player quickly jumped to the opponent's legs and did not give up until the ball was intercepted or the opponent was brought to the ground. Now our defensive actions depend on our tactical sense and the ability to properly position players behind - we can play in many different ways to stop the opposing team's attacks. One-on-one duels test the players' abilities in terms of speed and physical fitness - many of them end in a shoulder-to-shoulder fight. It depends on the class of the player whether we push our opponent beyond the end line or overtake him and calmly take over the spotted one, or we will be forced to desperately pull the jersey and bring the opponent escaping us to the ground floor. It is much more profitable to use the help of the other player - in many cases the advantage in numbers guarantees success and enables a quick counter.
An attack in the middle of the rivals' team is currently definitely a less effective form of surprising them - virtual opponents can quickly exchange several consistent passes and efficiently move to the vicinity of our penalty area. On the other hand, crossing the play and passing the player to whom the ball was addressed opens up an easy path to the goal in many cases, which often results in a face-to-face duel with the goalkeeper. Admittedly, getting used to the new defense system takes a lot of time and practice, but stopping offensive actions is now much more fun. The creators also thought about people who will not like the new solutions - at any time we can restore the well-known defensive model from the previous edition.
Thanks to the improved player control module, offensive actions, especially spectacular raids on the wings of the pitch, have also gained color. The authors made it much easier to move around the pitch with the help of opponents waiting for our mistake, and avoiding defenders no longer requires mastering the whole range of feints and tricks and - most importantly - often opens the side sectors of the pitch, from where we can perfectly play the ball within the "sixteen". Finally, we don't have to wait forever for the throw-in - if the ball is close to the sideline, the player quickly reaches for it and resumes the game. In resolving stalemate situations, the institution of the referee's throw helps significantly - the referee, in the face of an injury to a player lying on the pitch, interrupts the game and quickly, though not faultlessly, resolves the dispute.
This year's FIFA forces players to be gentle with their players, and all thanks to the new physics engine - players who prefer fierce combat can turn the club building into a hospital after a few matches. Clashes between players now look more realistic, and the effects of sharp entrances are made visible by eye-catching animations. The interpenetration of the silhouettes of the players fighting shoulder to shoulder happens very rarely, although the creators did not manage to completely exclude graphic distortions. They are eye-catching especially during the celebration of the goals scored, when the footballers bounce off each other artificially, cross the flags, and after a while the football player squeezes himself into the bodies of his companions. However, the behavior of players whose shots were blocked or the ball removed from the leg just before making a stroke looks great - the effective flips and helpless spreading of hands after an unsuccessful action are quite impressive. The number of injuries caught without any contact with opponents has also increased dramatically. At any time, we can expect a footballer who is making a quick wing raid to suddenly grab his thigh and signal an injury or bad leg by twisting the ankle. In the worst case, we will wait even a half a year for the return of such a player, which in the absence of the most important players may turn out to be crucial for our team's position in the final classification.
FIFA 12 does not avoid social aspects, which results in the highly promoted EA Sports Football Club module. It is a platform that allows you to compete with your friends and watch their progress in the game, as well as support the club of our choice in statistics that allow you to determine the number of fans and their commitment. We earn points for practically everything - matches won online or in career mode, successful transfers or cup victories, as well as for completing special challenges that appear from time to time. This tool, developed in the style of Autolog , known to fans of the Need for Speed series (though slightly more complex), introduces a touch of competition to online battles. Football Club also means integration with Facebook, so nothing stands in the way of showing your friends about the latest successes and progress made. The changed career mode also brings a lot of new things - the option of pre-match conferences has been added, the last day of the transfer window has been divided into hours, and we catch young talents thanks to in-depth study of practically the whole world by experienced scouts.
Graphically, FIFA is still a very high level, although it's hard to notice any significant progress compared to the previous edition. What is missing is a slightly more effective setting for the match and a nicely realized introduction to the match - now we are treated to a portion of statistics, starting line-ups and we are quickly returning to the pitch, because the whistle is already burning the referee in the tongue. Footballers react vividly to events on the pitch - they wave their hands, gesture and beg the referee for mercy, seeing that he is reaching for a colorful cardboard.
While the duo of Polish commentators made quite an impression two or three years ago, and their chats made us smile, now the same questions heated up leave a lot of disgust. Heard for the thousandth time a joke about poste restante makes me want to send both gentlemen to Timbuktu registered with the sticker "Be careful!" - really, it would be nice to surprise the players with something new, because sometimes you can hear completely clichéd jokes from the speakers. I also have a lot of reservations about the technical layer of sound - comments appear at absurd moments and completely do not refer to the pitch events, cars are confused with free throws, and Szpakowski has a tendency to distort the result.
As if that was not enough, clubs of the Polish league also added their pennies, which did not agree to use the names and coats of arms of the teams, and therefore we are honored to run such national backyard as W. Kraków, G. Bełchatów or L. Poznań. It looks strange, the more so that we already find players with real names in the squads, because the license to use their images is regulated by an agreement with an international association. It's hard to comment on it at all.
However, despite small problems with the Polish version, it must be said straightforward - FIFA 12 is a better game than its predecessor. The changed module of defense and player control works great and allows you to feel more into field battles, and the new physics engine, although not without flaws, looks impressive. The production of EA Sports is worth every zloty spent on it, appearing as a great investment for many months of intense gameplay, giving you incredible joy from scoring new goals and allowing you to experience great football emotions. This is another step towards the ideal.
Amadeusz "ElMundo" Cyganek