After what was thought to be the pinnacle of soccer games in FIFA 11 (minus the infamously buggy career mode), no one thought that the sequel could outshine it to a high extent. FIFA 12 proved to everyone that EA Sports would continue to put out stellar versions of the game. After several years of merely upgrading the game functionality and performance, the latest addition to the FIFA series of soccer simulation games was a radical overhaul. Gone were some of the basics, some good and some bad, but the game itself proved to be about the best possible. One of the few mistakes anyone found within the game is something that wasn’t even EA Sports’ faults, but outsiders!
The biggest change to the game is the defensive control system. Now, players defend much better, letting less runs into the box that are wide open and unrealistic. When one watches a soccer game, plays on the breakaway are not as frequent, which is something that FIFA had not been able to truly replicate. Due to this, games all too often had ridiculous scorelines like 8-6 or even 4-4, results that are not that common in the competitive leagues – minus the amazing play of Manchester United and Barcelona this year. Now, the defense can play as a whole, forming a fluid wall of containment, which makes tactics and creativity all the more important. While I have been able to get to nine and ten goals per game, it’s more due to be knowing how to play the game and being a longtime veteran. This adds so much realism to the game that I get very excited just getting to watch games.
It feels like it could be a real game at times, with the teams playing like teams, like their real counterparts. The new player engine has actually added in some interesting characteristics to players, such as Barcelona’s Dani Alves making runs up the pitch more often than other left backs normally would. This has allowed for players to more receptive to button commands, and it actually seems believable now with certain players. Combined a rather large amount of numerical possibilities for different traits and attributes, players and teams are able to fit a gamer’s choice of play styles.
The career mode was overhauled in the transfer period. It is one of the most dramatic and fun periods for soccer fans to see how their teams will change, and the final day is a drama-filled mess. Now, the career mode will slow down and not just pass by days but by minutes and hours as the final days of the transfer period happen. Deals can and will happen, making the game much more entertaining and replay-worthy.
Nevertheless, the number of teams playable did shrink this year, but that isn’t as much a coding problem or lack of effort on EA Sports part. Representatives from the company must negotiate the rights to the teams and leagues for use in the game, and if the costs are too much, EA Sports will not be able to get them into the game. The Turkish league is no longer in the game, leading many to complain that teams in Champions League play are not available, but this has been nothing new. For years, great teams from small countries have not been able to be in the game, such as Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia), Partizan Belgrade (Serbia), and Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine).
EA Sports got around this with a fully functional program online that allows individuals to make their own teams and rosters and import them into the game. This is a paid addition for all of the features, but the basic program allows for many teams to be added in. I am a fan of the Peruvian League, and it allows me to play with Alianza Lima against their arch-rival Universitario, a rivalry match that saw the most recent iteration have an Alianza fan die at the hands of Universitario fanatics. At any rate, this is a great thing to add in, and I have loved it even more because you can use other players’ creations.
In essence, FIFA 12 is a great addition to anyone’s game library. It needs to be played by lots of people, because it also increases soccer’s visibility in the United States. More of my fans now know about basic and advanced soccer tactics, the history of the game, and players around the world. You should pick it up, and if you have a PS3, add me on there: mercergarret. I’ll happily take you on in any game mode.