FIFA 12 Hands-On Preview

The biggest Sports game around is back and we experience everything that it has to offer

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The FIFA series has had a very good run lately. In recent years, each release has improved upon the former, and just when some felt nothing more could be done, the team at EA Canada has found ways of doing so. FIFA 12 aims to improve upon the defensive side of the game and increase the overall realism that has been so well implemented over the last few years. We had the opportunity to sit down and play around with the near-final build of the game and see these adjustments firsthand.

For starters, the focus on the defensive side of the sport is clearly evident. Upon starting up the game and going through the obligatory "How well do you play footie?" introduction, you are tossed into a tutorial that lays out the new defensive system. Returning this year is a dedicated "standing tackle" button. In recent FIFA games, the standing tackle was replaced with "press," where players applied pressure on their opposition but didn't actually perform a shove to win the ball. While the pressure option is still there, it has been remapped and renamed "contain," alongside the second defender press button, which let you call upon a teammate to aid you when trying to cut off an attacking player's possible passing/dribbling options.

Because of the changes with the defensive layout of the controller, longtime fans may be a little clumsy with the controller at first. But like most things, after a little practice, it should feel like second nature. Of course, if you prefer to remap the controller to be more in tune with last year's game, that option is there as well. Other additions and modifications have been made on the defensive side of things: there's better containment, players will actively try to block incoming shots, and trailing defenders can and will try to grab attacking players in the hopes of slowing them down.

Alongside the changes to the defensive approach to the sport, player animations have seen a drastic change, and the defensive side of the game really shows off these new animations. In particular, if you happen to miss a standing tackle--especially when attempting one at fast speed--your player will more often than not completely lose balance and either fall to the ground or stagger before finding his footing and continuing to run. While the animations are much more realistic, this build did show some of the shortcomings of the AI, specifically on the defensive side of the ball.

Collisions are bound to happen, but these situations occurred more than a few times while playing. These ranged from having two computer-controlled players running into each other--which then allowed a striker to walk into the penalty area and fire an easy goal--to defenders falling on their own accord when trying to clear a ball out of their own penalty area. Little AI lapses of judgment like these happened regardless of the difficulty setting or the clubs that we played with.

Other aspects of the game have seen noticeable improvements. The FIFA series has always been among the best to deliver a relatively authentic sporting experience, and that tradition continues. The improvements to expect range from subtle additions to the pregame introductions, players will visibly show their pain if sustaining an injury and perform quicker throw-ins. In the case of throw-ins, if the out-of-bounds ball is within a reasonable distance, players will attempt to rush and grab the ball to restart the action immediately.

Also, for our European readers, I strongly suggest playing a game using Vancouver's BC Place Stadium, which is one of the few authentic Western Hemisphere stadiums included in a FIFA game. If you haven't seen or heard about the complaints from fans on this side of the Atlantic about the use of American football (or in this case, Canadian football) stadiums for footie, playing in this stadium will show you why. The guys at EA Canada did an incredible job of very lightly leaving the yard lines from the stadium turf, which is how the field should look once it opens in October.

Expect much more fluid player animations

Of course, there are many additional things being done by EA Canada in the hopes of yet again delivering fans a sports experience unlike anything other. The defensive side of the game will certainly be fine-tuned prior to launch, but its improvements, coupled with the more realistic animation system, are something that longtime fans have been asking for. While we've touched on a few things, fans can expect to see much more once FIFA 12 hits stores at the end of September.

Discussion

27 comments
fat3l3ss
fat3l3ss

Fifa 12 passing is ridicuolous in pc , i hate it . passes wander off usually , its a failure

nozihat
nozihat

... no mouse again...

nozihat
nozihat

do you know if there is a manager mode? and, if so, which clubs play in the champions league and in the europa league?

stylechyld
stylechyld

EA needs to focus on revamping it's manager mode and be a pro mode like pes 2012 did..EA modes are freaking boring..just texts with no storyline just dumb old texts...who in the blue hell is going to enjoy that!!!..have practice mini games, apply kinect feature to manager mode..have a drawing board and with kinect you can pick and choose what kind of plays your team should make..instead of just playing the games. be on the sidelines and direct your team via new vision mode where you can visually zoom in and out to the field and direct your team to victory..your movements will call for plays, substitutions..lousy calls, etc. For god sake EA be creative...instead every year changing the contents of the box in different ways..with same result..

stylechyld
stylechyld

I played the demo and i noticed a complete improvement on shooting and lob passing, now it's much harder to score with headers..the new tactical defending sucks because more often than not you give way open spaces for attackers. the new collision system is full of problems it's a... glitch galore...mark my words when people go online with this it's going to be a mess no doubt!..the game is great it's just those two things I mentioned it's not for the better..it's for the worse..

EVERSMAN42
EVERSMAN42

@cjf187x i didnt get 11 and had 10 (in my opinion the best so far), i was really looking forward to 12 but after playing the demo i am definatly not getting it. i hated the new defensive system and found the dribbiling stupid. if the last one you played is 10 then this will definatly be a bad shock..... wish i haddent lost 10 now :(

tisoyboy2
tisoyboy2

In controller settings you can switch from Tactical defense to Legacy defense which is supposed to be previous Fifa controls. I like the contain but in Fifa 11 your team mate is more aggressive when you call for second defender. I like it better in 11. Overall the demo makes the game seem more challenging this year. Not fond of the assist settings. It always under powers the pass through or sometimes goes to a different team mate. Much better putting on manual. The slide tackle was a little too easy last year but very difficult to master in this demo. I think they missed the mark on balancing its effectiveness from Fifa 11 to 12. Is the Tactical defense feature the main upgrade this year? If you op to disable it in the controller settings by choosing Legacy defense as a preference, wouldn't it be better to stick with Fifa 11? I had intended on getting it but may just wait til the first week sales are up and all the post reviews come clean about the true differences and upgraded features.

coss09
coss09

@mori70 i see what u mean, but its Casillas grabing the ball not an outfield player.

bormerc
bormerc

P.S: Sliding tackle has no use in demo!

bormerc
bormerc

Demo was fair. New tactical defence system has many imperfections and allows you to give many positions. Some passing problems can be added too. If they change the defence system to like FIFA 11, FIFA 12 can be a perfect game. Shortly: NEW TACTICAL DEFENCE SYSTEM SUCKS!

hjwhitfi
hjwhitfi

Just let me play online on the SAME TEAM as an X Box Live friend, not just against. Come on EA.

cjf187x
cjf187x

I will surely be picking this up as I skipped 11 and played 10. Looking forward to some football on the 27th!

Crystall3d
Crystall3d

Contain was not proper, i was not able to move him around the effective contain area so the defender just stand in the middle of the effective green area which is a SHAME!

surajdarkknight
surajdarkknight

this time it should show fights between real madrid and barcelona.....players fighting when there is a bad foul.......

israeltiezo
israeltiezo

XBOX 360 pictures, similar will look on Ps3,

mori70
mori70

00:26 don't you see something's wrong?!!

dani3806
dani3806

ps3 or xbox360???????????????????????????

Adema83
Adema83

@digitaluu You will be happy to know it is exactly the same, has all the features of the console versions but has better graphics. It's in an interview some where with David Rutter where he confirms it (i'm sure it's on of the Games Con interviews).

brain20035
brain20035

Jesus!! I'm sure that collision bug thing (diffenders running into each other and falling down) will make it into the final game!! God save us all!!!

LeaderOfLies
LeaderOfLies

all those players falling over sounds like me trying to defend in fifa 10

Yathoom
Yathoom

Best football game out there seemingly got even better.

gta_gamer10
gta_gamer10

can't wait for this game, should be amazing!

digitaluu
digitaluu

i just preorderd the pc version. it better be identical to the console verison as they said!

Neosword
Neosword

Been a rabid fan of the great FIFA games of the last few years. Hoping this will continue the trend.

KrazzyDJ
KrazzyDJ

I was never into FIFA really but am just trying to get into it starting with FIFA 11 for the PC. And the PCs control scheme and presentation are really horrible. Just hope FIFA 12 for the PC improves upon them !!!