FIFA Soccer Review

While it lacks some of the series' latest features, FIFA Football is still a great version of the beautiful game.

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There's a reason FIFA Football (that's FIFA Soccer to those in the US) on the Vita lacks the "12" tag of its console counterparts. Many of the franchise's compelling new features, such as the Tactical Defending System, Precision Dribbling, and the Player Impact Engine are missing, as is the excellent EA Sports Football Club online mode. While that's disappointing, the classic FIFA gameplay is still a lot of fun, bringing all the thrills, spills, and drama of the world's biggest sport to the Vita. There's fluidity to the gameplay that produces some wonderful football, and that paired with the official licences, great visuals, and slew of modes makes for an experience few sports games can match.

Impressively, all of FIFA 12's single-player modes have made the jump to the Vita. At the heart of these is Virtual Pro, in which you create a player, selecting his age, play style, and position (goalkeeper is an option here). You can also customise the physical appearance of your player, but unlike in the console version of the game, you can't map your own face onto him--a strange omission given that the Vita has built-in cameras. Once you've got your player set up, you can use him throughout Career mode--and even the practice arena--building up his statistics and earning accomplishments.

Career mode lets you compete either as a single player working through a 15-year career; as a player manager, with whom you manage your team's lineup and compete on the pitch; or as a manager, with whom you take a backseat to the on-pitch action and instead focus on tactics and building up your squad. There's something for everyone, and if you tire of one mode, you can easily switch between them to mix things up. There's also an array of tournaments to play through, from the FA Cup through to custom leagues and knockout tournaments, as well as quick exhibition matches.

While the single-player modes are lifted from FIFA 12, the action on the pitch certainly isn't. Improvements such as the Tactical Defending System, Precision Dribbling, and the Player Impact Engine are nowhere to be found. The lack of tactical defending is particularly jarring, with the old "pressing" technique feeling dated and requiring little in the way of skill. That said, the Vita still plays a mean game of football, mostly based on that of FIFA 11. Player movement is quick, without feeling unrealistic; the constant tussling of players makes long runs fabulously tense; and goals range from the mundane to the spectacular, with all manner of crosses, runs, and outrageous volleys possible.

Tight controls add to the natural feel of the game, letting you concentrate on winning matches, rather than worrying about which button to press. The lack of triggers on the Vita means some commands have had to be remapped, but thankfully, it has been sensibly done. The same can't be said of the touch controls, which replicate the functions of the traditional controls, and are often more of a hindrance than a help. If you're on the ball, you can tap on a player to pass to him, with longer taps adding more power to the pass; when you're off the ball, tapping on a player switches control to him. It's a simple system, but having to take your hands off the analogue stick or face buttons to do these things feels awkward.

The touch controls fare better when used during set pieces such as corners. Instead of using the analogue stick to control the direction of the kick, you can swipe in the direction you want the kick to go, adding curve with a simple flick of the wrist. There's more touch-tomfoolery on offer with the rear touch pad, which is used to shoot. The rear surface represents the goal, with your finger position determining the direction of your shot. It works well for penalties and free kicks, in which the direct line of sight makes it easier to visualise where your shot is going. For regular shots, a small picture of the goal appears at the bottom of the screen, with coloured dots showing you the position and strength of your shot. Depending on how you hold the Vita, it can be far too easy to unintentionally shoot just by adjusting your grip. If you're finding the controls troublesome, you can at least switch off the rear touch pad and touch screen and stick to the traditional controls.

Like the action on the pitch, FIFA Football's online modes don't quite match up to those of its console cousins. There's a range of ranked and unranked matches available, with global leaderboards letting you keep track of your progress. You can also take part in custom leagues set up by you or your friends, but none of the modes come close to the depth of Online Seasons or EA Sports Football Club from FIFA 12. Matches are at least smooth and lag-free, and competing against a real player throws up exciting challenges you simply don't face against the AI--though the AI is still good on its own terms.

Despite some omissions in FIFA Football, it's as close to the full-blown console versions as a portable FIFA game has ever got, playing a precise, challenging, and--most importantly--exciting game of football. The great gameplay is backed up by a slick presentation with easy-to-navigate menus, well-delivered commentary, and crisp, detailed visuals. Deep single-player modes and smooth online play ensure you have plenty to keep you occupied as well. Don't be too disappointed you're not getting FIFA 12--you're still in for a really great time.

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The Good
Precise, exciting gameplay captures the feel of the sport
Deep single-player career mode
Excellent presentation with crisp visuals and smooth animation
The Bad
Lacks many of the gameplay improvements in FIFA 12
Touch controls get in the way of the action
8
Great
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24 comments
mr110482
mr110482

I played the demo for this, and I thought it was quite good. I don't have a vita yet, but I'll defintely be sure to pick this up once I've obtained one.

tisoyboy2
tisoyboy2

More fun with this then Fifa 12 on my Xbox. Although I feel like I am cheating when I over use the rear touch pad for shots that are deadly accurate.

tisoyboy2
tisoyboy2

Anyone having a problem with the display brightness being very low on max setting while playing this game outdoors? It is low to the point of being unplayable.

978636_
978636_

@TonyDanzaFan dude.....Football is Soccer......grow up

QOSMSTR
QOSMSTR

@TonyDanzaFan lol your funny ;)

squirter666
squirter666

AFL Aussie rules I think is the best football to watch...would like to have seen a video review...maybe get it cheap.

italiano72
italiano72

@LeMeAtOm Real FOOT BALL not only has to be played with hands but also without the ball which has to be replaced by an oblong thing :D

LeMeAtOm
LeMeAtOm

@TonyDanzaFan let me guess, real football is played with your hands, right?

shafe-man
shafe-man

I wish the 3DS version was this good... this game is actually something I want on a mobile system. It, along with Modnation Racers and LBPV, are the top three games I'd be happy to play on the Vita. Except of course where local multiplayer is concerned; console (or PC) all the way baby.

excelx213
excelx213

The rest of the world call it FOOTBALL, this isn't a game where people carry a papaya shape type ball in their arms through out the entire game. north americans should call their game, pass the papaya or hug the papaya... =]

TonyDanzaFan
TonyDanzaFan

Football? FOOTBALL?! ITS SOCCER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gary4safc
Gary4safc

Fifa on the Vita needs Ultimate team where you can also trade with ps3 users too.

ChiefFreeman
ChiefFreeman

I played the demo at Gamestop. It looks grea and is vey smooth. Ive never bought a sports game for any console, but FIFA might change that.

white_wind
white_wind

so excited to get this. but might get Uncharted first. X3

nanorazor
nanorazor

still the greatest sport game on handheld device

ALLoY1717
ALLoY1717

@leonard88 Your avatar is awesome

mastergundam
mastergundam

is this game equal to fifa 11, it can't be 12 because it's a rip-off. They can rip off modes or whatever they want but i can't tolerate gameplay mechanism to be rip off because that made fifa 12 different from fifa 11.........

mastergundam
mastergundam

so this is equal to fifa 11 or fifa 12, could someone tell me? They could rip off modes whatever they want, but i can't tolerate that they rip off gameplay mechanism.......

akuya32
akuya32

As much as I want this game I think I might just wait for FIFA 13 to come out in Sept. The season is over in 3 months.

the_danny
the_danny

However the fact its still called FOOTBALL its a fair review (finaly) Gonna get this game for sure

mastergundam
mastergundam

"Improvements such as the Tactical Defending System, Precision Dribbling, and the Player Impact Engine are nowhere to be found" WTH , i'm going to cancel this game....

Basinboy
Basinboy

Good review, will have to try it out and see how cheeky some of the touch controls actually are. I love the idea of tapping an area on the rearpad for aim, makes perfect sense.

FIFA Soccer (2012) More Info

  • Released
    • PlayStation Vita
    FIFA Soccer on PS Vita gives you the same physics-based, data driven technology that powers FIFA gameplay on PlayStation 3.
    8.1
    Average User RatingOut of 89 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate FIFA Soccer (2012)
    Developed by:
    Electronic Arts
    Published by:
    EA Sports, Electronic Arts
    Genres:
    Team-Based, Sports, Soccer, Simulation
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    Everyone
    All Platforms