Overall this incarnation of the FIFA series is the best to date. When playing the game you can get a real sense of a soccer match, something the FIFA franchise sort of lacked in the past. Moving the ball up and down the field is fluid for the most part and much improved. This is due in part to FIFA’s new passing method which relies entirely on the player. By using the A button you “charge” the strength of your kick and simply point in the direction you wish to pass on the analog stick. Where you want to pass is made easier by dots on the field that indicate where your player is running. The AI in the game is fairly helpful in obtaining proper plays and will not leave you feeling like the computer is refusing to help you.
Unfortunately the game play also has some downfalls and weaknesses. When you use a lob pass, you cannot move the person you are passing to until the ball touches the player or the ground. This basically means you have no control over the player receiving the ball and are easily intercepted by the defense if the person you are passing to is not wide open. It is truly an annoying aspect of the game. Another weakness is the defensive AI at times. On several occasions the computer controlling a defensive character chose to run away from the ball during an offensive attack. What’s up with that? It is another very annoying problem. The worst part is you don’t know when the computer will decide to do this, so you can’t trust your defense and you must take control almost always.
The final obvious error with FIFA’s game play is the lack of being able to change your formation during the middle of the game. You can change it by pausing the game, but doing so not only disrupts the game play, but also tells your opponent(s) exactly what you are doing. For one I don’t want the people I’m playing knowing what I’m doing, and second I sure as heck don’t want to be pausing the game to do so. If I wanted to take a break while playing I would have played a football game. (American Style)