It had potentisal, but fell at the final hurdle

User Rating: 7.5 | FIFA World Class Soccer VITA
Since the PSP days, I've always had a soccer game for the handheld. From Pes '07 to FIFA 10, soccer always seemed like it went great with a handheld. With a more powerful console and a new FIFA title, I thought this would be a match made in heaven

There's not a great deal of difference between the graphics on FIFA 12 and this. Actually, the colours on the Vita screen makes everything a lot more vibrant than its console counterpart. The details on the players movements are also extremely well done. Like just before the kick-off, you may see a couple of players stretching.
There's not much else to add really. If you're familiar with FIFA 10 through 12 on the console, then this is no different.

Again, same as with the graphics, the commentary, music and sound effects are exactly the same as the other games. This makes it quite easy to immerse yourself in the game a lot quicker than any other portable soccer game I've played.
The commentary is still fantastic and keeps up with the action all the way.

And here is where the game starts to differ. Now this is from a person that has only played the career mode in the console and handheld games, so this is the only comparison I can make.
While the career mode may look, sound and feel exactly the same as FIFA 12, the managerial aspects seem to have been left out. I found out early on that there are no stadium upgrades, fitness upgrades, scouting reports etc to be done, so my entire budget (90m pounds because I chose Real Madrid) was dedicated to just buying players. By mid-season I had spent half of that. I went on to win the league and was then given a huge bonus. At the end of the season when all was said and done, I had nearly 170m pounds!! To me FIFA has always leaned more to the sim aspect of the soccer genre, however with this game, they've taken the managerial sim aspect out, which I find quite odd.
I also found it incredibly easy. Now I'm not great at soccer games by any stretch of the imagination (I usually play on semi-pro on FIFA 12), but using the same difficulty setting as I usually play, I was winning by about 8-13 goals each match. By the end of the season my goal difference was 130. Yes I know I can increase the difficulty, which is what I'll do for season 2, but it doesn't seem consistent with the console versions.
One small thing that did annoy me through-out was when you want to substitute a player, it would focus on another player and give a few stats (tackles made, % passes etc) and you can't skip this. I thought it was rather pointless.
Another surprising omission was saving of the replays. Even in PES 07 I was able to save replays. This is quite an absurd decision not to include this, especially since I scored some of the best goals I've scored in any soccer game.
Apart from the above, the controls are very similar to the console versions, except they included some front and rear touch functions for the Vita. The issue I have with rear touch for the Vita is you have to hold it in a certain way for you not to accidently brush the touch screen and I find it uncomfortable. The rear touch screen can be used as a shoot button whereby you tap on the screen where you want to shoot and the length of touch determines the power of the shot. It was an ok function but I decided not to go with it and use the classic controls instead.
The front touch screen can be used to pass. Again, I like that they tried to include some innovative controls, but when you use your finger for the front touch screen, you are blocking your viewing, so it's not the best option.

Final thoughts
FIFA 12 this is not. If you're looking for an exact replica to play on the go then you may be waiting until the next installment. Although it is an entertaining game to have for a portable, it does feel like it was a rushed job, a title to have to boost the launch line-up and without much care and thought behind it. I enjoy it and I'm sure I'll continue playing it, but it seems to lack the heart that has given the previous 3 games the title as King of the soccer genre.