|System: X360, PS3, PC, Wii, PSP, PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA Canada||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: EA Sports||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sept. 28, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-7 (local) 1-22 (online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Caleb Newby
It could be very easy to become lost in the John-Madden-sized shadow at Electronic Arts if youre a sports game, particularly in America this time of year. While football (American football, that is) grabs the attention of the nation, the rest of the world collectively yawns in apathy. America may be becoming more soccer friendly, but this isnt the time of year youd normally think to reignite your newfound passion of the original football. Funny, then, that EAs FIFA 11 successfully builds on last years amazing game to become the best realistic video game representation of the sport.
In case you missed it, last years FIFA 10 scored rave reviews from critics and players alike. It was hailed as a turning point in the franchise and occasionally as the best sports game ever made. High praise indeed! If you were a fan of last years game or are any sort of soccer die hard, well, theres really not much point to keep reading. FIFA 11 is better, if not significantly so, and worth the purchase. On the other hand, should you be a casual soccer kind of person or just a sports fan looking for your latest gaming fix, the answer may be a bit more complicated.
Everyone likes to key in on graphics first in games, especially when it comes to first person shooters and sports titles. Never fear, as FIFA 11 has some seriously slick presentation. Characters are polished and the stadiums detailed as the action takes place on the pitch. Even better, the framerate is smooth sailing as you pass and dribble your way through the opposing defenders.
Youll notice one of the central additions to this years game is the Personality Plus system where soccer stars, particularly the well known ones, have been outfitted with specific personality profiles that guide them to act and react similarly to their real life counterparts. Skills are appropriately adjusted to reflect abilities, from dribbling to passing to heading. Its more than that, however, as players look and move more authentically as well. They even tangle up in physical altercations like their real flesh and blood selves.
The physical altercations have also been vastly improved and given weight, pun quasi-intended. This is more in depth than the old NES Ice Hockey system of skinny guy is fast and weak, fat guy is slow and strong, though the principles are there. Players tangle up, shove, hold, and tackle with a greater degree of realism. A goon type player will impose his will while an agile speedster will be able to, sometimes acrobatically, stay out of trouble more easily. Its not-so-little things like this that continually add to the realism and depth of the franchise and make you excited for the continued growth of EAs FIFA series.
Gameplay has stayed largely the same although it is worth noting there is a new passing system. Now, the length of a button press determines where and who you are passing to. A short press goes nearby whereas a long hold lobs a pass much further down field to a teammate. Once you get over your natural inclination where long equals power and not location, youll be good to go. It may take a few times but will feel natural soon enough.
Another added feature is the ability to play as the goalie. That sounds cool if youre not a big follower of the sport, but any elongated thought process will cause you to come to the realization of Hey doesnt the goalie mostly kinda stand around and wait? Well, yes, yes he does. And thats what you do from a behind third person view waiting for your moment of glory. To make the boredom less tedious, you can switch your view and watch the action up close and influence where your teammates pass the ball, giving a bit of control from your little box. In a great move, when the action does drift over to your side of the field, the game helps guide you where the optimal place is to stand and where the ball may go so your quick flick of the analog isnt a total guess of direction; much better than some hockey games where your job as goalie is a complete guessing game.