A lot more has changed in this version than just the number at the end.
The FIFA series is one of the most popular sports games with FIFA 11 being particularly successful. Electronic Arts weren't content to rest on their laurels, however, and they've made some pretty significant changes to the way you'll play FIFA 12.
First, FIFA 12 features the Impact Engine, a proprietary technology that results in much more realistic physics being applied to both players and the ball. Player momentum is accurately represented, whether in the tackle or while dribbling, and there's a lot more physicality involved overall. Collisions are more convincingly rendered than any other football game till date; in fact, player injuries are now determined entirely by how the Engine simulates their tackles or falls.
The Impact Engine means you'll see a seemingly-unlimited variety of player interactions and animations, resulting in one of the most lifelike portrayals of the sport you're likely to find.
The game's dribbling system has been refined as well, allowing players a much greater degree of precision and control while moving with the ball. When combined with the added physicality of the Impact Engine, the result really has to be seen to be believed. The greatly-improved close control lets you pull off some truly staggering moves; if you've got the skill, of course.
Keeping with that theme of allowing players to have more freedom as well as more control, EA introduced Tactical Defending, which completely revamps the defensive game play of previous titles. The new system places more emphasis on positioning, and requires the player to take a more tactical, hands-on approach. While it does take some getting used to, the added responsibility makes for a remarkably engaging experience. If that sounds a bit too complicated for your taste, never fear; you can switch back to the old style of defending (aka ‘Legacy Defending') in the settings menu.
Besides those improvements, the artificial intelligence has also been enhanced; AI players are now more aware of their team-mates' strengths and limitations as well as their own. The presentation lives up to the high bar that EA sets for itself; menus, pre-match cut scenes and in-game graphics have all had substantial amounts of polish applied. The last notable addition to FIFA 12 is the EA Sports Football Club, which ensures that all your in-game achievements, whether online or offline, are rewarded in some way; whether it's by levelling up your profile or that of your favourite team through the Support Your Club meta-game.
This sense of progression gives you even more incentive to keep playing.
There's not much to dislike about FIFA 12. A ground breaking new game mode of some sort would've been nice, and graphical glitches do occur now and then; however, those are minor complaints at best, and can't detract from the fact that this is a very good game. Ever heard the saying, ‘If it ain't broke, don't fix it'? Luckily for us, EA didn't subscribe to that philosophy; and, boy has it paid off.
Platforms: Windows/Mac, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, 3DS, Vita, PS2, PSP, iOS
Keywords: video games