Digitally Importing Myself into Fifa 12
Well here we are again, another start to winter means it’s that time of year for EA to release the next iteration of its football series, Fifa 12. Don’t just expect an updated roster list and a couple of new game modes thrown in though. Theres more than that this time round.
EA weren’t joking when they mentioned there would be some big changes seen in Fifa 12. Tactical defending, revised player physics and close control systems are all new for Fifa 12. No longer do you just hold A to make your player tackle, there’s more to than that. The new multi-layered system allows you to be a little smarter when it comes to defending. Holding the A button will make you contain the player, this making your controlled player close in on the player with the ball ready to make that all important tackle. Whilst jockeying (achieved by holding the left trigger) allows you to initiate a barrier between the man on the ball and your goal, giving him fewer options. Hold down the right bumper whilst jockeying and it will send one of your AI team-mates in to get the ball from your opponent.
During my first couple of games online, I couldn’t quite get my head around this new defending system, but with a bit of practice it certainly proves effective. Tactical defending makes you really think hard about the space and team movements within your own half. Mucking up one of your tactical defending plans can cost you, as I found out pretty early on losing my first online match 3-1.
The new player physics are self-explanatory, you can now throw in shoulder barges, tug on players shirts and get a great feel of some nasty tackles. I experienced some very authentic instances in the game, especially when one of my players went up for a header and flew over the opponents back landing painstakingly on his head – it added a lot of realism and unpredictability to the game.
I saved a video of my defender trying to Jean-Claude Van Damme kick my GK in the back of the head which resulted in shambles, check out the video here
The commentary is also very authentic, despite a few regular repeats. As you play through the game modes, the commentators will often talk about how your team is doing in the league and mention the importance of matches and how well some players are doing.
Many of the old game modes are obviously in there, such as exhibition match, league, Career mode, live season and so on, with added tweaks to their presentation. Couple of new modes have also been included, but I didnt try all of them. One of the new modes which I loved and pretty much spent all my time playing was head-to-head season mode.
Head-to-head season mode allows you to play against other online players in league, cup and tournament games. Initially you start off in the bottom league, with the possibility to earn promotion through winning online head-to-head games over Xbox Live. The season lasts around 10-14 games with cup games in between. The more points you earn within the season the more chance you have at promotion. Dont meet the point limit in a season and you’ll be relegated. For me this mode really brought out the competitive side in me, trying my hardest to win that all important match before the end of the season to see me promoted.
This mode was definitely well set-up as it matches you to players of the same sort of level, this meaning beginners don’t go up against the elite players right away. I gained promotion to the league above with a very big grin on my face and just kept on playing more and more matches, experimenting with different teams.
Virtual ‘Pro-club match’ was another game mode I couldn’t get enough of. You start by creating yourself as a player, choosing from a very diverse range of customisations. You can tweak almost every part of the face, decide what hair-style you want, what your height and weight is, the list is almost endless. Once your player is created you can then join another 10 virtual pro’s (made by other people) online and play in a team with them against another team (made up of virtual pros aswell). So its big 11Vs11 games online, which always ran smoothly for me with no lag hardly ever. Scoring goals with your VP and hearing another 10 people over the mic all screaming ‘whaaat a gooooaaal’ is very satisfying indeed!
After getting a bit bored with my virtual pros looks I opted for the option to import my game face into the game instead.
Gameface is a program that allows you to put your face into the game, so you can play for that favourite football team you’ve always dreamed of playing for. It actually works really well depending on how good the photos are you’ve taken. You take photos and upload them to the software then mark out all the points on your face, then the program generates the 3D model ready to download to the game. My game face in Fifa 12 turned out ok, but compared to the one I had in Fifa 11 (same photos) the complexion turned out a bit more orange than expected, so my player looked like he had been on the sunbeds for much longer than he should have been. Having said that, by changing his hair back to green I was able to pull off looking like an oompa-loompa from Charlie and the chocolate factory. Not before long my in-game character made a name for himself, with team-mates and new-team mates alike giving me the name Mr Oompa because my character was so unbelievably orange.
The few days I spent with Fifa 12 were emotional. Grasping that last-minute goal against an opponent online with my virtual pro was euphoric. Fifa will not be to everyone’s liking though, I had my highs and lows with it, but online really is where its at. Grab a few mates, get online, have some practice and I can guarantee Fifa 12 will be an absolute joy to play. It certainly was for me.