FIFA 12 Demo Review & Impressions

It'd be unfair to say that there aren't plenty of changes in this latest outing, but if I didn't have EA brainwashing me with clever technical terminology like 'Pro Player Intelligence' and 'Impact Engine,' then I'm not sure my naked eye would notice these fine improvements.

As another football season kicks off, along with it comes the demo of the latest outing of the best football game on the planet. FIFA 12 has the rather unenviable task of improving upon damn-near perfection in FIFA 11. Having played the undeniably brilliant demo, I can't help but feel that it lacks a single outstanding factor that makes it stand above its predecessor, apart from the obligatory team updates. The main improvement that I noticed playing the demo of FIFA 12 was that the players no longer look like evil life-size mannequins. The cold, glazed eyes and overly glossy skin texture have been replaced by a pleasingly naturalistic look that make the whole game quite literally feel more alive. EA Sports have themselves admitted that most of the changes to this version have been 'under the hood'. Features such as 'Pro Player Intelligence,' in which the players on the pitch have a greater awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of themselves and the opponents, make subtle but interesting changes to the gameplay. Playing against Milan, for instance, I found that Ibrahimovic was a nightmare to contain for Barcelona's stumpy centre-backs, with the wingers constantly playing high balls for him to adeptly hold up or head into the net. These subtle differences in gameplay amount to big differences in scorelines, as I had to take several humiliating defeats before adapting to the smarter AI. Precision Dribbling may not sound like a new feature to FIFA fans, but this year's outing has made it decidedly more... precise. I've always found FIFA's dribbling system frustrating as the controls just wouldn't seem to respond in time as I tried weaving my way out of tight spots around the opponent's penalty area. From what I've played here, it feels that little bit more responsive, making close control of the ball a more worthwhile and satisfying experience. Perhaps the most drastic-sounding but least visible change for me was the highly-touted 'Impact Engine,' which apparently takes into account players' conditions, physical attributes and angles at which they run into each other. Through this, FIFA 12 hoped to recreate the sometimes haphazard nature of football, with balls sometimes rolling loose, bouncing off players, and the like. I honestly noticed very little of this, but as I said before, the closer a game gets to perfection, the harder it is to see the improvements. It'd be unfair to say that there aren't plenty of changes in this latest outing, but if I didn't have EA brainwashing me with clever technical terminology like 'Pro Player Intelligence' and 'Impact Engine,' then I'm not sure my naked eye would notice these fine improvements. Nevertheless, along with the player faces, they are improvements. These, along with some interesting new features in the full game's Career mode, are enough increase the series' gap over its arch-rival Pro Evo, the demo of which felt stiff and dated by comparison. Based on the demo, FIFA 12 should bring the series a small step closer to footballing perfection, though it may take some time to warm to Alan Smith, who's replaced everyone's favourite misogynist Andy Gray as a commentator. FIFA 12 will be released September 30th on all formats.
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Gamer, Researcher of strange things. I'm a writer-editor hybrid whose writings on video games, technology and movies can be found across the internet. I've even ventured into the realm of current affairs on occasion but, unable to face reality, have retreated into expatiating on things on screens instead.