FIFA 11 is the latest installment in the long and yearly FIFA franchise. This time around it adds a number of new features, such as playing as a goalie and also shakes up the Career mode to make a realistic football game.
So lets ‘kick-off’ the HOTs and NOTs
As well as the improved graphics which make FIFA 11 look more realistic a number of features add to the realism. When a player chests the ball down, the game now fully allows the player to choose the direction of the ball – this both adds realism as well as allowing for some amazing goals. Balls will no longer be easy to predict where they’ll fly off to when deflected; unlike previous titles where players could easily get the rebound or with easily retrieve the ball it occasionally lands near AI who will pounce on a ball making for a realistic fight for the ball.
While FIFA 10 gave us the 360 dribbling it didn’t extend to fighting for possession which hasn’t changed for a long time until FIFA 11. The 360 fighting for the ball not only adds realism but makes the game seem fairer with the player who deserves the ball most coming out on top with it – not just the defend winning constantly. This improvement makes the game also feel much more physical due to the added barging the fighting for the possession entails.
FIFA 11 has stepped up the game when it comes to its visuals with many more players looking truly like they do in real life. But not only do the more players look more like themselves but they also seem to both run and are generally animated much more realistically. Whether this is due to some of the features such as 360 fight for possession making it look better or not the game has got a lot better animations in this year’s instalment. The pitches and weather conditions also look improved; this includes a snowy pitch, night time rain or bright and sunny the effects stay constant and don’t randomly stop heavy rain then start again.
The commentary does seem a little less repetitive than in previous years and the team of commentators is top notch and all add to the football match atmosphere. In FIFA 11 they have many times where stats such as shots on goal or possession is commented on as well as current scores from other matches being simulated in career mode. The music is once again as intriguing as it is good and while most you won’t be singing to all, they are songs which most will find enjoyable.
Fixed broken things
Manager mode was at best dodgy in FIFA 10 but this time around EA has decided to roll it into the usual player career mode with surprisingly good results. Now consumed into career mode you can now pick from player, manager or both to play seasons in. When choosing player you are giving the great option to either playing as him just like Be A Pro mode or the entire team. This alongside the fact as just a player substitutions are made for you allows you just to play and if you choose manager as well you can still pick the teams as well as buy and sell player means overall a well rounded career mode has finally been achieved.
One rather odd glitch which still happened in FIFA 10 has seemingly been eliminated or at least practically stopped; if an opponent fell onto the ball from a foul it wasn’t sometimes given and gave the fouler’s side an advantage which worked both for and against players. With this finally being fixed another frustrating part of the football game is gone.
Passing is of course quite a big section of a football game and this time around EA has decided to rewrite the passing engine. The passing is now a lot harder to pull off, which is strangely much better; players can’t simply keep tapping the pass button, turning it into an unrealistic one touch ping-pong game. With the more realistic passing players really have to be skilful when on the ball picking their passes and timing their through balls to almost perfection. It makes for a harder but much more realistic experience and when you pull off an amazing move it truly feels like you’ve worked for the goal because of it.
Same Old Problems
Too often players AI players won’t make an attempt to get a slow-rolling pass because it wasn’t originally intended for them. Another hitch happens when running with the ball and the defender fails to overlap and runs backwards towards the players’ goal, while this happens less it still occasionally happens and can be rather frustrating for the player. These problems has haunted most sports games since creation, it’s about time especially with yearly releases the problem is fix.
Another rule which is slightly too well enforced is the 10 yard rule: when the opponent has a freekick players can’t walk in the 10 yard radial zone, even if trying to just get across it to mark someone. This can be quite frustrating when they play a simple ball which could have been intercepted is it wasn’t for the 10 yard invisible wall.
While there has been some improvements when it comes to the crowd meaning they aren’t a cardboard crowd anymore they still seem to lack a lot. The supposed 12th man of the team not only occasionally being repetitive looks frankly awful. While the crowd is by no means bad it sticks out like a sore thumb from what is otherwise a great looking and sounding game.
EA seem have been teasing us with the ability to take an occasional quick freekick, but it only allows a player to take it quick if it thinks they would meaning nine times out of ten players don’t get to when they want to causing the opponents defence to once again restructure itself. The quick freekick animation is in there; just a choice to take a freekick fast or wait would make the game much more smooth and realistic.
While great for the big star players such as Messi, Van Persie or Rooney it works with, the feature just doesn’t do anything for lesser known players from even the big clubs. Unfortunately it seems only half complete because of it being lost on many players. Gamers who support and play as the smaller clubs and the upcoming talent in clubs for who it is lost on, will almost not notice this improvement which if expanded further could have been great something which I’m sure will be done in FIFA 12.
FIFA 11 picks up and leaps on from where 10 and World Cup left off while there are still none ironed out flaws these can be overlooked as you can simply enjoy the football experience. Don’t expect to find this instalment easy with the new passing and 360 fight for possession it feel harder but also more rewarding when the ball finally gets in the back of the net.
[Editor’s Note: Fifa 11 was reviewed on a PlayStation 3 platform.]FIFA 11 Review,