FIFA Soccer 12 Review

FIFA Soccer 2012

Of the five major sports, soccer (or “football” to you Euro readers) gets a bad rap here in America. Football (“American Football”) and baseball completely overshadow everything else here, with hockey and basketball next in line. Unless you’re in a city where Major League Soccer has taken flight (like here in Philadelphia), you probably don’t even know when the MLS Cup is.

How ironic, then, that of those five major sports’ video games, it is soccer that is clearly a cut above the rest.

FIFA Soccer 12  is simply amazing, whether you watch soccer year round or just like the World Cup. Every single thing about soccer, from the biggest teams and players to the littest strategies, are packed into the FIFA 12 disc. While enjoying the game, I also used my time with it as a learning experience on the ins and outs of the most popular sport in the world. There obviously aren’t many sports games that can do that.

FIFA 12 boasts an incredibly diverse way to play. You can either head straight to the pitch with an Exhibition, try to build the ultimate team in the aptly-named Ultimate Team mode, or try to build a new soccer superstar in the Career mode. Exhibition is exactly how it sounds: pick two teams, an arena, and go. Ultimate Team follows the same footsteps as Madden or NHL’s versions, putting a new card-based twist on team-building. Each card will have attributes to pay attention to, and bonuses can be achieved depending on how you sort your cards on the playing field. The Career mode has three branches: Player, Manager, or Player/Manager. You can probably guess what you’ll be doing in these modes, as they’re pretty self-explanatory.


The true impact of FIFA 12‘s new features can only be felt during actual gameplay. Realism in sports games is always a hard thing to accomplish, but EA has done it here with the Player Impact Engine. This new physics-based engine makes each player on the field react to each other exactly how they would in a real game. Every kick, every bump, even the falls players take when tripped look authentic. During one match, I was competing for the ball against an opposing striker, and I could see my hand push off of the striker as I ran with him. When I slid, he rolled over my foot and clutched his leg as if he were feeling the pain of a thousand needles poking at once. When the referee stopped play, my player threw up his hands and argued the call. Now, if you didn’t know this was a video game review, wouldn’t you think I was explaining a match on TV? That’s where the excellence of the game truly shines; FIFA 12 is the most realistic sports game available.

Perhaps even more intriguing is the new EA Sports Football Club. This is an online leaderboard and stat tracker that will monitor how well you play and report it to the world. The easiest comparison I can think of is the Autolog feature of Need for Speed fame. If you have a large group of friends that enjoy FIFA games together, this could be the biggest relationship-ender since Fight Night Round 2. Imagine you have an undefeated streak going, proving your dominance over your friends. One night, you decide to take your talents to the Internet, only to get smashed to bits by some sniveling jerk with a big mouth. Normally, you could hide this blight and no one would ever know. Thanks to the EASFC, that’s no longer possible. Competition in video games has always been a big part of friendships, but now that competition will continue even when some of the friends aren’t even playing.

FIFA Soccer 12 is a sports masterpiece. There are more ways to play the biggest sport in the world than ever before. The matches themselves are fast-paced and intense, replicating the real thing to a T. Player movement and behavior is more lifelike than any other sports game available. Everything about FIFA 12 mirrors the sport it represents at a level other games just cannot touch. While soccer might not be number one in America, sports gamers should not miss this game.


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Author: Jason Fanelli View all posts by
Jason lives and breathes gaming. Legend tells that he taught himself to read using Wheel of Fortune Family Edition on the NES. He's been covering this industry for three years, all with the Node, and you can see his ugly mug once a week on Hot Off The Grill.

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