Review: FIFA 11

WE ARE 11

Developer: EA Canada
Genre: Soccer
Platform(s): PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360
Release Date: September 28, 2010
Compatability (PS3): Players 1-7 | 4349KB Mininum Space | DUALSHOCK 3 Vibration Function | HD 720p | Network Players 2-22
Compatability (Xbox 360): Players 1-4 | 30MB Mininum Space | HDTV 720p / 1080i / 1080p | Online Multiplayer 2-22 | Co-Op 2-4
Rating: 8.0

Another year, another highly anticipated and encapsulating football title from EA Sports. This football simulation, over the past three years, has found the near perfect physics and formula for an engaging football engine. This year, as the player you will really need to work hard to expose the gaps in a tight AI defense. Just like a Joey Barton punch to the lower sternum of Gamst-Pedersen, the slight tweaks in the playing style will shock and hit the player hard from the very start.

Those who are looking for the game to be instantly playable would be forgiven for feeling frustrated when the first handful of games against the computer ends in dull stalemates. Whereas in the previous FIFA title you could rely entirely on the blistering pace on the likes of Theo Walcott and Gareth Bale, this advantage has been reigned in ever so slightly by the EA team. The principal has been switched to the passing and attacking style of each team. Despite this the essence of the accustomed FIFA playing style remains, most button configurations are the same with the slight addition of changing the shooting and passing settings with the in-game menu before you start. This brings us to FIFA 11’s pro passing system. No longer can you generate a quick passing move to easily make waves up the field without thinking, now every pass has to be incisive and precise. A very ingenious idea from EA can sometimes be a downfall, as passes that you want to drill into a players feet can sometimes be misunderstood as a pass to a player further on. In FIFA 11 you are forced to use the longer balls more in order to generate a decent attacking flow. Most world class players’ abilities and playing styles have been accentuated to show the real difference between the intricate close control style of Messi against the bustling power-house style of Drogba. Players like these have also been given special badges to further their abilities even more.

You will feel immersed while playing FIFA 11.

Other features that have been added to this year’s version include become a goalkeeper. In this mode you can play an entire career as a goalkeeper. Unfortunately it doesn’t hold enough interest to be able to justify playing an entire season between the sticks, even if you can slightly influence the rest of the team as you sit in goals waiting to pounce like a coiled spring to thwart another attack from your opponents. Career mode has also been revamped slightly, but in some respects it seems to be a “re-branding” exercise rather than a fresh start. Most of the coaching settings have been removed, seemingly for the new negotiation section. You can now negotiate with both team and player in order to receive their services. You can also start as a player in your career by using the Pro Mode which can also be used in conjunction with Manager Mode. The career mode is still a fantastic draw for the new-aged FIFA purists. You can now also simulate large portions of the season unlike last year, to forward on less important points of your team’s campaign. The usual parameters will be set by your board, depending on the level of team you choose and the difficulty setting when you start.

Where achievements are concerned the focus has been shifted towards the online elements of the game. Online Pro Clubs lets you and your friends use your pro to build a team and take on other pro clubs online of the same ilk. You would be expected to complete 500 games as your virtual pro in any game mode for on achievement, another is to have 10 of your friends or people online to compete in the same team. The multiplayer elements still have some of the most exciting and entertaining elements of this title. With a collection of friends, two versus two battles are as intense and engrossing as ever. The popular multiplayer “captain your country” mode, from the most recent FIFA World Cup 2010 title, has been replicated slightly on the domestic side, but not nearly as much fun. In the World Cup version up to four players can fight for the captaincy at once. In this version four players can play but only the person controlling player 1 will have any influence on the progression of the game. Live Season and Ultimate Team make up the best of the rest in terms of game options; Live Season lets you replicate the form of a selected side from the league you choose and you can also replicate recent league matches of your chosen team. Ultimate Team acts like a football version of top trumps. Most hardcore fans will be steering well clear of these modes.

The level of detail in the kits, pitch and players' faces is impeccable.

As all the additions go, FIFA 11 has not come a long way in 3 years. But don’t let this disappoint you. Like Pro Evolution Soccer before it, FIFA has finally found a great, naturalistic, football engine for a next generation console. Whilst Konami’s creators still struggle to get Pro Evo back on top, EA realize that they are in a position of power with this title, and for more than one reason, they must realize that changing the engine entirely could end up in a disaster. With no other football title on the horizon in the near future, one thing has been appreciated with this recaptured title, simulation. Finally a FIFA title that can live without emotive cut-scenes and flamboyant cup celebrations (although surely how hard could that be?). In essence all they would want from an official title that boasts every official club team you could possibly imagine, along with official kits, stadia, and even trademark boots. This franchise now boasts an entertaining and pulsating football game, which with the addition of career and pro mode will easily have you playing it well into the start of next season. As long as you can tolerate the fairly average and repetitive commentary and mediocre background music, then everything else that’s on offer will keep you coming back for more.

In conclusion, many elements of the previous title remain. Yes kits, stadiums, transfers and attires have been updated like a whirlwind summer at Eastlands, but not many other elements have been radically changed, like a tawdry summer at Old Trafford. In terms of gameplay, this is very much a good thing. Keeping the basis for a playable football engine is integral for keeping this football franchise sell-able to the purists, many of which will have been converted from Pro Evolution Soccer to FIFA over the past 2 years. Yet in terms of the career and achievement side of the game, the focus has disappointingly been shifted towards the online modes, making a lengthy 15 season career seem quite pointless to complete. But everything that comes with the package, I doubt you’ll be getting bored anytime before next year’s release.

Reviewed by andrewhunter316 – November 28, 2010

Graphics
A massive plus for FIFA 11. Visuals are very realistic and slightly better than the previous title.
 
Sound
Fairly repetitive and average commentary. Background music is ordinary, nothing special here.
 
Fun
FIFA 11 has loads of modes to choose from. Even though this year’s title seems to be shifting for online play, you will be coming back for more in this solid football sim.
 
Final Score

 

Responses

  1. Excellent review, really informative and very well written

  2. The best fifa to date.

    • This looks abolultesy divine. It has been so cold and wintery on the East Coast this week and this burger looks like just the thing to warm us up! Yum.

  3. EA has always been known for its sports games. But by now you’d expect more of a wow factor from them. Then again, I’d still choose EA sports rather than 2K sports.

  4. Love FIFA 11 and really enjoyed reading this review!

    • A simple and inetglilent point, well made. Thanks!

  5. Yes FIFA has been the best football sim for two consecutive years. Konami must really work hard to get back in first place with Pro Evolution Soccer.

    Andrew, well done for the review.

  6. Great review! I’ve finally took the plunge and ordered myself a copy. I have gotten used to being content to playing this title at friend’s houses but this title was enough to make me part with some hard earned pennies.

    I agree with the reviewer when he talks about “instantly playab[ility]” as I was a little frustrated but once I started to figure out the changes I could see that EA were trying to improve the realism. Gone are the days when you can strike a ball after a 180degree turn and curl the ball into the top corner with a players weak foot but that only makes them seem more human!

    Thanks for the push to buy FIFA11,


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