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FIFA 12 by EA SPORTS Review
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FIFA 12, EA’s latest iteration of its popular soccer series, is now available from the app store. Featuring beautiful graphics, realistic animations, and improved controls, FIFA 12 is the first serious contender to challenge First Touch Soccer for iOS football supremacy.

FIFA 12 Pros:

  • Smooth, crisp graphics and ultrafluid player animations give First Touch a run for its money
  • Fast-paced soundtrack and top-notch commentary
  • Both casual and advanced controls allows for tons of actions
  • Plenty of real leagues, teams, players, and stadiums
  • Manager mode is outstanding and Daily Challenges offer additional replay value
  • Origin integration for trophies and achievements

FIFA 12 Cons:

  • No multiplayer on iPhone/iPod
  • Gamepad app requires two controllers to play multiplayer on iPad

The authenticity of teams and players is a hallmark of FIFA-branded video games, and the newest version is no different. As expected, you’ll find 2 dozen leagues, 32 actual stadiums, over 500 real teams, and more than 15,000 real players with character models that look about as lifelike as we’ve seen on a video game. Game modes, on the other hand, have been pared down a bit this year, eliminating specific Cup and League modes in favor of Manager Mode, Quick Match, and the Daily Challenge. Practice and Penalty Shoot-Out are also available, as always. Manager Mode allows you to start a Career and cultivate players from scrubs to superstuds via trades, contract extensions, discovering new talent, etc. Daily Challenge presents you with a new challenge each day, tossing you into the middle of a game with a specific goal in mind. Quick Match gives you the usual opportunity to engage in one-off friendlies, hone your skills, and test your mettle in shootouts.

There are plenty of customizable settings that allow you to shape the experience to your liking, as we’ve come to expect. Real-time half length, difficulty level (5 in all), injuries, offsides, bookings, camera style details, display of time/score/player names, casual vs. advanced controls, floating joypad, button sizes, in-game tips, and more. Before playing, you can select stadiums, day/night, weather, balls, kits, and manage your roster to set kick takers, team style, and your starters. The gameplay itself is outstanding, as the three-button control scheme allows for a huge variety of moves, whether you select casual or advanced. The buttons are wonderfully responsive and combinations of taps and swipes allow you to make the necessary alterations to passing and shooting that allow you to perform lobs, crosses, through balls, chips, and the like. We now have the ability to curve shots, too. Tapping/swiping on the pitch can initiate a player’s special move, select a player to pass to, switch defenders, direct teammates to other areas of the pitch, and even perform special actions like having your goalie roll the ball to a player rather than kick it. It can be a little daunting at first to learn all of the moves, but putting in a little time can elevate your game to a new level.

The Retina Display graphics are crisp and clean, textures look great, and the size of players and depth of the field feel appropriate. Player animations are on par with First Touch, and even the ball physics are realistic, bouncing naturally depending on the height and angle of descent and ricocheting off of players and posts in expected ways. Sprint, which was absent at launch last year, is thankfully back this time around. Replays offer a variety of angles to view significant plays, zooming in close for goals. There are 15 save slots for you to keep copies of your favorite plays. Even the player’s faces look great, allowing you to easily recognize your favorite stars. The occasional framerate hiccups that affected last year’s game don’t seem to have been passed on to this version, either. The upbeat rock tracks serve to get our blood pumping for the on-field action, and the commentary and crowd effects are good, too. It certainly bests the repetitiveness of the competition, offering a nice variety of lines delivered with emotion that mirrors the tone of the current action.

Replay value is awesome, as these top-notch soccer games typically get more play than most other apps, at least from a personal standpoint. The career aspects of Manager mode give you plenty of reason to keep coming back for more, and with 65 trophies and 54 achievements to earn, you’d be hard pressed to run out of things to do for some time. Another exciting addition is the ability to control the game on your iPad using the separate Gamepad app (which is FREE) when playing head-to-head multiplayer with a buddy. Sadly, the Gamepad app does not work for single player games, which is a huge disappointment. With its continued improvements in nearly all categories, FIFA 12 is now a force to be reckoned with. A tweak to the Gamepad app functionality and the inclusion of online multiplayer would easily put it over the top. For $4.99 (or $9.99 for the iPad version), FIFA 12 is a must-have 4.5-Dimple offering that hits the back of the net.

FIFA 12 by EA SPORTS Review, reviewed by Kevin on 2011-09-30T22:38:04+00:00 rating 4.5 out of 5

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