It has finally arrived, FIFA 11 is in our hands and we are ready to play some footy already! The wait has been easier this year thanks to the World Cup videogame trying (and successfully) to empty our wallets even further during the hot summer, but the real deal only comes once every year. The new FIFA is here and ready to dominate once again. For the last few years, FIFA did not just make better football games; they simply conquered the genre and left the competition struggling to keep up. Both PES and FIFA are offering some interesting new features this year however, and both demos managed to impress to a certain level. After playing FIFA 11 for a while now, we are glad to report that the series has now reached a new level of excellence.
From the first sight, it is important to sit down and take note of how awesome the graphics is. Not wanting to sound too shallow and starting off with the graphics, but zooming in on some players while playing the game was just too impressive to ignore. Pausing the game and taking a look at some players, take Clichy from Arsenal as an example, you will struggle to find any differences with a real life picture. That’s next generation for you right there. The players also seem to react with what is going on the field right now too. So Clichy will now smile when Arsenal score a goal, look upset when we concede and look absolutely disgusted when going down 3-0 at home to WBA. Playing sports games for well over 15 years now, I always thought a player running around like a zombie was very silly. When you hit a last second shot or score a game winning goal, the least you expect is a smile!
Graphics aside, the game is as solid as ever. The passing seems to have been completely redone and will really catch your eye from the get go. The way the pass comes out depends on the run of the play. So you will no longer just randomly press X or A to get the ball from one player to another, you now have to watch the game and know when to pass and who are you passing to. Players now will even outrun the pass if it was too weak. So if Arshavin is running pointlessly on the wing and Fabregas feeds him a pass that is a bit late or weak, Arshavin will now actually struggle receiving the pass and might even just leave it to run out for a throw in. Stuff like that will surely frustrate many gamers out there, but you have to respect the level of realism the developers are tying to enforce here.
One of the interesting new features this year is the play as the goal keeper mode or what Arsenal fans like to call the “Oh no not him again” mode. Playing as a keeper, I was left a bit bored at times during the game however; watching your team dominate position will mean nearly no balls coming your way. The most interesting matches I played as a GK were the ones where I played as a half a star team against a top club. You will concede a few funny ones here and there, but the experience is pretty cool and fresh. I found the ability to play as the keeper to be more fun when playing against some friends. With things getting pretty messy, it is always entertaining to poke fun at the latest mistake Almunia have done, this time it’s only in FIFA 11 however.
Another thing that you will notice on the field is the way players interact. When a player runs into another player now, they will actually collide. In older FIFA games, the players would simply slide off each other. Now however, they will push each other off trying to create some space. This will be noticeable during corners where players will be pushing and shoving trying to gain ground, just like in real life. This also means headers will be won by the stronger and taller players.