FIFA Football Review
Does the game do justice to the critically acclaimed FIFA franchise?
FIFA is a franchise that has seen tremendous improvements over the course of its lifetime. Last year’s FIFA 12 came out and completely changed several core game mechanics with additions such as the impact engine and tactical defending. When the PS Vita was officially unveiled, FIFA Football was announced for it as well and the prospect of being able to play FIFA anywhere was exhilarating. However, you are probably wondering why they called the game FIFA Football rather than straight out FIFA 12. Well quite frankly because it is not FIFA 12. FIFA Football on the PS Vita is actually based on the FIFA 11 engine but with the visual and aesthetic changes that came with FIFA 12. The game lacks all the core mechanics added to FIFA 12 but brings in a few changes specified to the PS Vita’s hardware. The end result is a mixed bag of both good implementations as well as a series of disappointments.
FIFA Football of the PS Vita is mostly what you would expect from a FIFA game. The game has a variety of modes to play in. Those range from Exhibition matches, to Career mode, and even online head to heads. There are however certain modes that are unavailable in the game such as Live Season as well as Ultimate team. The particular exclusion of those two modes is a huge disappointment since they both add quite a ton of replay value.
The gameplay is where FIFA Football really disappoints. With FIFA 12 the game was improved to a whole new level by the addition of tactical defending and the new realistic impact engine. These features completely changed how you play a FIFA game and having to suddenly go back to the way FIFA 11 played felt very awkward. EA Sports did however find several clever ways of using the front touch screen and back touch panel available on the PS Vita. You can pass, lob, or through pass to any player on the field by applying a specific gesture on the front touch screen. This feature might not really be needed for gamers who prefer physical controls but could be beneficial to the more casual audience. The true beauty however comes with how EA Sports chose to utilize the PS Vita’s back touch panel. The idea is that the back touch panel is the goal and touching a specific area on the back touch will cause your player to shoot to that area. This feels like a truly great implementation as it’s accurate and easy to use while not interfering with what’s going on the screen. Either ways whether you like or dislike those touch specific additions you can turn them off from the controls settings.
Graphically FIFA Football looks quite close to FIFA 12 on consoles. While some of the textures aren’t as detailed as the console versions, the game looks amazing on the PS Vita’s 5inch OLED screen. It’s important to not however that at times FIFA Football gets some slowdown during gameplay. It’s nothing significantly flawed since it doesn’t happen that often and wont greatly reduce the quality of the game but it can be irritating at times.
Looking forward to FIFA Football on the PS Vita I was expecting a great port of the game that I know and love. However after finally playing it the game gave me mixed reactions. On one hand the game looks great and does a good job of using the PS Vita’s capabilities, but on the other hand it’s based on an outdated engine and lacks some of the modes that made FIFA really interesting. FIFA Football is all in all a good attempt but is not the full experience that most fans of the series wanted out of a portable FIFA game.