FIFA. A man’s best mate on a long winter night, short winter night, long winter day, short summer evening, long… you get the picture. Perfect game for every occasion. The sworn enemy to wives and girlfriends worldwide. Love it or hate it, FIFA 11 was finally released today! If you are slightly mental / up at that time, you could’ve headed into town to pick up your copy at midnight. Me? I’m a definite enthusiast, but too lazy for a midnight shop. Instead I headed out first thing this morning, grabbed it and went home to fire up the PS3. After playing a few games, I’m ready to share a couple of thoughts.
My first game was Italy v Germany, where I drew 0 – 0 against the Germans, before rightly losing on penalties. Then, my international career looking bleak, I headed to the npower Championship and took the reins at Swansea. I found it was too early to start a career mode; I wanted to get a feel for the new game without being too concerned over long term careers of players / injuries and so on. Instead I cracked on with some random exhibition matches. Firstly, I am pleased to say I didn’t lose a game… admittedly I didn’t win a game either (0-0 v Cardiff, 0-0 v Chelsea, 0-0 v Real Madrid, followed by a 1-1 draw v England, with none other than Sinclair netting my only goal). I’m not a goal scoring machine as you can tell…
The squads have been updated completely (apart from the loans – Kuqi is in the Swans squad and Nouble is still with West Ham). Real life injuries are overlooked, meaning Pintado, Beattie and Bodde are all fit and available to play. No sign of Makabu-Makalambay, but he was a late signing in all fairness; if he performs well for the Swans in real life, I’ll sign him to my FIFA team!
Obviously a lot of money has gone into rendering the big names (Rooney, Kaka, Chiellini) as accurate as possible. Most of the players in the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, all look and move basically identical to real life. However when we jump to the Swans squad, up-close the players look bugger all like their real life counterparts. From a distance though you can easily tell who’s who. Even though the facial detail isn’t accurate, the smaller details seem to have been picked up and included: Scott Sinclair’s yellow boots and strapped wrists, Dyer and his bright red boots (does he actually wear these anymore?) and the bullish running that is (was?) Kuqi. The body types have had, like advertised, a complete revamp. You wouldn’t confuse Williams with Dyer if they stood next to each other in real life and this has been mimicked in the game.
Game play is immaculate, with EA totally revamping passing style and control. As I’ve said, this isn’t a full review as I haven’t had time to play until my fingers bleed (yet), but I’ve already noticed subtle changes, such as controlling the ball and the way the ball bounces off the keepers – much more realistic this time around. Passes won’t always go to who you want; it all depends on the power and angle you hit the ball – which makes the game less ‘ping-pongy’ and therefore harder to score (well, that’s my excuse anyway)!
Other features within the game have been created. For example, before playing an exhibition match, you’re able to select which referee you want. They differ in the strictness over cards and fouls, which can totally change a game (as you know if you’ve seen some of the refs down the Liberty over the last year). During the game, stats appear at the top of the screen: passing, possession, shots which make for a more realistic experience. At the end of the game, you can select different highlights to watch – the computer will pick up any good shots, saves or misses and files them for your convenience. If you missed a sitter during the match, it will be waiting for you at the end! Another feature I’m yet to try is the option to set your own personalised themes for when your team walks out onto the pitch and scores a goal. I just need to find an MP3 of the souped-up theme from Gladiator and that’ll be the Swans entrance sorted!
So there we go. A little summary of what I’ve experienced so far. To be honest, I’ve barely scratched the surface, but am sure I will over the next few months. Look out for a more in-depth review later in the year. If I can still type through the blood.