The FIFA franchise has come a very long way to get where it is today, and while there are other games on the market, it seems as though gamers just can’t get enough of the hugely popular franchise – which added a little bit extra for FIFA 11.
The game features the newly-developed Personality+ system, and in essence what that means is that all players will react and behave in different ways. The most obvious trait of the systems is that, in example, defenders will have slightly elevated levels of ball control, while strikers will have a powerful shot, compared to mid-fielder.
It’s a great addition for the hard-core football fans, as they will notice the slight differences in handling and stamina from the top players, but for the average gamer, Personality+ might as well not have been there at all.
The controls have stayed the same as FIFA 10, which is a smart move on EA’s side, and gamers will still have the option to change the scheme to whichever one suits them the best. As far as graphics go, the serious upgrade adds a bit more reality to player’s faces.
From when the first ball is kicked around in the Arena, where it is very possible to completely forget that a game is being loaded, it is evident that FIFA 11 promises to be one of the best football games on the market.
But Electronic Arts have managed to actually break the game. A problem that has never appeared in any of the previous games started showing it ugly head on many occasions. While celebrating a goal, the AI seemed at a loss at what to do.
Most of their movements appear to be scripted, and while players are celebrating in their own way, team mates will try to initiate a scripted team celebration. This doesn’t work out too well, as the game’s engine can’t decide what to do next, resulting in some team members running up and down the penalty pitch over and over for no apparent reason.
Another aspect where a bit of better planning will come in handy, is with the new ability to play a multiplayer match, stocked to the brim with only online players – no AI here. In theory, it’s a great addition, as 11 real players per team will duke it out for victory.
The problem comes in when playing with strangers in your team, and while we tried out a number of online matches, the results were the same. Every man is trying to score by himself – disregarding any other player who happens to be in a better scoring position.
The result looks like a rugby match, only that you are not allowed to pick up the ball. In one of our online matches, we even had the goalie constantly coming out onto the field in order to score a goal – leaving our goals wide open.
Restricting the players to only 5 players per team (and then manually swapping between the AI players), seemed to help a bit, but you still get the one lone Rambo.
Which brings us to the new addition of playing the Be A Pro mode as a goalkeeper. Although EA had the best intentions for this mode, it simply doesn’t work. It’s not that it’s broken, the mechanics just don’t sit too well.
It has to be one of the most boring modes ever created for a football game, and that is a major problem. If you play with a good team, the defence will be at such a standard that you’ll hardly ever see any action. Playing with a slightly retarted team, and you’ll need super-fast reactions just to get the goalie facing the right direction – let alone actually jumping at the ball. It’s also very easy for the striker to dummy around you… it almost becomes laughable.
So FIFA 11 begs the question if EA actually upgraded the franchise, or just managed to keep it stagnant, preventing it from slipping into obscurity. It’s their third football game in about a year, so one has to wonder if it hasn’t started to take its toll?
The new additions and graphic upgrade are all nice and dandy, but with a couple of severe bugs and a multiplayer that is in dire need of a serious patch, can the franchise lift itself off the ground and restore itself to its former glory?
The game is great, don’t get us wrong, but for gamers who own the entire franchise, this will be a slight disappointment.
It’s almost like baking a glorious cake, layer for layer, stacking on all the beautiful decorations and colourful icing, just to have to bottom fall out at the end.
- Xbox 360