Life is all about compromise.
It’s rare that you get everything you want, exactly the way you want it. The ability to accept that fact lends itself to happier living.
“FIFA 11” is a good example.
Last year’s version raised the bar in terms of presentation, graphics and game play – making it difficult for this year’s edition to measure up.
If you’re expecting a similar quantum leap in “FIFA 11” you’re going to be disappointed. It’s very much like last year’s game, with a few tweaks added in.
But since last year’s game was excellent, I feel this one is as well.
- Personality Plus – Superstar players in the game mimic their real-life counterparts. The digital version of Cristiano Ronaldo standing over a free kick looks very much like the real thing. These are nice little touches from the designers to bring some of the bigger name players to life.
- Be a Goalie – A new twist to the familiar “Be a Pro” feature allows players to stand between the pipes, and as such, allows for online 11 v. 11 matches. I haven’t tried that one. I seriously doubt my Internet connection could handle it.
- Physicality – Remember the days when you could collect the ball in midfield, sprint between the two center halves and get a shot on goal? This year, it’s far more likely that you’ll get knocked off the ball, leaving your striker sitting on the turf waiting for a whistle that isn’t coming.
- Game play improvements – Aside from the one I just mentioned, celebrations are now more interactive. Run at a teammate after a goal, and he celebrates with you. The 360-degree dribbling, introduced last year, has been refined to allow gamers to have even more control. The passing system has been changed to allow players to better control the distance, pace and accuracy of their passes. That’s the idea, anyway. I’m still trying to get the hang of it. The addition of the Russian League was a nice surprise, too.
- Creation Center – Gamers can create their own players, teams and kits and share them online. Very much like the feature EA has for the NCAA Football series.
- Career mode – If you’re looking forward to building up your stadium and training ground, you need to look elsewhere. That part of the old manager mode has been stripped away. Player scouting and team sponsorships are also missing in action. You can still transfer players, but your success or failure as a manager will be determined on how your team performs between the lines.
I’m a huge fan of this series, and while the subtractions from the manager mode are a bit of a downer, this game is still tons of fun.
Tactics matter in this game – you have to pass the ball with precision and build an attack to score goals. And there’s enough to do within the Be a Pro and Career Modes to keep this game fresh for a while.