FIFA Soccer 11 Review
Deking your opponent or putting it off your head, it's all about how you score.
FIFA has established itself as the premier soccer game on any platform for some time now. This does not change with FIFA 11 as the great gameplay, commentary and plethora of game modes are back, improving upon what little was lacking in last years game. This greatestness of the FIFA series in the past half decade is also its greatest downfall. FIFA 11 is so similar to FIFA 10 that aside from a few minor, yet enjoyable changes, FIFA 11 is almost too similar to its previous counterpart. Unless you have not purchased a game from the series in the past couple of years, you are ostensibly getting the same product from last year.
Hopefully this little bit of information has not put you off, because if you are a true soccer fan and need the newest and greatest version of FIFA each year, you will not be disappointed. FIFA 10 has done a great job of improving the overall mechanics of your player and experience, making for a more realistic run down the pitch. Now when you strike the ball you can feel the power coming from the shot and watch as it sails by the keeper. Tackling has become more realistic, challenging you to make the appropriate move at the right time. Opponents will trip over you to get to the ball and furiously shove into you in a bid to gain possession. These minor improvements only help to create an even more authentic experience for you once you hit the field.
Along with these improvements to how the game plays overall, each individual player has special attributes that are more important to success than previous games. If you've been awarded a penalty shot, look for the player who can best curve the ball to allude the goalie. Want a powerful striker who can run down the pitch while staying balanced after being attacked by tackles? Select the player whose stats best fit the profile. Some players will be faster, stronger, and better at kicking, making for a different and unique play style for each player. This differs greatly from past years where such differences between players was very subtle and did not make much of a difference except for the premier players. Using the wrong type of player for each situation can ultimately be your downfall in a match, making for a more strategic style of play.
Also new to this years edition is the ability to play as a keeper. Not only does this allow for 11 on 11 online play, it puts the player in a position that before now was strictly controlled by the AI (aside from taking goal kicks and penalty shots). Playing as the keeper is entertaining if not simple. You have the ability to dive or run for a ball, and once the opponent has kicked a shot, a highlighted path of where the ball should go appears. Based on this imaginary line you position your keeper and go for the save. It is a novel addition to the game that is a welcome change, but does not offer the same excitement of other positions. Soccer does not usually have a high amount of shots on goal, so unless you are being completely outclassed or playing online, playing in net can become a bit mundane.
Aside from the new additions and improvements to the gameplay, FIFA 11 also sports a new mode called Career which is a combination of Be a Pro and Manager mode. This mode allows you to play as either a team or individual, as well as conducting the duties of the Manager such as making trades, signing players, setting ticket prices, and discovering new talent for your club.
Along side these differing modes FIFA sports one of the most visually appealing and streamlined menu systems within a sports game. Access your career stats, jumping online for a quick match or checking out your upcoming fixtures is all a breeze in the refined, slick and well presented system. Also with this great menu system is all the other small touches that make FIFA great. FIFA 11 has one of, if not the best commentator systems around. Each play is excellently called and there are a host of different lines so that you do not hear the same thing repeated all that often. Announcers react to plays on the field making it seems like they are really watching the game live. You have to applaud EA for the work they have done on this system as they did not just mail it in and reuse most of the lines from previous games.
Creating your own team and players is also quite simple in FIFA 11. You pick your position, distribute your statistics and are given quite a bit of room for customization. You can also create an entire team if you so wish and put them on the field against your favorite or most hated teams. For those who are real keeners you can even import your own face from EA's site after uploading your own image and making a few tweaks. It's these small little extras such as seeing your own face on your player that make FIFA 11 new enough that it's worth a play.
FIFA 11 really is the ultimate soccer experience and any fan would do well to give this game a play. New improvements to the gameplay mechanics make this years iteration even more appealing than the last. A host of game modes as well as the inclusion of the new Career mode make for a deep and rewarded experience. The culmination of exciting online play including 11 on 11, slick presentation, great soundtrack and overall attention to detail make this years iteration the most enjoyable yet. If you need the newest and greatest soccer experience each year, you will not be disappointed with FIFA 11's new tricks and additions. Alternatively if you have been out of the loop for a while you will not be disappointed, FIFA 11 is the best soccer game put out to date.