I haven't played a Fifa game for about 4 years (preferring usually the Pro Evolution franchise) but this year I decided to give it a whirl owing to ever more positive reviews for EAs footy installments. When I first started playing I was very happy about a number of things, and, unhappy about some others. This review does not include online play, I am only reviewing what you get in the box when you buy it!!
What I love about Fifa 12:
The graphics are fantastic with realistic player animation and some wonderful kit designs. The only let-down in the graphical department is the crowd. They look paper thin and all move together in some strange cult-like motion. But, with that said, its the action on the pitch which attracts all of your attention. The commentary is also very well done and it includes some nice titbits of information about each team to give it all a more realistic feel (for example, playing as Leeds United, the commentators often remind me at the beginning of a match of our spectacular fall from grace in the past ten years etc). The menu screens are easy to navigate and the game contains a long list of tracks which you can listen to while messing around with your formation. The best part though is "Career Mode" where you take over a team of your choosing and try to take them to the top. There is an immense library of players (most of which have their real-life picture in their profile) and the inclusion of a youth academy option allows you to discover and develop the next stars of tomorrow.
What I dislike about Fifa 12:
It's hard! Very hard! That isn't really the thing that bothers me though, because all games should have a learning curve where you progressively improve, but Fifa 12 has a different kind of difficulty. You can be playing the game of your life, but, when the computer decides it's time they scored a goal, that's usually exactly what they do! A lot of other reviewers have mentioned this too, and it can be very frustrating (I have wanted to throw my controller through the television on more than one occasion!). But, the longer you play the better you become at preventing this. It is very realistic which means you have to play like a real-life player. If that means tracking back and cutting off passes without ever getting a touch yourself then that's what you'll have to do. So, although for a hardcore footy fan like me, this is (in the longrun) a good thing, I wouldN't recommend this to anyone who wants to pick up and play without any hassle and score thirty-yard screamers every match!
+ beautiful graphics (stadia, kits, player faces etc.)
+ extremely satisfying to win games (as you have to work hard to do so)
+ nice soundtrack
+ controls are easy to learn, difficult to master (there are dozens of hidden tricks and skills)
+ beautifully animated (extremely realistic player movements and collisions)
+ realistic (a true footy fan's game)
- unexpected shifts in difficulty causes frustration
- crowd look like paper cut-out
- Alan Smith constantly reminding me (as a Leeds fan) that we aren't successful anymore :-(
Great game if not a bit frustrating at times. Highly recommended overall however. If I could I would give it 4.5 stars!