After a steady rise in quality over the last few years, FIFA 10 added yet more welcome new features and game modes while refining the core gameplay. It's a tough act to follow for FIFA 11, but thanks to more realistic gameplay, new game modes, and more features, this is the best and most comprehensive FIFA game yet. The main improvements are refinements to the gameplay, rather than revolutionary new game modes as we've seen in previous years, but they're significant enough to make EA Sports' latest offering well worth the upgrade.
6280355NoneInter Milan put one past Bayern Munich.
The changes to this year's game aren't all immediately apparent, but they are welcome and make the game deeper and more realistic. The biggest change is the physicality between players--whether it's a winger holding off a defender, or two players tussling in the box, FIFA 11's players are constantly fighting each other for the ball. This increased tactility has an impact on the gameplay, adding an emphasis on player strength and speed, making player interaction more brutal, and producing some nice touches that add to the realism. For example, if you perform a crunching tackle, the tackler will sportingly tap the downed player on the back as he runs by to collect the ball. There's also much more variation to the passes and shots; you won't see the same shots being taken repeatedly, while positioning, footedness, and environmental factors such as rain all have a real and notable impact. Scoring is also more difficult than before; improved goalies are harder to beat than in FIFA 10, and shots, particularly those lobbed over the keeper, are harder to get in the net.
Much more emphasis has also been put on individual players and how they operate within the team, thanks to the new Personality Plus feature. This is a system of attributes that affect players' skills, from how accurately they pass the ball to how quickly they can control it from the air. Topflight teams boast players with skills across the board, and to get the most from players you need to know how to play to their individual strengths. For example, a player like Wayne Rooney has an inherent ability to score from short range, whereas Steven Gerrard is a much better long-distance shooter. The system works well, and you can feel the difference between players as you control them on the pitch. This personality system also extends to celebrations--you can now hold down the A button to do trademark post-goal dances from famous players, and if you're online, you can also interact with the goal scorer with new team-based celebrations.
The only new game mode in FIFA 11 is Career, which combines the Be a Pro and Manager modes from previous games and gives them a slicker visual presentation. You start out your 15-year career as a player, a manager, or a combination of the two, with responsibility for different activities depending on your role. As a player, you can choose to take control of an individual team member, such as your Virtual Pro player, or play as the entire team. Since you can choose from both options on a match-by-match basis, you can mix things up during your career to keep it interesting. As a manager, you have considerations such as bringing new talent to the club and making sure all your players get experience on the pitch. There are slight tweaks to the management side this year, such as a two-stage negotiation process that also involves wage discussions with the player. It's an improvement and adds depth to proceedings, while coach feedback allows you to keep better tabs on your squad than before. The career mode has definitely improved the existing modes by rolling them into one structure--the presentation is great, you have more flexibility to play games in different roles, and you can compare your career accomplishments with friends' accomplishments on online leaderboards.
FIFA 11's gameplay is more realistic than ever, rewarding players who choose strategy over relentless attack.
The headline feature this year is the new option to play as a goalkeeper in offline and online game modes. The prospect of being the keeper may not sound that exciting, but the controls are intuitive and it can be fun to play as him in short doses. The camera shifts to a behind-the-player perspective, and you control movement with the left stick and diving with the right, with the aim of maintaining a good position while diving at the right moment. The process is made easier by visible lines that predict the path of the ball, as well as a marker that shows the optimal position to be in, and you can even snap to this spot by holding L1. While it's inevitable that much of your time is spent waiting around, you can shout instructions to your team in offline modes by pressing buttons to indicate when they should cross, pass, and shoot, allowing you some tactical control over the game. Ultimately, it's a welcome addition to finally control the keeper, but it's unlikely that you'll want to play through an entire career as one unless you're eager to unlock trophies for doing so. The main benefit comes online, where it's fun to play as the keeper on an occasional basis.