FIFA Soccer 11 Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC
FIFA Soccer 11 box art
System: X360, PS3, PC, Wii, PSP, PS2 Review Rating Legend
Dev: EA Canada 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: EA Sports 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Sept. 28, 2010 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-7 (local) 1-22 (online) 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
EA Canada Does It Again
by Caleb Newby

It could be very easy to become lost in the John-Madden-sized shadow at Electronic Arts if you’re a sports game, particularly in America this time of year. While football (American football, that is) grabs the attention of the nation, the rest of the world collectively yawns in apathy. America may be becoming more soccer friendly, but this isn’t the time of year you’d normally think to reignite your newfound passion of the original football. Funny, then, that EA’s FIFA 11 successfully builds on last year’s amazing game to become the best realistic video game representation of the sport.

FIFA Soccer 11 screenshot

In case you missed it, last year’s FIFA 10 scored rave reviews from critics and players alike. It was hailed as a turning point in the franchise and occasionally as the best sports game ever made. High praise indeed! If you were a fan of last year’s game or are any sort of soccer die hard, well, there’s really not much point to keep reading. FIFA 11 is better, if not significantly so, and worth the purchase. On the other hand, should you be a casual soccer kind of person or just a sports fan looking for your latest gaming fix, the answer may be a bit more complicated.

Everyone likes to key in on graphics first in games, especially when it comes to first person shooters and sports titles. Never fear, as FIFA 11 has some seriously slick presentation. Characters are polished and the stadiums detailed as the action takes place on the pitch. Even better, the framerate is smooth sailing as you pass and dribble your way through the opposing defenders.

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You’ll notice one of the central additions to this year’s game is the Personality Plus system where soccer stars, particularly the well known ones, have been outfitted with specific personality profiles that guide them to act and react similarly to their real life counterparts. Skills are appropriately adjusted to reflect abilities, from dribbling to passing to heading. It’s more than that, however, as players look and move more authentically as well. They even tangle up in physical altercations like their real flesh and blood selves.

FIFA Soccer 11 screenshot

The physical altercations have also been vastly improved and given weight, pun quasi-intended. This is more in depth than the old NES Ice Hockey system of “skinny guy is fast and weak, fat guy is slow and strong,” though the principles are there. Players tangle up, shove, hold, and tackle with a greater degree of realism. A goon type player will impose his will while an agile speedster will be able to, sometimes acrobatically, stay out of trouble more easily. It’s not-so-little things like this that continually add to the realism and depth of the franchise and make you excited for the continued growth of EA’s FIFA series.

Gameplay has stayed largely the same although it is worth noting there is a new passing system. Now, the length of a button press determines where and who you are passing to. A short press goes nearby whereas a long hold lobs a pass much further down field to a teammate. Once you get over your natural inclination where long equals power and not location, you’ll be good to go. It may take a few times but will feel natural soon enough.

FIFA Soccer 11 screenshot

Another added feature is the ability to play as the goalie. That sounds cool if you’re not a big follower of the sport, but any elongated thought process will cause you to come to the realization of “Hey… doesn’t the goalie mostly kinda stand around and wait?” Well, yes, yes he does. And that’s what you do from a behind third person view waiting for your moment of glory. To make the boredom less tedious, you can switch your view and watch the action up close and influence where your teammates pass the ball, giving a bit of control from your little box. In a great move, when the action does drift over to your side of the field, the game helps guide you where the optimal place is to stand and where the ball may go so your quick flick of the analog isn’t a total guess of direction; much better than some hockey games where your job as goalie is a complete guessing game.

Screenshots / Images
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