FIFA 12 hands-on: Our impressions after playing 26 games

I'm currently playing through ALL teams from EVERY league in FIFA 11 with a friend and through the countless amounts of games we've already played and enjoyed, we notice the same two problems - the frustrating dribbling and disastrous defensive eff ups. So thank Jeebus, and more importantly EA, for remedying these problems in FIFA 12.

Our previous hands-on experience touched on the physical changes to FIFA 12's engine, with players now reacting realistically to tackles rather than in a set stock of animations, but I'm here to go in two-footed on some of the other new treats that await in FIFA 12. After all, I managed to cram in 26 games during an extended hands-on session and picked up some need-to-know facts along the way.

Above: Lionel Messi adds 'levitation' to his list of magical footballing skills

Dribbling is devastating

The good news for cack-handed FIFA players is that you no longer have to rely on the right stick twirls and swirls to trick your way past defenders. It's great for mocking opponents but in truth twiddling the stick - unless you're an expert - is like spinning a roulette wheel and hoping the right number drops out. In FIFA 12 you can beat a player with close control and the right player.

Enter Arsenal's Samir Nasri - destroyer of worlds. Well, not worlds but definitely defences. My instant reaction to the news that the dribbling had been fixed was to give a silent shout and tiny air-punch in celebration. As we only had Arsenal and Chelsea to play with I chose the Gunners because they have more flair players to try out this new control system with. A couple of runs with French international, Nasri, left my opponent with twisted blood as he turns them inside out with close, quick movements. You have far more space thanks to the new defensive system in place (more on this later) which means defenders can be isolated and ripped to bits.

Above: OK, it's Andrei Arshavin here but he's almost as devastating on the ball as his team-mate, Samir Nasri

Holding R2 for precise control (I change the default buttons) keeps the ball really close to Sammy's body. Chelsea's Ramires is trying to dispossess him - he can't. He's being made to look a fool and keeps stepping in for tackles and leaving himself off-balance. Finally my frustrated opponent dives in to try and snap Nasri's little legs, but a quick flick of the left stick and he's leapt the danger leg and left the Chelsea midfielder on the floor in his wake. Magic.

More personality

The whole system is an evolution of Personality Plus from FIFA 11. PP aims to make key players stand out from the rest of the cloggers by emphasising their individual traits. It's worth mentioning that at preview stage with FIFA 11 there was talk much talk of Iniesta Touch - a phrase coined to describe how the Barcelona midfielder could keep possession in tight situations even against powerhouse defenders such as Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic. The results were incredible, and as David Rutter -  FIFA's line producer - admits, it had to be dialled down as it was creating super-players.

Only time will tell whether Samir Nasri will have his winged-heels clipped, but right now it's a welcome treat. EA are planning to drip-feed us with more Personality Plus attributes until the launch in September, but they did give us a taster of how giant players like Peter Crouch will become a real force to reckon with in the air. It's exciting and we can't wait for more of these.

On the next page... injuries, tweeked defending and more  


  • gazsumz - June 8, 2011 6:42 p.m.

    @Icepotato "I figured as much" No chance you can legitimately question a Brits view of Fif when your blatantly a yank. You know NOTHING about football
  • Kir - June 8, 2011 11:29 a.m.

    Thank god they've abandoned the 'hold one button and your defender will home in and make a tackle' nonsense. My biggest gripe with FIFA 11 - absolutely no skill whatsoever in tackling. You try to ghost past someone using Neymar and all you have to do to stop him his hold a button, and everything is done automatically to tackle him. About frikking time. Precision dribbling is another thing that's been a long time coming. Iniesta and Xavi are hardly 'world class' on FIFA 11, yet in real life they are among the best players on the planet, because of their close control.
  • kingcroko - June 8, 2011 8:30 a.m.

    "makes you explore your full squad over a league season"? Does that mean you'll get a virtual fine for fielding a "weakened" side then? :p I heard there's a "Blatter mode" this year. It only costs £20M of your team's money but you win everything unopposed each year.
  • Jasman - June 8, 2011 12:01 a.m.

    The new precision dribbling makes me happy :) I've always felt football games were a bit clinical and 'on-rails' (even with Fifa's 360° passing), but this year sounds like a different story. I loved Fifa 10, but didn't really enjoy '11, so I hope Fifa 12 is a comprehensive melding of the two. *commence finger fusion* :P
  • sternparez - June 7, 2011 8:59 p.m.

  • IcePotato - June 7, 2011 6:04 p.m.

    GamesRadar UK I figured as much. Captcha litingi american
  • Joelwba - June 7, 2011 1:15 p.m.

    As long as there's no button lag/controller lag/whaterver you call it, I'll be happy. I'll always buy FIFA but it makes online (particuarly clubs) so frustrating when you can't move properly every other game.
  • Bernicus - June 7, 2011 12:12 p.m.

    Sounds good, FIFA 11 failed to deliver with so many of its promises so this should be good.

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