FIFA 11 Review
- Excellent new gameplay
- Personality plus
- Online gameplay
- 5v5 LAN play
- Manager Mode
- Lack of 11v11 in the PC version
In terms of gameplay, this is the best, and one of the toughest FIFA yet. FIFA 11 has certainly impressed us, chipping away a lot of edges for a very exciting new version of one of the most awaited yearly titles.
For a while now, the alternate versions of FIFA have impressed. While FIFA 10 could not improve much upon the excellent FIFA 09, iteration number nineteen, aka FIFA 11, had some ground to make up.
For all of us who look forward to the title year after year, going for a quick ‘quick match’ to check out the gameplay is almost a ritual now. Our hands moved quicker this time as FIFA 11 carried much hype about the gameplay, which underwent a deep makeover. For starters, the PC edition this year uses the same game engine as the console (PS3/XBOX 360) version.
Surprisingly, the PC version does not bring up the menu when started, instead you have a player and a goalkeeper one-on-one in a training arena. Menu can be brought up by pressing ‘Esc’. The same happens as you start a game. Incredibly, the game has almost zero load time for offline matches.
First look at the game shows the immediate jump EA has made to catch up with PES 10, a game we migrated to simply because it made FIFA 10 look ugly. The players look more real than ever. It is impossible to miss the graphical refinement once the players start running – turn a sprinting player and you can actually see him tilting his body with the grace expected of an athlete.
Prior to the release, the most advertised feature of FIFA 11’s gameplay was Personality+ - a new system which imparts attributes to each player, making him both unique and similar to the flesh-and-bone version. Personality+ is no ad gimmick: David Villa really is a sharp-shooter, putting to net any ball he touches in the box. Messi is nimble, but the lack of strength is evident. Gerrard and Lampard fire piledrivers, and Rooney loves to drop behind the striker. The instances are countless, and smiles spread wide upon our faces on seeing such lovely imitation.
PES fans often complaint about FIFA’s ping-pong passing and the one-man shows. Cristiano Ronaldo sprinting down the pitch, untouched by mortals. The seeds for removing these ‘arcade’ elements were probably sown in FIFA 10, with much slower sprints. But FIFA 11 goes many steps further, if not all the way. The concept of building up of the play is introduced, with each team having its own different build-up speed. You have to patiently break down the defences, or deliver killer through balls. It is not possible for just any player to sprint past the generally strong defenders, who outmuscle the strikers if the approach is too direct. You have to use the speed of the faster strikers to outfox the defenders. But mastering this is not difficult, and it did not take us much time to get back to winning ways.
One complaint that we have regarding the gameplay is the excessive barging. This 360-degree 'fight' for possession, as EA put it, is a little overdone. Heavy defenders can step between the ball and the player, and send lighter strikers tumbling. With such physicality in the gameplay, the game looks much more like that in England than, say, Spain or Italy. Even English referees would blow the whistle if you ask us. Although a few days of practice will teach you how to avoid getting yourself in a situation where you can get barged. And what amount of barging by your defenders is fair play.
The crossing system is abysmal. While defending the crosses is way too easy now, putting them in the box (and scoring at the end of them) has become difficult. One major flaw we noticed was how many crosses from byline came from behind the goal line, leading to an unnecessary goal kick.
Virtual Pro finally makes it to the PC version, where you can create a player of your choice in a team of your choice. You can train him in the training arena, or fulfill his potential by playing him in matches. In this way, Harmanpreet Singh has become the first player from India to play for Manchester United as centre forward. First choice.
The commentary, as always, gets to your nerves after a while. Game developers have to come up with a system to update what the commentators speak, because after a few days of extensive play they always become repetitive.
Read on to find out about the different game modes and our verdict....