HCF VIDEOGAME SPECIAL FEATURE: FIFA 12 VS PRO EVOLUTION 12





 
 
Its that time of year again, where two heavyweights go into their annual battle for the right to be crowned “the best“, where two sets of fans argue once more into which one deserves to hold the mantle of the “Ultimate footie sim!“, yes folks its:
 
                                                     FIFA VS PRO 2012
 
And for the last week our very own Ross Hughes has been playing both games to give our reader his honest assessment in which giants of the football field will win this year’s Champion’s League.
 

FIFA 12: THE REVIEW

 Its not hard for me to say and quite obvious to gamers that FIFA is the game to beat this year.  Last year’s addition won massive critical acclaim and kicked PRO well out of the football field where it watched from the stands, crying like Gazza as its counterpart put the beautiful game right in front of our eyes.  FIFA was soo good that you could smell the football field from the screen, felt the rush of pure joy when you scored a last minute winner, but while I am ringing its praises here, the question remains in that “how can you better perfection?”.  Its impossible, so is FIFA 12 going to be same as 11 but with an updated database?

Well not quite!

You can call them fools at EA, but they have tinkled with the winning team.  Like Claudio Ranieri, they felt the need to change when they really did not need too.  But unlike the “Tinkerman”, its not their meddling that will see the game designers getting the sack.  What they done could have been foolish and upset the hardcore base of fans but in their wisdom, they have created an even better game than last year, yes guys, FIFA 12 is the real deal and one that looks and plays beautifully.

Once FIFA uploads onto your screen, you will not be forgiven to think that this is just the same game.  You get the usual football field greeting where you can take shots at the goalkeeper and of course the now tradition FIFA Soundtrack blares from your speakers (the CD should be out soon), its here where you have that feeling that you meeting up with an old friend.  Its only when you play your first game that you notice the difference straight away between year 11 and 12.

Before I get to the beast of the game, the one addition that feels like the football has come out of the screen and smacked you right in the face, can I add just how gorgeous the game looks.  I was like “WOW!”, the beautiful game just became more pretty and the added touch of two sets of commentators just brings class to the game play.  Yes folks, how do they replace Andy Gray from the talking box?  Easy they replace him with three more.  Now we have Martin Tyler and Alan Smith in some matches and the voices of Clive Tysdley and Andy Townsend in others, and I loved it.   This gets rid of the repetitive tones that all football games suffers from and is no denying that this feels like you are actually playing a real life game!

Once you get past the seduction of the graphics then its on to the game play and once it kicks off, I did notice straight away that the game is more slower than last year, but then after playing PRO 12 you will see the difference.  Lets just be honest and say there is q huge difference in the speed of the two games.  I will get to PRO later but FIFA is  slow in terms of what its rival offers.  This game is what I would call the “thinking man’s game!”.  You could call FIFA 12 a game of chess, where you just can not pick up the controller and bang out a game.  Even hardcore fans who have lived and breathed this franchise all the way back when it was first released on the original Playstation are in for the biggest shock of their lives. 

  

 

Lets tell you how it happened to me.

Like all FIFA titles that just come out, I ignored the new features and went straight into an Exhibition game.  I picked my usual team Liverpool to control, clicked on World Class and decided to test the water with a ten minute game against the mighty Portsmouth (I was not going to play Barcelona…I am crazy but not that crazy).   So there I sat with the controller in my hand, looking around at the lovely stadium and blown away by the rich detailed graphics and the game kicked off.  I knocked the ball from Gerrard to Downing and had the ball taken away from me by a great tackle, so I decided to tackle back, but found the usual button not working.  “What the f….” echoed around my brain.  I honestly just did not know what was happening, I run after the Pompy player and tried again, but once more I could get nowhere near him.  Before I knew it I was 3.0 down, and anger and frustration begin to take its toll.  Yes FIFA may look the same but damn those makers because they have done the unthinkable and actually made an art out of tackling.

Where once you could just hold down on a button and nick the ball away, here its all about timing with skill and its a rude awakening.  FIFA 12’s control system is built around jockeying the player.  When you hold down your favourite button to tackle the difference hits you right in the face because your player will just track the attacker and remain a few feet away without ever lunging in.  Its up to you to decide how to win the ball and  The tricky part is how you then go on to win the ball.

If you time your tackle wrong then the attacker will walk past you like you are not there and I swear this will frustrate the shit out of you.  If you fortunate to actually get the ball then its a good chance you be greeted straight after with a red card because believe me, it has happened many many times in the first week of playing.  Its been two weeks now and I am still learning the trade but I will say that pulling off the most perfect tackle is the same rush of joy you get when you have just scored a 50 yard screamer.  It will take you time to muster and there is an option for the gamer to switch back to the old style of playing, but I stress you stick by it, especially if you are going to go into the much improved and even better online play!

One of the other new functions FIFA 12 boasts is the Player Impact Engine, a device that the makers claim is the biggest thing to happen to the franchise!  Yes, it does make the game even more real-life like, players get knocked and pulled like the real thing but you be too busy getting your head around the defending aspect to really notice this new creation.

Scoring is still the same, not really tweaked at all from last years addition and the dreaded Penalty bar is still there in all its glory. 

In a canny move by the creators for the first time ever the Ultimate Team is present in the retail edition.  This function has become really popular over the last few additions allowing the gamer to start the card-trading fun with free packs.  By putting it for free for those who have never tried this before means an addiction craze could begin even though you’ll need to buy new packs to complete your dream team.

All the other functions are present and correct, all the tournaments you have grown to love, Virtual Pro and of course the career  mode which for me personally is the one I am really looking forward too.

I love nothing more than creating a 17 year old kid and starting off on the path of glory.  Over the years I feel FIFA have not done this aspect justice and once again I felt let down by this particular route.  The Football manager aspect is lacking with realistic AI, I mean you can buy playe
rs for a club that you really should not be able to but then if you want an in-depth manager game then you be picking up Football Manager 12 and not this.  The player/manager game is more fun but again suffers from the same problems.  My biggest gripe is the career mode that once again made me want to weep.

Starting off as a young hotshot, I was straight into the team and even though I  was not playing well, I was never dropped or taking off at half time.   In one game I even had a stinker on purpose to see if I would be hooked, but nothing!  In fact it got quite depressing seeing the same players chopped and changed over and over!  I could actually read the game after three games because it was always Bellamy on, Kuyt off and this for me still lacks the quality that PRO offers in their career mode!

But with those moans aside, FIFA 12 is still the beast of football sims.  AI is much better and damn the game is hard on world class, and I do mean hard.  I still have not won a game and at times I have nearly picked up my console and chucked it because while I have passed and passed and passed some more, I still find myself on the centre circle not getting anywhere, and then the other team just rip me open with sublime one touch football.

FIFA 12 is a marked improvement on 11, it may divide fans because of the changes but if you are willing to put in the practise then damn you will be rewarded so this leaves just two begging questions, “How can FIFA 13 top this?” and what can PRO 12 do to even match what this offers?

 

 

 

PRO EVOLUTION 2012: The Review

“What the f………….”

Yes those words echoed around my brain once more when I had my first taste of the once greatest football sim in the world.  Here we have two different beasts which leaves gamers with a delicious choice to make.  Either stick to a “detailed football game where skill and thought are required” or go for “crazy fun of the highest order!”, because this is what PRO 12 is all about, crazy bonkers fun that will take your breath away.

The best thing you can do is actually play FIFA before PRO because you may then appreciate what this 2012 offers, but before I get to the reason why I am not going to jump on the bandwagon of PRO haters (and there seems a few!), lets start off by loading the game and yes when its up on the screen, you can not help but feel its a cheep version of its counterpart!  The lack of good music on its soundtrack, the not so rich graphics and of course the usual sigh when you see names like Merseyside Reds which because of the lack of License (due to FIFA) we all know should be called Liverpool!

Everything that made fans not like PRO is all present and correct and let me make this clear, until PRO can do something about the lack of real player names and the teams, it will always be put in the shade with its rival.  The simple reason for that is there are gamers out there who have and will put their noses in the air at the lack of detail and Pro has always suffered from this.  For me personally I have always been a PRO fan and to get around the false names I have often used the “edit!” button which I guess many of you out there have!  Yes the lack of actual kit design does put you off, but PRO has always worked for me because the game play has been simply breathtaking.   Yes I have to put my hand on my heart and admit that the last few years the makers have taken their eyes off the ball which has enabled FIFA to overtake and how can they compete with a game that now offers everything all football fans need!

Well it seems they have gone back to basics and injected something into PRO12 that even FIFA can not offer and that is incredible fun.  Forget about trying to tackle and the defending aspect which of course FIFA is all about, here from the off you are greeted to a game that will blow you away!  I was staggered by how fast the game play was.  For my first game in exhibition, I went England Vs Austria at the new Wembley stadium, clicked on World Class and found myself 4.0 down after 10 minutes.  This was nothing to do with me struggling to defend, but the fact I was taken aback by the speed in which the ball pings back and fore with ferocious speed.  Believe me, it makes FIFA 12 seem very slow!

I just loved it from the off.  This is really a hark back to the days of old and I will argue with any football fan who tells me that they will get no enjoyment out of this.  Even when I ended up 5.0 down (in the same game), I then had a moment of pure joy because controlling Rooney, I went past four players, skipped around the keeper and slotted the ball into the empty net.  Yes I may have lost 6-1, but that memory of the goal will stick with me for a very long time!

Of course there is a downside to it all.  By focusing on the attack aspect, the game is awash with goals, and this feels mores like an Arcade sim than a real life football game.  The AI of the strikers is frightening (try playing Barcelona on World class), but that means the AI of the defenders is not so good.  Quite often I was pulled out of position for no fault of my own and the game also lacks the richness of FIFA 12.  Also the Goalkeepers are a nightmare at times, quite often the fumble the ball which means last ditch defending by yourself- exciting? yes! Realistic? no!

All the old modes are back with the Master League once again proving this games saviour!  If there is one thing FIFA would wish to have it would be this, and fans will love the new tweaks to the already successful game play!

The career mode is also more better than FIFA.  Yes the continuing cuts to your agents is very annoying but this does actually make you feel like a pro and even though playing in an attacking midfield role and still not scored yet, I love the fact that I am becoming really popular with my fans because of my bone crunching tackles and those three assists that helped my team win three games on the trot.  I am only a few games away from scoring I can feel it, and I am still waiting for my international call up!

PRO 12 is a crazy blast that could not be more different to FIFA and to prove how addictive it could be, my young son has been playing this more than FIFA over the last few days and when I asked him why he said:

“Because Dad its fun, look at his……” and he showed me a mazy run in which he went past four defenders before hitting a twnety yard screamer that just went wide….something you will not be able to do in the more stricter counterpart!

 

 

THE FINAL VERDICT!

 

 

Another ground breaking addition to the long running franchise.   Long term fans may not like the new defend policy but it adds to the game once you have mastered it, and the game has never looked or felt better.  Simply breathtaking even though the career modes still need to be worked on!

                                                                             Rating: ★★★★☆

 Can not compete with the better looking FIFA and still suffers from the lack of licence that sees you playing with teams like Merseyside Red.  But instead of the FIFA approach of think and move, this game will appeal to fans who just love to have a game full of high speed.  The gameplay is staggering and because its so different to what its counterpart offers, its a total different beast and marked improvement from recent years.

                                                           Rating: ★★★½☆

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About Ross Hughes 564 Articles
Since my mother sat me down at the age of five years of age and watched a little called Halloween, I have been hooked on horror. There is no other genre that gets me excited and takes me to the edge of entertainment. I watch everything from old, new, to cheap and blockbusters, but I promise all my readers that I will always give an honest opinion, and I hope whoever reads this review section, will find a film that they too can love as much as I do! Have fun reading, and please DO HAVE NIGHTMARES!!!!!!

1 Comment

  1. It’s been a while since I last played a FIFA game and it was quite fun, how you described PRO to be. It seems it’s become a much more technical game which has its plus points but also it’s downsides. Fab review!

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