FIFA11 was delivered yesterday (Wednesday) around noon. Whatever happened to the days when post was delivered at the crack of dawn? Never mind. It did well to get here at all yesterday. A very well done to ShopTo.
Unfortunately, I only had time for about 40 minutes’ play yesterday. This morning, I’ve had about an hour. I’ve got a lot on this week.
I was going to save up all my impressions for my regular post tomorrow, but I think I’ll split it into two. I’ll post brief first impressions now and brief second impressions tomorrow, with hopefully a longer post on Monday.
In brief, I’m not impressed at all with FIFA11. I wasn’t thrilled by the demo, but that’s no real guide. I think the series is going backwards.
I played my usual football game opener, England vs Scotland (the International fixture of my youth). Then I played England vs Germany. Then I played a Tournament. I’m partway through that tournament now. I’ve played seven full matches of FIFA11. I’m not much impressed yet.
I’ve always had two main critiques of next-gen FIFA. Number 1 is probably the lack of a decent single-player mode. It’ll be a while before I can see if that complaint has been resolved, or at least alleviated, in FIFA11. I always piss about for a bit with a new football game, playing Exhibitions and Tournaments etc., until I feel I’ve got enough of a handle on the gameplay to dive into the real substance. I won’t try out the all-new Career Mode until next week.
My Number 2 complaint has always been the absurd over-effectiveness of sprint-pressure—that’s when you squeeze some buttons and get the ball back semi-automatically. To some extent PES has this ‘feature’ too (I believe it originated in PES), but in FIFA the damn thing is near enough 90% effective all over the pitch.
I only really noticed sprint-pressure—sprint-clamping, the Claw, whatever you want to call it—being very bad in FIFA09. It’s got steadily worse, steadily more serious, steadily more notorious. Everybody, it seems, hates it.
Sprint-pressure, the swinging albatross around next-gen FIFA’s neck, is as present and effective and fucking stupid in FIFA11 as it has ever been. There’s a half-hearted new stamina system that has zero impact. I’m not the sort of player who can forget that something like this is in the game. When I don’t have that ball and I want it, I’m simply gonna squeeze them buttons…
There are great positives. Shooting is very nice indeed. There is now loads of dip on shots. Early signs are that headers have some oomph. The Slow speed setting is, predictably, hardly worthy of the name, but gamespeed can be slowed a bit more by selecting rainy weather conditions and a pitch with some wear and tear on it. A very welcome option.
It’s far too early to write off FIFA11, or next-gen FIFA as a whole, as many in the football gaming world already seem to be doing. Some PES fans have been waiting for 4 years to dance on FIFA’s grave all over again. They won’t be restrained.
I’ve always been a supporter of the next-gen FIFA ideal. But in my view the franchise has gradually retreated from the ambition it showed with FIFA08. And now the shocking thing is how little I care about FIFA11.
It was no great wrench to leave FIFA11 behind yesterday and go out to work. It was no great wrench to stop playing it just now and come to write this post.
I should be able to put in a good few hours tomorrow (Friday) morning. I’ll post my second, more in-depth impressions, on Friday afternoon.