Things are warming up for me in the world of FIFA12. I’ve probably played as many FIFA12 matches over the past three days as in the 4 months since mid-October.
The goals are going in for me now. Below is today’s ‘great ordinary FIFA12 goal’—the perfect antidote to all those tedious YouTube videos of chain-’em-up tricksters. (About whom I have to ask myself: Why do they even bother playing a football game?)
This is my favourite goal of the season so far, and it’s very simple.
Watch as my star loan player, Philippe Coutinho, wins back possession, and then instigates a move down the wing. My right-back wraps his foot around the ball for a first-time MANUAL cross (this is a big deal for me!), leading to a stylish directed header into the side of the net.
I’ve seen that particular header animation once more since this goal, so it’s a definite part of FIFA12’s bulging toolbox.
You might look at the above goal and think ‘so what?’. I might think the same. It’s tough to convey in words how the heaviness of FIFA12, the way the game handles from moment to moment, makes such moves and such goals feel rewarding.
Context counts for much, of course. The goal made it 1-0 in a key match. In FIFA12 it goes much the same as in PES2012: scoring first is of paramount importance, and often decisive. Goals change games.
Over the past 24-48 hours I’ve started to believe I’m seeing the real FIFA12—most of it good, some not so good.
The bad stuff is whatever reminds me of the worst aspects of PES2012. For example, I got my Coventry City side to the League Cup quarter-final. We played Manchester United, at our ground. Three times, I took the lead; two times, Man Utd scored equalisers straight from kick-off; the third time, they only won a corner straight from their kick-off—and promptly scored from it… I lost on penalties after extra time.
Aaaargh. I hate the straight-from-kick-off nonsense in football games of the past few years. (I know, I know: ‘defend better’. I know.)
There’s also a hint of PES2012’s super-dribbling AI at times. It’s nowhere near as bad, but it’s definitely there. Usually when you’re 1-0 up in the 85th minute and your defenders are behaving strangely sluggishly.
Another bugbear—and a much more serious one—is a relative lack of fouls in each match. Of course, it’s early days for me and FIFA12, and early days for playing with those famous sliders—perhaps there’s a tweak here and a tweak there that I can use to instil more aggression.
On the plus side, I know when I’m playing West Ham (the runaway league leaders), and I know when I’m playing Peterborough United (a basement club). There’s a clear difference between them.
And FIFA12 has got player individuality. I already knew it had, but now I know it all over again. My Philippe Coutinho and Paulo Assuncao can really pass the ball and open up defences. With my default CCFC donkeys, on the other hand, I have to be uber-careful and conservative, or lose the ball. I play with semi-assisted passing.
I’m playing on Professional difficulty, the middle of 5 difficulties in FIFA12. I’m also utilising a set of gameplay slider settings that (very slightly) favour me, the human player, for speed and passing accuracy. So the true difficulty is probably somewhere between Semi-Pro and Professional. That League Cup run was not that much of an achievement really.
It’s all in aid of feeling my way in the early stages of FIFA12. I need to go up a difficulty soon, whether to World Class, or alternatively by staying on Professional and simply going the other way with the slider tweaks—to make them favour the CPU—I don’t know yet. I think the former. I’m more comfortable with the notion of observing a ‘master setting’ for difficulty. This change is going to happen sooner rather than later.
The current league table, just prior to the January transfer window opening up:
I was hoping to use this 10th position as a springboard for a late, late promotion push. I was just 6 points off the playoffs here.
Sadly, immediately after this picture was taken, I lost 2-1 away to Derby, and then 0-1 at home to Portsmouth. I might be out of the running. This is still on my quite-easy custom difficulty setting.
I tell you what, there could be some life in this game.