FIFA 11: Official Review
by Curse

Basic Information:
Developer: EA Canada
Publisher:Electronic Arts
North American Release Date: September 28th 2010
European Release Date: October 1st 2010
Trophies: Yes, 1 4 6 34

FIFA 11 Is the latest installment to the long-lasting FIFA franchise. Building on the award winning gameplay from FIFA 10, this edition as always features many authentic licensed leagues and players. That ontop of the most realistic ball control I've ever seen in a football game, brings us FIFA 11, a near perfect mixture of authentic-ness and fantastic gameplay.

To sum it up, the gameplay is the greatest I've played in a sports game. Albeit from a bias point of view from a massive football fan, I have never saw football played so beautifully in a game. The passes feel very lifelike, they feel as weighted as they would in real life. The direction and power of the pass is now more user defined, meaning you can pick out those pin-point passes to unlock your opponents defense more so than you could before. The ball control and dribbling has also been modified, meaning you can make more intricate little touches to make up your runs. No longer do you need complex skill moves to take on players, running smartly with the ball will let you get by defenders relatively well.

Players now have more characteristics and traits, meaning their performances will match their real life selves more so than before. When John Terry challenges for a header, his traits will help the chance of him winning the ball. When you're running it down the wing with the likes of Messi, you'll find it easier to weave between players and take defenders on. Another key addition is the new goalkeeping mechanics, adapted from last years game, the goalkeeping AI will now make more realistic decisions, keepres will rush out at more appropriate times, make more realistic movements. And the player can now take control of the goalkeeper with a new goalkeeping control system.

Singleplayer is made up of the regular game-modes, but they key 'addition' to this years is career mode. I use the phrase addition loosely as it is basically manager mode and be a pro:seasons wrapped up in one. From the start you have the choice of player, player-manager or manager. Whilst playing as a player, everything is quite simple, you have no real influence on the happenings on the game, from my experience on the player setting, the only real goal you have is to get to the next stage in the squad, moving your way up to squad captain. Atthe end of the season you have the opportunity to move clubs but that's it really.

When playing as manager however you have complete control (as presumed) and it's the closest the closest they've gotten so far to matching the likes of football manager, of course it's still some way off the likes of manager simulators, but it's a good start. The transfers are simple yet effective, with a sense of realism. There are two stages to the transfer, the price you pay for the player, then the players contract. Doesn't seem like much, but when you get reasons for the transfer not going through that add to the realism, it all adds up to a very realistic feeling manager mode. That on-top of receiving emails from the likes of your assistant manager suggesting you should try out certain youth players, and other similar emails, you can soon get caught up in this 15 season long career mode

Work your way up from Accrington to Arsenal

The online is as fun as ever, due to two things, ranked matches (With a kind of ranking up system) and Pro Clubs. Ranked matches are more fun than ever, because of two main changes. The main difference is the focus on leveling after playing matches. You'll be given a screen showing you what points you've gained (And why) and even though this may seem to be a very small addition it gave winning a little more meaning to me. Also, if an opponent backs out of the game after 15 minutes, you'll be gifted with the win. In previous editions it drained the life out of online when countless opponents backed out and you lost all progress towards trophies/levels

Pro Club is based around you and your virtual pro being a part of a Pro Club and the Pro Club championships. When playing with friends this is so fun. You'll find yourself and teammates trying to string together passes and pieces of football. When it pulls off it looks and feels fantastic, and even when it doesn't work its a laugh playing with your friends. There are leagues and championships within the pro club mode, and all of your stats are tracked. The greatest part for me, was the euphoric moment of celebrating as a team, I've never had such fun in a sports game!

Teamwork challenges, not as simple as they look

Only slight improvements over last years, it's got the regular EA Sports house style across all of the menus etc. Which as always are easy to navigate. Graphically it looks fantastic, big name players look great, but as always, players in lesser known leagues just look like they've been created within the game and placed there. But with the great depth of players and leagues in there, it's to be expected. The crowd look fantastic, and crowd chants really add to the atmosphere (New feature for this year is custom crowd chants which make it feel that little bit more lifelike) especially when you're playing in one of the more well known stadiums, which I might add look fantastic. The soundtrack is fun and sets the mood quite well. Commentary would be good, if I hadn't played previous editions, copy and paste commentary really makes the game feel like not much has been worked on, and it's an old EA habit which unfortunately hasn't died off like others have.

More lifelike character models that ever.. So yep, Rooney looks his usual shrek-ish self

No real difficulty in the trophies, just a lot of time and commitment required. This is mainly due to you needing to spend 50 hours for one trophy, play 100 ranked games, 50 pro club games AND play 500 games as your virtual pro. Apart from that, the others are quite simple, and just require you to pretty much try the different game modes

Closing Thoughts
All in all it's a fantastic football game, for the football fan. New options such as the two button control scheme make it more approachable to new comers, but to get the full potential out of the game it really does help to be a fan of the sport (The same goes for the majority of sports games) But all in all i've had hours of good times playing it!

Gameplay: 9/10
The closest to lifelike play i've ever seen in a football game, still room for improvement, but the game just feels fantastic

Singleplayer: 8/10
Enough there to keep you coming back for more, but only if you're that interested in it

Multiplayer: 9/10
No annoying multiplayer trophies made the online more enjoyable this year for me, matchmaking is a breeze and hours of fun can be put into the online either competitively or for fun

Technical: 7/10
Not much of a great technical feat, but there aren't many flaws. Score is brought down by the massive similarities to last years edition within the technical department

Overall: 8/10