Previews

FIFA 12: The most intelligent football game ever?

We catch up with EA and get hands on with its golden goose...

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By that we don't mean that they'll bound and gag said attacker; instead they'll run alongside their prey, patiently waiting in the best defensive position rather than charging in. It's all part of a drive to add more timing and skill to tackling, making defending more engaging. So Vinnie Jones will enjoy playing FIFA as much as Leo Messi does.

The developers are hoping that their improved 'Tactical Defending' will make online players want to play as defenders in Be A Pro 11 vs 11 games. We're not so sure about that, but it does sound like the gameplay will be suitably deepened and given the variety needed to progress the game from FIFA 11.

PRO GROW
As well as some big improvements to the presentation, including new menu screens (woo!), a cool new TV-style game build-up and a new camera angle, a more TV-like angle that will both show off the players better and look more like a game on the box, the devs are also upgrading the player intelligence.

Zoom

Calling it 'Pro Player Intelligence', this refers to how CPU-controlled players will be more aware of their own and their teammates' abilities. Fabregas will launch raking passes. Teams will utilise the long ball to Crouchy.

It'll have an effect on players' off-the-ball runs and will mark out the difference between great players and average journeymen more, between Real Madrid and Burton Albion. EA say it will "realise the fantasy of playing with real football stars".

It'll also have an effect in your Virtual Pro games because your teammates will adjust their behaviour according to what you're good at/not good at. And this will then have a knock-on effect to career mode transfers where players with certain attributes are sought.

EA are giving FIFA 12 a tagline of 'Revolution, not evolution' emphasising their big changes. Although some improvements do sound a tad similar (such as the AI) to some of FIFA 11's refinements, we're genuinely impressed by what we've seen so far and we're cup-final-excited (though not a cup final involving Stoke) about the prospect of getting to play it.

Once we get some good hands-on time we'll know if it's worth piloting our team to glory in next season's league and cup. Better lace up the virtual boots again.

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