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FIFA 12

FIFA 12 review: Does it make an Impact?

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As a defender the addition of the Impact Engine is even more significant; you'll be working out how best to push against a runner and muscle him into a position he'd rather not be in. You'll also have to be careful where you put your feet though because, with every inch of every leg now being nice and sensitive, there are far more ways to incur a foul.

It makes for more tactical tussles, more realistic tumbles and more things to consider both on and off the ball. Players are forced to take their time, mix up play, work around obstacles and ride an extra level of tension. Overall, it's a great addition - but it's not without its quirks.

Apart from the occasional Laurel and Hardy moment in the box, when players trip over their downed teammates and flop face-to-arse to the floor, referees can also show themselves to be not quite as up to speed with the new physical nuances as you'd perhaps like.

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To be fair to the refs they're often spot on and we've had to go to a super close-up slow-mo replay to see that, actually, we did get the man first and maybe shouldn't have sworn at his mum.

However, there are times when the man in black lets us get away with murder and, with the devastating crunches the ragdoll engine allows, that's not always too far from the truth.

Ever feared for Patrice Evra's life after he's been knocked clean off the pitch into a broken pile with an off the ball blind-sider? We have. The referee, however, didn't bat a lid.

But FIFA 12's physics engine does substantially more good than harm. Any moments of farce are infrequent enough to be forgiven and - from a pure enjoyment point of view - only adds to the banter between mates.

Get Stuck In
It's not the only back-of-the-box newcomer that forces you to seriously reconsider your approach to FIFA either. This year's edition sees tackling get a near complete overhaul.

What it essentially does is take away the ability to home in on the ball with a defender. In previous editions you could hold A/X and send your man scampering after the ball automatically like a heat-seeking man-missile, confident he would effortlessly dispossess the attacker if he managed to make contact with the ball.

Life's not so easy anymore. Now, holding A/X only draws your defender so far. Instead of getting stuck in and doing all the work for you he'll stop short of the attack and jockey the opponent. In theory it's your job to move in the rest of the way and time your intercepting toe poke with a press of B/circle or slide with X/square.

In practice your player never seems to be able to get close enough to stick a leg in, with an invisible wall stopping us from jockeying close enough to make contact with the ball. Not to worry though, since the option to tackle completely manually proves much more fruitful and, it turns out, far more satisfying.

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We find that running in and unleashing a standing or sliding tackle all on your lonesome is the way to go with FIFA 12. It makes you realise how much you used to rely on the old homing mechanism to hit the target. Even in a brief, one-on-one training drill we had to get used to running in a straight line to intercept.

We're glad that homing defenders are out. Manual tackling is tough but you will get used to it. It works well and, once mastered you'll feel a greater sense of defensive achievement than you did in any other FIFA title.

There's an extra twist to tackling that makes each attempt even more of an event as well; in FIFA 12 defenders don't just stick out a quick half-arsed leg in an attempt to get the ball, they properly commit to standing tackles sacrificing speed and balance as a result.

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