Some important duels have already passed in the newly started soccer season but this month we get again a huge classic on our plate: EA’s FIFA and Konami’s PES again fighting for the golden ball. FIFA 11 tries to score with some new features like Personality+ and playable keepers while PES 2011 again tries to get new licenses and keeps deepening the gameplay. Let’s see what FIFA 11 has under the hood.
FIFA 11 has two big new features where Personality+ is “most” innovating. This makes players with certain properties to behave on the field according to their capabilities. In modern football there’s a lot of attention towards power in duels, endurance and balance so don’t expect a strong Messi or fast Ibrahimovic in FIFA 11, but rather the opposite. Big strong defenders will try to give fast attackers a “push” in the back, while offensive players will try to avoid this with their speed. This feature was already present in FIFA 10 but EA has been meddling extensively with the physics to make it as realistic as possible.
Personality+ has more to offer than just brute force. The biggest change is in the passing system. No more X/A bashing to cross the entire field or do perfect one-twos. The direction and force needs to be precise to make a good pass possible and avoid interception. Personality+ also makes that better players get the hang of passing faster than lesser FIFA gods. On one side it’s logical that for instance Kaka is more precise in his passes than a player from a lesser league, but it does make for a thorn in the eye to those that like playing with their “pub team”. Why play with slow Belgian teams when you’ve got Real Madrid and FC Barcelona at your disposal?
Personality+ takes ups and downs of each player into account. One will be able to control a ball faster, while someone like Xabi Alonso has a good long distance shot. All these capabilities of a player have a huge effect on how he acts on the field.
The second big innovation is the payable keeper. With a gigantic advertising campaign this was announced to the world; We are 11! I myself am not completely convinced of this addition though. It’s fun to have the possibility to play as goalie, but who wants to do nothing for 90% of the time? The system itself is pretty well worked out. When danger comes towards you, a circle is shown to position yourself correctly. The trajectory the ball will follow is displayed with a colored line so you have an idea of where the ball will go to and it’s up to you to make a dive at the right time and hopefully catch the ball.
The renewed career has all the modes from last year and now it’s possible to play with a player (Be a Pro mode), be a team manager, or combine both. Little new under the sun, but most of all you’ll be astonished by all the cleaning up EA has done. Everything feels more natural, transfers are smoother and the menus have been reworked so they are a lot easier to use.
Graphically the game is almost identical to its predecessor. The stadiums have been cleaned up a bit and the green grass looks a bit fresher. The biggest issue of FIFA are the ugly faces that are supposed to be identical to the real players. Maybe it’s time EA puts some work into this.
FIFA 11 is again a beautiful total package. With regards to passing, duels and realistic actions this game is with head and shoulders above all the competition. By adding Personality+ every player now has his own qualities which can be clearly seen in a game. The backdraw of this is that lesser teams are hit hard by this feature. FIFA 11 keeps improving and that’s what we want, but we start wondering more and more each year why we have to keep paying the same amount of money each time for “small” innovations.