Demo Impressions: FIFA 12

FIFA12 Demo 580x357 300x184 Demo Impressions: FIFA 12

Rooney and Wilshere set a competitive tone for this year's outing.

UPDATE: Find out how the new PES 2012 demo stacks up against FIFA right here.

There’s no rivalry in the realm of sports video games quite like the one between Pro Evolution Soccer and EA’s Fifa franchise. EA held a comfortable lead for quite some time until Konami made enough drastic improvements to last year’s iteration of PES. EA has sworn that Fifa 12 is their most complete entry in their franchise boasting all-around improvements to control, AI and animations. This trifecta of improvements go a long way in delivering a more true-to-life experience on the pitch, and improvements to Online and Career modes are sure to keep fans coming back for more. And EA is hoping that this widens the gap between these two franchises once again.

The biggest improvements for Fifa 12 lie more in the gameplay than anything else. Graphically, it’s very similar to Fifa 11, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  The game already looks great with beautifully rendered players, stadiums and fields. However, a new animation system called the Impact Engine has been developed to capture the unpredictable nature of football. This new engine takes into account the fitness and trajectory of bodies as they collide together and with the ball. This leads to some interesting scenarios as the system will operate among all twenty-two players on the pitch whether they’re close or away from the ball. I discovered how this system works first-hand in a rather hilarious error on my part. As I was storming Manchester City’s defenses with Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas (now with Barcelona FC), I accidentally collided with Robin van Persie causing the ball to roll helplessly into an opponent’s possession. It was a sign that I was in store for a different approach to this year’s Fifa.

Another improvement to the animation and controls is the degree to which individual players will control the ball and perceive strategic advantages. The Precision Dribbling feature allows for players to play the ball close, shield from defenders and move more fluidly across the pitch. The new system works really well as I felt more in control of the ball especially around the boundaries. This new system works just as advertised, and it cuts down on frustrating foibles around the boundaries.

The new AI addition to Fifa 12 is the new Pro Player Intelligence. The new feature blends ease-of-use with real-time strategy. Essentially, the players on the pitch are all aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Players will interact with each other accordingly to prepare for the best setups. This can be anything from cross passes for headers, or ground passes for more controlled strikes. Players will adapt their actions according to their counterparts. This worked well as much as I perceived it to. I noticed that certain trajectories were different as I passed to different players, but I’ll get on more of that later.

fifa 12 34ddfd41878f0a 300x168 Demo Impressions: FIFA 12

The new collision system brings a degree of unpredictability.

The next improvement is how EA handled the defensive control. The game still included a one-button “press;” however, a more technical system has been installed for more freedom. As a defender controls the ball, the player has several angles of attack. A player can hold down the left trigger to enter a “press” mode, which heighten’s an offensive player’s chance to make a mistake. The player may also draw assistance from a teammate using the right bumper button to double up on an opponent. Players are also able to jockey for position with an opponent from behind or to the side by pressing the B button. This triggers a tug at the offensive player giving the defender a chance to vie for a takeaway.

The game controlled well as players have a little more weightiness this time around. Some players my find it less fluid on an initial run, but practice will eventually net understanding for how everything comes into play. The collision system works very well, thus putting the onus on the player to weave in and out of defenders and consistently produce fluid ball movement. With that said, the passing indication feels a tad bit loose. The passing indicator is much too small, and offensive players seem like they don’t play a pass tight enough. They were more apt to wait for the ball to come to them rather than attack it to gain control outright.

Rounding out the presentation is a wonderful duo of commentators in Martin Tyler and newcomer, and Premier League legend, Alan Smith. From what I could tell despite my short time with the demo is that this is a very solid team of commentators. The commentary seemed very fluid and natural as the match played on. Tyler delivers his lines with a sort of dry humor that’s sorely missing from most sports titles. Smith on the other hand helps make sense of what’s happening on the pitch due to his experience as a former player for Arsenal and England.

As I said before, the game is gorgeous graphically with lush stadiums filled with bright colors and pageantry. It’s been a standard for EA sports titles, but unfortunately is that the other standard is that the demo seemed a bit rushed. There were certain points where animations went janky as transitions kicked in and out. There were also a couple issues with slowdown as the camera panned around the field, however, that mainly happened during transitions and replays so it didn’t hinder on the gameplay.

Despite some nitpicky control and animation issues, this year’s Fifa feels the most true-to-life as a football game gets. There are some definite changes that make this a more technical game of footy, and long-time players will welcome those changes. The demo is now available on the Xbox Live, PSN and EA’s Origin store for PC. Fifa 12 will be released in North America on September 27, 2011.

0 Demo Impressions: FIFA 12

Fifa 12 Gamescom Trailer courtesy of .


  1. Not to happy with the gameplay. It’s awkward and feels very unreal. Playing on legendary is almost impossible to score a goal.

    • Bobs, I’ve just finished work and will give it a go before the Utd match but I must say that I remember thinking the same about FIFA 09, 10 and 11 Demos.

      So I think we should keep with it and we’ll (hopefully) be rewarded.

    • well on legendary, it should be near impossible to score a goal. it should take a moment of pure brilliance to beat the keeper. as far as i am concerned , ea are on the correct path

      • Correct path yes but the feel and movement is beyond me. I’ve played fifa for years and this feels so different.

        • You have to remember that every year the game will feel different, it takes some time to get used to. The first couple new FIFA’s for me felt weird and I hated them at first. But after time, I learned to love them. 50% of people will complain that it doesnt feel enough like FIFA 11, while the other 50% will complain that it feels too much like FIFA 11.

  2. Horrible game to pick up and play. Have just had 4 games on the demo and still feel I’ve no control of my defenders. Can’t get anywhere near the attackers, and even when I do they just do that ‘spin’ move to open up space. Hell, Bacary Sagne just did it, then crossed for an easy headed goal. Note to EA, professional footballers very rarely do that move, tone it down.

    Attack wise – the players have no chemistry. The passes have no zip, even when hit at max, and the players react as though they’ve never received a pass from any footballer ever.

    First impressions are this is nowhere near as good as previous FIFAs

    • I might add the crowed still looks like paper people and I really can’t tell a difference in noises from them. Disappointing.

  3. IIt’s good to hear I’m not the only one who thinks this. I can score goals in legendary 11 . This is just soo awkward . Feels like the ball is always on the same part of the pitch for me. And ya. No zip on balls surprisingly the fines crosses fly real fast. And sometimes player movement is really choppy.

  4. as bobs just said , a few hours back , gameplay is awkward and not like the previous fifas , the defending in the demo seems hard and need to tone down the “turning move ” , making space and moving past defenders , the tactical defending they havent thaought it through enough in my opinion

  5. It’s difficult to defend & hard to score, but that makes the game even better if you ask me. I don’t want to score at will & win every game, that’d be boring. There’s now an art to defending & I’m guessing that all you guys having a moan use to hold down “pressing button” to tackle? I know I did.
    It’s a case of keeping the basics I’ve experienced in passed FIFA titles & learning something new.

  6. its gonna take a while to get use to defending especially for me because i like to play more defensive minded on fifa games, tackling is so different and new ive really gotta start the lower levels and work my way back up to legendary. however scoring is great in this game when you can score and even getting scored on is actually not conetsted at all. ive got 2 weeks to get this game down i cant wait for ultimate team, career mode and clubs.

  7. Kick rocks homie. Little kid? Neanderthal you are. I do like playing fifa. Your a genius. What other words of encouragement do you have going up in the pathetic thing you call a brain mate?

  8. They need to license the Home Depot Center, and fast. It doesn’t make any sense that the only MLS stadium out there is BC Place, home of the worst team in the league in the Whitecaps!

    • Totally agree with this. It’s the u.s. main stadium. Home of the best mls team. Plus its also chives team. Not that I give two shits about chives Mexican pride team but it juat makes sense.

      • Bob your just a hater im sure you will be buying thegame when it comes out btw mls is a shit league galaxy is a shit team and you are a shit person

  9. I Know Right! I cant belive how awkward it is to defend. In Fifa 11 always slide tackled or did a standing tackle easily! but now it wont even let me get to the guy you know what im saying? But like you guys said, it will take time and willing for that but im still gonna critic on the game so far

  10. I am so disappointed by the new gameplay. Defending is clunky and not responsive, in my opinion it is a lot worse than the prior FIFA. On the offense, you can dribble much more easily ( personally I like that), passing is more natural, but players AI is still too canned and it is slightly harder to score. Now like most people said, 3-minute halves makes it tough to judge, especially the offense, but I feel like FIFA 12 is quite a step back. They tried something new, but it does not work.

    • I’m finding it does work now. But still needs some tuning. Some tackles come off awkward and there supposed to be the most real of them yet. The ai is pretty Damn good as well now that I notice players moving more than in 11 . Go Chelsea blues !

      • Alright Bobs, I am a FIFA veteran, I had a blast with FIFA 08, 09, 10 and 11, but this one is simply the worse in the past 5years. I typically play in Legendary because that’s where players move the most naturally (no dumb AI waiting for you to move), in FIFA 12 the AI sucks.
        Animations are better, graphics slightly better but the core gameplay is not good. I am even thinking of trying PES…I have not played PES since I sold my Xbox 5 years ago!

    • Totally agree, they tried something new but it doesn’t work. Defending in Fifa11 is a bit one-dimensional, but the bottom line is that you’re actually having an impact on the game – you can harass attackers, put them off, force them to change what they’re trying to do.
      Fifa12 defending is just cr*p because you have no impact on the game. Jockeying is pointless ‘cos you can’t get anywhere near the ball or the player. The standing tackle has been turned into a ridiculous lunge that pulls you totally out of position. Both result in the attacker just playing on as if you’re not there. 
      I’ve bought and played footy games for over 15 years; every year there are modifications that enhance the gameplay and realism. However, this time they have totally messed it up – defending in Fifa does need enhancing but they have got it horribly wrong. I really hope that something changes in time for the release date, but I doubt it….

      • All you fellows blaming FIFA 12’s new defence system are aweful losers. FIFA nailed the concept of defending superbly. Defending is an art and you need to learn it to win games, not by just pressing a button, get the ball, then show some funny fients and shoot at the  post as it used to be in FIFA 11. Playing a game in legendary mode is also easy as I can easily press the comp player , and if my defender is misplaced coz of that, i can use call 2nd defender to help me. The reason why I moved to PES 2011 and adored it is coz of shit defending in FIFA 11. Now FIFA 12 is damn good. Defenders do what they are supposed to do. Performing fients have some meaning now. dribbling the ball with a star player is more satisfying. Build up play is important. jockeying is key., tugging, sliding, every thing is awesome. Collision system feels clumsy a bit, but wish they would sort out by the time they release the game. All you so called legendary players of FIFA 11, play Semi Pro in FIFA 12 and win a game now, oh yeah using new defensive system.

        • If I want to play real football, I get out of the house and go and play some pick-up games. I have been playing football for 30 years, trust me I love that sport. Now if I just want to relax and have fun trying to do crazy things that I cannot do in real life (Yeah, I am not as good as Iniesta or Messi), then I switch on my video game console and play FIFA. FIFA 12 does some things very well compared to the prior game, like dribbling or quick throw-ins for instance. But defense feels like a chore…sure after a while you get used to it but you have to be very patient, which means that you spend a lot more time defending than before. That’s just no fun. Winning a game is actually not that hard, even in Legendary, but what is the point of spending 60% of the game “containing” the opponent, calling second player for help and wait for a mistake.

        • It feels incomplete to me? They “hardly” nailed it.

    • I totally agree. Good thing I played the demo before buying it. Is PES any good?

  11. guy lets not judge the game by the demo,i mean i’m sure that many updates are going to come out to fix the issues and bugs in th game.and anyway 3min for a half is quite a short time for anyone to fully test the game(i love fifa 11 but i hated it’s demo but now i love them both :)

  12. this tactical defending sucks…it is really hard to gain the ball back due to the fact that your not really pressuring the attacker, your just containing him and he can easily go past you…i liked fifa 11 defending system better

  13. I was waiting so long for the demo, and when i got it. I tried to convince myself to love it, but i couldn’t. The new defender feature sucks!! I Cant get the ball, it wont let you run at the player, also it is IMPOSSIBLE to score on Legendary mode, i’v been playing FIFA for a long time, and i play Legendary mode all the time, but here, I cant score. I am really dissapointed because unlike FIFA 09,10 and 11, I’v been waiting more for 12, even the demo. but i can say that i hate it

  14. You will regret i u dont get this game-trust me

  15. best football game on the planet- FIFA 12!!!

  16. The Demo is great, you actually have to THINK to defend, you can’t just press the X button (if you’re on the PS3) and tackle at will even if your defender is a 73 level, or a 87 level, it won’t make a difference.
    The abilities on Fifa 11 were useless, the Dribble speciality in particular, since it didn’t really matter because you could just hold down the X button and tackle away the ball even if it was with Messi or C. Ronaldo.. Also the Acrobat ability is pretty useless in Fifa 11, since wether playing online against a mate or a random person, or playing against the PC, they will just run to the sidelines and try a cross for the header, specially with Chelsea.. That’s not how real football works, there are a lot of crosses indeed, but they don’t try for headers 100% of the time and they don’t spin like freaking Zidane all the time.
    On 10 real football matches you rarely watch a player attempt the spin move on 1 of those 10 games.

    What I’m saying is, Fifa 12 is great, the best by a long shot.
    The Dribbler ability is actually put to use, the player vision exists but if you can’t make plays then it’s useless and it’s your fault, defending is great, you have to TIME your tackle and you can go tactical by sending a teammate to PRESS the player (not try a stupid tackle and be left behind with an easy crossover) and they will actually make the offensive player make a mistake, not all the time, just like real life.
    The passing is fluid, the player movement is fluid as can be, and the shots from outside the box are actually more accurate, they don’t just fly away to the moon like in Fifa 11, but they don’t go in easily either, making it a pretty thing when it does.

    I am pretty sure everyone complaining about the demo used to do all that I said.
    Sidelines, crosses, header, and hold down the X button for a easy tackle and doubles.

    Try playing like a real football match, you’ll be rewarded,
    Try playing like an arcade football match you’ll be disappointed.

    P.S: The game actually makes sense of a player’s true ability and personality, check Iniesta for example.

    • I totally agree with you, not all the dribbling skills were useful in FIFA 11 they were just acrobatics, now in fifa12, the purpose for those moves like fake passes and shots are totally put in their real use thanks to the new defending that reflects the real thing.

  17. it’s funny to see how people just can’t adapt to different conditions. Yes, the defending is harder, it needs precission and timing otherwise you will be leaving huge spaces and goal opportunities, but I find that very positive, in real football make pressing against a team is a very hard thing to do and master, tackle needs precission and timing also. Games should be like the real thing right? I like that FIFA is pointing in that direction this year.

  18. Sergio Donato says:

    you write: “The Demo is great, you actually have to THINK to defend, you can’t just press the X button (if you’re on the PS3)”

    Yes, it’s true. But i spend too much time defending and when i have the opportunity to attack i can’t  go wrong a single pass. Otherwise, it starts all over again. Defense, defense, defense. Ok, I need practice, but the feeling is that Fifa12 is too similar to a job! 
    When I turn PS3 the first though is: “No, i don’t want to play Fifa12. I already worked for today.”

  19. Daniz-petin says:

    i hate the new defending it is almost impossible to actually tackle players then when you get the ball if you try and pass forward it just gets intercepted so far really frustrated with the demo hoping the defending changes a bit for the final game

  20. fifa 12 is a dissapointment says:

    wasted my money buying this. fifa11 is better. controls on ps3 is F wierd n crappy. 

  21. well usually it take three or four games for me to get use to the defending or any controls, but this time fifa 12 is BS. espiecally this new defending, who ever made it or gave the idea, is one effed up guy, makin the square button for tackle, atleast put it on the X button, so that the defender wont shoot from their box crazy to the other end when they get the ball, we all kno we press X few times when we defend, the square button makes it even more harder. i know i can change it to X in the controller setting, but it also has some weird side effects. 
    well not buying any new fifas as long as this BS defending is in use. what a waste of my money. cant even sell it to others, coz i cant give BS to others. so whoever plannin to buy this game, don’t. instead of making yourself amused, this will upset you. 

  22. I got so frustrated with it… I cancelled my preorder (this is posted AFTER i preordered it). BF3 and FIFA12 were my 2 most anticipated games of 2011…they both suck (according to the demo’s).

  23. Best4gunner says:

    i need to turn back to my fifa11,because i cant just be wasting my time with fifa12 while the computer taking the 90 percent of the possession and my defenders cant get near them.EA must accept they v made a great mistake.the relationship between the player carryn the ball and the defenders is very poor.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Whats bad about fifa 12.
    -Graphic, players look awful
    -possesion, the vings are to low, so they forces u to play on the midelfield
    -keeper, the keeper is over rated and u need to be good at shooting to score. u cant even make it easier to score! 
    -pace, when i am a 94 fast rather black fast man a slow white man can reach me! 
    -online, laggs,freezes,ultimate team is shit!
    -menu,slow…to slow

    FIFA UPDATE THIS! everybody who arent happy with fifa 12,…get ur money back for it 14 october,so fifa will get it in its face!!!

  25. Anonymous says:

    Whats bad about fifa 12.
    -Graphic, players look awful
    -possesion, the vings are to low, so they forces u to play on the midelfield
    -keeper, the keeper is over rated and u need to be good at shooting to score. u cant even make it easier to score! 
    -pace, when i am a 94 fast rather black fast man a slow white man can reach me! 
    -online, laggs,freezes,ultimate team is shit!
    -menu,slow…to slow

    FIFA UPDATE THIS! everybody who arent happy with fifa 12,…get ur money back for it 14 october,so fifa will get it in its face!!!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Whats bad about fifa 12.
    -Graphic, players look awful
    -possesion, the vings are to low, so they forces u to play on the midelfield
    -keeper, the keeper is over rated and u need to be good at shooting to score. u cant even make it easier to score! 
    -pace, when i am a 94 fast rather black fast man a slow white man can reach me! 
    -online, laggs,freezes,ultimate team is shit!
    -menu,slow…to slow

    FIFA UPDATE THIS! everybody who arent happy with fifa 12,…get ur money back for it 14 october,so fifa will get it in its face!!!

  27. Anonymous says:

    Whats bad about fifa 12.
    -Graphic, players look awful
    -possesion, the vings are to low, so they forces u to play on the midelfield
    -keeper, the keeper is over rated and u need to be good at shooting to score. u cant even make it easier to score! 
    -pace, when i am a 94 fast rather black fast man a slow white man can reach me! 
    -online, laggs,freezes,ultimate team is shit!
    -menu,slow…to slow

    FIFA UPDATE THIS! everybody who arent happy with fifa 12,…get ur money back for it 14 october,so fifa will get it in its face!!!

  28. Football lover says:

    Fifa 10 was good, but a bit buggy, so it needed to be improved.
    Fifa 11 was less buggy, but the gameplay was a little bit worse, because you when changing to another player I had to press like 3 times to get the right one.
    Now, with Fifa 12 it’s worse than ever. I hardly get the right player (sometimes I don’t even see where my cursor is, because it is on a player not even near the ball), the game reacts slower, which is very frustrating, especially online, and defense as well as offense are worse than before.

    Starting with the offense. Players are not going deep or make smart moves, so that you can pass to them. So, you wait for a team mate to walk free, and you wait, and you wait. No one is moving, especially forward. This was much better in fifa 10 and 11, where you could make some beautiful combinations on midfield an in the attack to make a goal. Now, just pick a star attacker and go dribbling and running and (because of the bad defense system) you might just pass like 8 defenders and make your goal. Not really satisfying to me as a football lover.

    Then the defense. Defense is about positioning your players in the right way, so that there is no space for the other team to make a goal. So, it’s about tactics and positioning. Well, tactics, I can’t change formations and tactics in online 1-to-1 competition (am I missing something or is this turned off for some game modes?). So, no tactics there. Then, positioning is very hard, because what I said earlier I can’t get the right player when I change my cursor. Also, the players that I’m not are not positioning well, so they leave holes, are not giving me backup, and are not marking the other attackers of the opponent. What am I to do then? So, the new system might work rather well for 1 on 1 defending, but not for defending as a whole team. The AI of my team mates is bad, the changing of the cursor to another player is bad, and I cannot choose a good tactical system (like telling my team to play pressing, or defend tight around the center of my own penalty area, etc…).

    I just don’t get it. First Pro Evolution Soccer was very close to perfection with PES 4 (and maybe 6), then it went wrong. Now, Fifa was on track with Fifa 10, and every year it gets worse. Why? A football game must be intuitive and must be about football, not about playing a video game into perfection (that’s arcade style). PES 4 and Fifa 10 were close, but now we’re heading the wrong way again. Too bad.

    Oh, just one more thing. Why change the penalty system from Fifa 10. What was wrong with that. Now, I have to play some kind of mini game arcade thingy to shoot on goal instead of just choosing a corner and shoot.

    My advice. Take Fifa 10, and make it better. Take out the bugs, and try to work on the changing of the cursor to another player. If you take that into perfection, little more is needed to make a perfect footy. “Never change a winning team, EA!”.

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