As I wrote in my review of PES 2012, it is now time to look at its closest competitor, FIFA 2012 from Electronic Arts. This Android game is fantastic for football fans, it costs only $5 and the fun lasts forever. The latest Android tablet, Nexus 7, is a perfect device to play the game.
After playing hundreds of matches, I must say that FIFA 2012 is a quite impressive game. Because it has a proper license, there are tons of leagues and teams you can choose. Players look familiar from the appearance and they also have their actual names.
Getting started with the game is rather easy. There is a Kick-Off mode right from the main menu. For more than just a casual time-killing match, go to Leagues or Cups. Obviously, simple practicing is also a possibility. You can tweak few aspects of the game, from the team formation to the choice of the venue. In addition to that, there is an achievement system to motivate you to explore all the game features.
Game controls are decent, it’s slightly more challenging than PES 2012 because of the three buttons along with various possible combinations. While attacking, you can shoot, pass, or sprint. Defense mode gives you the ability to switch player, slide, or tackle the opposite player. Combining some buttons and gestures controls your player to do a lot of other tricks, everything from a fast dribbling to a fake shot. Mastering all these combos can be frustrating. Fortunately, in many loading screens, there is always a random tip on how to carry out certain tricks.
How about the game play? It is really really fun. The AI system is very good, your team mates are extremely helpful setting up different variants of attacks. And of course, after a while, the secret of winning a match is rather obvious: be really patient! This is quite important as you play against a stronger team. If you pick midfield-optimized formation (my favorite is 3-5-2) and dominate the ball possession, at one point the other team’s defense will show its weakness.
Compared to PES 2012, there are some game aspects which make the match more lively. For a start, the commentary is not too repetitive, it is hardly annoying. The goalkeeper often shows his frustation, sometimes to the defenders, every time there was a close call. When a throw-in needs to be made, there is a running animation (although this gets boring after all). There is also a slight delay between the moment the referees indicates a foul until all the players stop their move. A protesting player when yellow/red card is given is really amusing to observe.
What could be improved in FIFA 2012?
Graphics would be my first request. Granted, it’s already looking quite good and I’m sure care must be taken to ensure that the performance is still acceptable. However, knowing that many Android tablets are based NVIDIA Tegra 3 or other GPU of the same grade, pushing the details to the limit would give an even fascinating game play.
Otherwise, it will be a matter of finishing touches here and there. Controls could be simplified without reducing the flexibility. Multiple leagues and cups should be allowed. In-game animation can use some variations. Smarter fellow players do not hurt as well.
Last but not least, if you can only pick one Android game and you are torn between PES 2012 and FIFA 2012, get FIFA 2012 instead. Have fun with the game!