New signing FIFA 12 makes its debut on the Wii with the aim of keeping players happy until the impending retirement of the console. Unfortunately for systems that are coming to the end of their lifecycle, a lot of stalwart series such as FIFA tend to make versions which are only slight updates/enhancements on the previous versions, because most of the development goes into the versions on the higher end consoles, i.e. the PS3 and the Xbox 360. The FIFA series on the Wii has always tried to be the quirkier cousin of its bigger console counterparts, simply because the PS3/Xbox 360 versions are so slickly presented that the Wii could never be compared like for like. With all that said, I was hopeful this season’s FIFA would be a good game in its own right and maybe be an insight into the future of the series when it transfers to the Wii U.
The usual FIFA modes are on offer and will continue to please regular participants. There’s a ‘Streets to Stadiums’ mode where you start your player from the street and try and get them to the peak of the football pyramid, whilst ‘Be a Manager’ is practically the same but with a far greater emphasis on the team.
You can play using the Wii Remote, Nunchuk or control pad. The control pad is probably the best to play with, although it’s always fun attempting to play FIFA with the Wii Remote & Nunchuk. As you can imagine, the controls are very simple, tap the A button and you play a short pass, hold it longer and you’ll launch a 40 yard cross field ball. It’s the same with shooting, although the slide tackling is enabled by shaking the Wii Remote. The simplified controls make for very entertaining and frustrating games. The wonder goals you can create are very satisfying whilst the inability to close players down will get annoying, especially when the wrong player is selected to do the closing down – i.e. the forward 20 yards away is selected instead of the imposing centre back who is only five yards away from the onrushing striker.
The most interesting part of FIFA 12 is the FIFA City where you need to take part in games and tournaments and unlock the 100 achievements on offer such as heading in a goal or scoring first. Successfully completing the achievements increases your population and unlocks further options such as kit selection, newer better players and entry into the Intercity Cup. You see the city build up in front of you, which can get quite involving at the start, but when completed there really isn’t anything left for you to go back and replay. The 5-a-side games and cups are very enjoyable to take part in, especially with the power-ups such as the Shockwave that knocks everyone over or the Power Shot which, as you’ve guessed, is a super powerful shot that is pretty hard to stop. When combined together, however, the slightly clumsy control system and the power-ups do mean that 5-a-side games can become quite messy. Sometimes, it’s just a case of hit and hope and see what happens.
Considering the Wii’s limited graphical powers, visually, FIFA 12 looks quite inpressive, with players look quite similar to their real life counterparts. Unfortunately, the stadiums and especially the 5-a-side environments are very bland. There should be a lot more detail in the 5-a-side games because there are less players on show and there are no throw-ins or corner kicks. The FIFA City looks quite like Sim City and works quite well as a menu starter. However, the other menus offer nothing to the imagination whilst anyone used to the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions will find the loading screens infuriating and boring. The commentary is distinctively average, with statements which are obviously incorrect. For example, you over hit a long ball which goes straight through to the keeper only for the commentator to state it was a great save. The 5-a-side commentary is quite fun and suits the ‘street’ scenery. The rest of the in-game music is quite engrossing and gets you into the mood to play football.
FIFA 12 on the Wii is a very good Wii football game, howeve,r when compared to the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions it comes across quite average in almost all areas whether it’s presentation, longevity or gameplay. However, to be fair to FIFA 12, it does contains moments, such as when you score a wonder goal, that make you smile and overall it is quite an entertaining soccer sim (I know it’s called football but soccer sim sounds smoother than footy sim!). FIFA 12 is more Jimmy Bullard than Lionel Messi, but that’s no bad thing. If you want a football game on the Wii then FIFA 12 is the game to go for, it’ll be interesting to see how the series develops on the Wii U.
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