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Video Game of the Week – FIFA Soccer 12

Every so often, a video game franchise that has been around for a long time makes a huge leap forward. That is definitely the case this year with FIFA Soccer 12, an already excellent sports simulation series and by far the best soccer video game on the market today.

For many dedicated FIFA Soccer players, the changes to this year’s release may come as a bit of a shock. But after just a few minutes playing the updated version, that shock will turn to heartfelt appreciation for a game that has suddenly become even better.

The first change you will notice is a tactical defending system that drastically changes the way you play. Instead of charging in to tackle a player in possession at every opportunity, you now have to be far more patient, making sure you time your tackle to maximum effect.

FIFA Soccer 12 also adds a “player impact engine,” a new system that helps simulate the more physical side of the game. Tackle or clash with a bigger or stronger player and you might find yourself unceremoniously thrown to the ground. There are also times when players fall down after barely being touched; sadly, another realistic simulation of a trait that plagues the modern game!

Most of the competitive modes from earlier versions of FIFA Soccer are still there. Career mode lets you compete as a single player through a 15-year career, while Manager mode takes you off the field and into the world of team building and player management. There are also lots of tournaments to enter and cups to be won.

New this year are Head to Head Seasons and Online Friendlies. Head to Head Seasons puts you in an online league, which is split into various divisions. At the end of a 10-game season you can get promoted, relegated, or stay where you are based on your overall results. Online Friendlies also lets you compete online against friends but in a less rigid structure.

Finally, there is the addition of the excellent EA Sports Soccer Club, which keeps track of all your accomplishments in the various game modes – a kind of super league that compares your performance with others on a worldwide basis. The league resets each week to allow others to join and you can even allocate your points to your favorite team, so they can rank with the likes of Manchester United and Barcelona.

Beginners are well looked after in FIFA Soccer 12, with dozens of tutorials showing players how you pass, tackle and shoot. Perhaps the only drawback for complete novices is the lack of a tactical overview of the game of soccer itself. But even without this, FIFA Soccer 12 is very easy to pick-up, with step-by-step screens leading you to an appropriate set-up and skill level.

However you choose to play FIFA Soccer 12, you will be rewarded with easy-to-navigate menus, slick graphics, and super-responsive gameplay. With some innovative additions and imaginative challenges, FIFA Soccer 12 remains on top of its game!

FIFA Soccer 12 is rated “E” for everyone. Check out the ESRB video game ratings and content descriptors at ESRB.org.

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Nintendo Wii, Sony PSP, Nintendo 3DS, Windows

Genre: Sports simulation

RRP: $39.95 - $59.95

Release Date: September 27, 2011

ESRB Rating: “E” for everyone

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