It took me a moment to realize what it was, but from first time I saw the FIFA Football box, I knew there was something missing. The cover art was the same as EA Sport's most recent release, the in-game menus were identical, and it looked exactly as I would expect. Then I realized what it was -- the "12" was missing from the title. That might seem like a minor quibble, but it turned out to be a telling omission. Many of the franchise's compelling new features, such as the Tactical Defending System, Precision Dribbling, and the Player Impact Engine are missing in this version of the game.
However FIFA Football does features many of the bells and whistles of the console releases, such as Career Mode for managing one of over 500 teams and a Be A Pro mode where players can create their own athlete and lead them to legendary status.
The game looks stunning on Vita, especially when it comes to player animations. They move as naturally as players might expect in a real footy match. And stadiums look lively with massive crowds surrounding the field.
FIFA handles well on the Vita, too, at least when sticking with the traditional thumbsticks and buttons. Players can opt to use the front touchscreen for passing, free kicks and defense, or the rear touch pad to shoot at the goal. All are solid alternatives, but not as comfortable as standard controls.
Players use the left thumbstick to move while the right stick is for special ball moves such as fakes. They work well, but it's tough to make precision passes using the left thumbstick. Also, I found myself accidentally tapping the rear touch pad on several occasions, firing off unintended shots on goal.
FIFA Football is by far the best football game i have ever played on any handheld device however the game could have used a bit more polish overall, but it's a solid first endeavor for Vita. If this game is the basis for the inevitable future FIFA releases on the PS Vita then the future looks bright for EA.