Back last year around October and November, when FIFA 12 was still new, all I'd hear during my friends' conversations were, "What Ultimate Team do you have?", "What formation do you use?" or "I had John Terry in a pack!". Naturally, the ridiculous amount of attention it received from my friends coupled with the fact that I had yet to have ever purchased a game from the franchise meant that this was the perfect opportunity to buy FIFA 12. Unfortunately, upon playing the game, I didn't share the same enthusiasm for the game as my friends did. There are multiple reasons for this, but one of the main issues with the game is consistency.
Now, when you first play a match on FIFA 12, you will be shown the values of the defense, midfield and attack of the team you choose to play as in the pre-match screen. For example, Italy may have 81 DEF, 81 MID and 81 ATT whereas Argentina may have 83 DEF, 78 MID and 87 ATT. These values are based on the average overall rating of the players in those positions. Generally, the higher the player's overall, the better they are.
...so where does inconsistency come in to this? Well, in spite of the player's overall, they don't always play to the level that they should. Iker Casillas, for example, is a 90 rated goalkeeper; the best keeper in the game. Sometimes, he plays magnificent and is able to prevent what should be an easy goal for the opponent. Other times, however, it's as if Casillas forgets he's allowed to touch the ball with his hands. When my 90 rated Casillas is conceding against shots that my ten year old cousin could save and my opponent's Helton - that is rated 82 - is making saves comparable to Gordon Banks during the 1966 World Cup, there's definitely a problem.
Likewise, fouls in this game are very inconsistent. There have been times where I have completely taken out Messi with my Ramos, but I haven't received a yellow card. Other times, I may lightly pull on the shirt of a player in possession of the ball and end up getting sent off. The worst is when I tactically defend against a player in my own penalty box, and because this player trips over his own shoe laces, he earns his team a penalty. I - among many others - find this to be extremely frustrating, and EA really need to address this issue in the future FIFA games.
As this review is starting to get a bit long, I suppose I'll finish off with the game's most popular mode: Ultimate Team. Ultimate Team is a mode where you're able to create a team based around any theme i.e. an English team, a team with players from La Liga, etc. and you can use any formation i.e. 4-4-2, 4-2-3-1, 3-5-2, etc. You're given a free starter pack with very basic bronze players and you gradually build your team up. You acquire your players either from buying packs (either from spending a stupid amount of coins (Ultimate Team's currency, earned from playing matches and selling players)) or from purchasing packs with Microsoft Points (which is a waste of money and a great way for EA to rip kids off). While I like the idea behind Ultimate Team, there are a few gripes I have with it.
Firstly, you have to constantly buy contracts and healing cards for your players in case of injury, and they aren't cheap. I can understand the realism behind it, but I work hard for my coins - let me spend them on players! Secondly, in order to acquire coins to get a better team, you have to do a lot of trading via the auction market, which takes time and is really boring. The fact that the coins you earn through matches are usually spent on healing cards and contracts make this really tedious.
Overall, I can't really say I'd recommend FIFA 12 to anyone. If you must own a football game, then maybe. Otherwise, no.