The latest instalment of EA’s long-running football franchise doesn’t reinvent the wheel, because it doesn’t have to. OK, so it includes the ability to play as a ‘keeper in the ‘Be A Pro’ section, and the tackling feels more natural than any previous game in the series, but essentially, FIFA 11 contains a series of minor tweaks that combine to make it the most complete football sim on the market.
Gone are the days when speed alone could take you to the pinnacle of soccer success: instead of ensuring your fleet-footed centre forward can get the jump on defenders, there seems to be more emphasis on playing your way through the opposition, using a combination of brute force (some of the tackles are robust, to say the least) and skill (you also seem to have to put a lot more precision into your passing, which is a good thing).
Aside from that, the game has the familiar feel of becoming reacquainted with an old friend. There’s the Martin Tyer/Andy Gray commentary, the stadium chants, the same practice runs on goal while you’re waiting for the actual game to load, and the same, tough-to-master penalties as this year’s World Cup edition.
So it’s not a revolution, because the EA development team already rewrote the rulebook for footie games when they gave FIFA a radical makeover a few years ago, turning it into the premier soccer sim on the planet in the process. Quality through and through and thoroughly recommended – after all, it’s the only way we’ll see Liverpool challenging for the title for the foreseeable future.