Thursday, 15 December 2011

Pinball 2012

FIFA 2012 is widely regarded, even by those people who would label themselves "industry experts" (which, I think, is rather an odd label to self-apply) as "the greatest football game ever."  This quote, so simple in its majesty, is a rather sad indictment of the quality of other footballing games as FIFA 2012 is, at best, flawed.
There can be no doubt, when the game cooperates (and this is a singularly infrequent occurrence) FIFA 2012 is wonderful.  In general, though, it's awful.

The focus of FIFA 2012 is defence.  Everything about this year's development has been about the improvement of the intelligence of the defenders.  The game starts and one is thrust into a tutorial on how to defend, or, more accurately, how to use the new defensive controls.  These are weak at best and I'll tell you why later.  The important point here, though, is this - the defenders are not more intelligent at all; the attackers are more stupid.
On many occasions an attacker will make a forward run.  Brilliant, you think, I'll play a through ball.  However, by the you have pressed the appropriate button, an action that takes less than half a second, you'll discover the attacker is no longer making his run but has gone to have an ice cream with his friend in the crowd.  So, in truth, there isn't any need for defensive players at all.  And here's another reason: Your teammates tackle you.  You'll be trotting along quite nicely, ball firmly glued to feet, and then a teammate comes up and takes it off you.  Next you'll fall over; he'll fall over; and as you frolic on the pitch, cocks in hand, an opponent, generally one of the defenders, will pick up the ball, run all the way to your goal, and in an unrealistic display of talent, thrash the ball into your net from 30 yards.
Talking of unrealistic displays of talent - Gareth Barry.  In FIFA 2012 I have witnessed Gareth Barry dribble the ball.  When the hell did that ever happen?  The last time Gareth Barry had dribbling skills was when he was sucking on his mother's teat.
So back to the defensive controls.  Most of the time there's no need to use them as your opponent's attackers will, generally, fall over themselves.  However, if they do achieve the impossible and pass the ball through to your defensive line, the best thing to do, as a person controlling the defence, is to run away.  If the attacker isn't confused by this, and he is often so confused he'll play the ball back to his defence, he'll be challenged by the remaining computer controlled defenders who are preposterously good.
Taking all this into account, a FIFA 2012 game runs as thus: opponent gets ball; you run away; opponent either kicks ball away or your defenders tackle him easily; you get the ball; your teammates tackle you; opposition defender gets ball, runs to thirty yards from the goal, shoots and scores.


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