All you need to know about: FIFA 12

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Every single year, EA churns out a new FIFA title with enhanced controls, better graphics, and an improved AI. However, it can be hard to decide whether to upgrade your old FIFA game to the ‘new and improved’ model, or to keep the old title with your old team, scores, and career. That’s why we have compiled up all we know so you have key information on the latest FIFA release. Should you trade in the old and purchase the new, or keep FIFA 11 until the next worthy competitor comes out? Have a read below and figure it out for yourself.

And just because we know a picture says a thousand words, we’ve included videos where possible so you don’t just have to take our word for it – you can have all the videos on FIFA 12 here in one place.

The Latest Information (Updated 01/08/2011)

EA Sports have just announced who will be gracing the cover of FIFA 12. Australia’s cover will include Everton player and Aussie, Tim Cahill, Manchester United’s Rooney, and Real Madrid’s Kaka – the exact same three players from FIFA 11‘s Australian/New Zealand cover.

Other players that will be featured on the cover from other countries includes Jack Wilshere from Arsenal, Xabi Alonso from Real Madrid, Pique from Barcelona, and Mexes from AC Milan. These players will – as they are every year – be integrated into the marketing campaign for the title before and after the launch on September 29 (Australia) and September 30 (New Zealand).

What’s the most basic information about FIFA 12?

FIFA 12 is a football simulator by EA Sports. The title releases every year, and this year’s will be released across a variety of platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC, PS2, PSP, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 3DS, and iPod Touch/iPhone/iPad. The game will be available for sale on September 27 in the USA, and September 30 in Europe and Oceania.

Who will feature in FIFA 12?

No, they’re not two random men I found off the internet…introducing the commentators, Martin Tyler and Alan Smith.

EA never provides a concrete list of players this early on, however there are over 500 clubs in the game. One prominent change in FIFA 12 (that everyone will notice at some point in the game) is that Sky Sports commentator, Alan Smith, will replace Andy Gray in the broadcast booth. Along with Martin Tyler, these two commentators will provide a new experience in the game.

But don’t take our word for it – here’s an interview with Martin Tyler and Alan Smith.

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What are the key improvements in FIFA 12?

New Player Impact Engine

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At the end of May, EA Sports announced the introduction of the new AI: a physics engine that promises to simulate real-world physicality on the pitch. Precision Dribbling has a higher fidelity on touch for strikers and will hopefully see a big improvement in movement with the ball, while Tactical Defending means that CPU players will work cohesively as a unit in order to build up a strong defense. The new engine is described by Kaz Makita, the executive producer of FIFA, as being “evolutionary, not revolutionary” and the improvements in technology are said to generate a more authentic experience.

Pro Player Intelligence

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Not only is the physics engine enhanced, but EA Sports have really taken it to the next level and continually pushed their AI to simulate real-life player decision-making. When CPU players approach certain situations, they will calculate – based on their own aptitude and skills, and the skills of the players surrounding them – the best possible move to benefit their team. However, the AI can do even more: players who have better vision (such as Xavi) will be able to spot teammates further away, while players with poor vision will be limited to their surroundings.

Career Mode

FIFA 12 will also have an enhanced career mode. The storylines are taken from the real world of the sport, and elements such as player morale, on-pitch form, and league position will all affect how your player plays on the pitch.

Football Club

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In addition to the AI components that have been enhanced, EA have also taken a closer look at developing the social side of FIFA. The new Football Club will be available for FIFA 12 on Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and PC (sorry Wii, 3DS and PSP gamers!), and provides a new way for players to interact around the world. Gamers can now sign up to support a club, and everything that occurs in their own games will affect how their supported club fares on the League tables. Best of all, it’s free.

Other notable information – a brand new menu system for faster navigation, better graphics, improved online servers, and over 500 officially licensed clubs.

The new menu for FIFA 12…and Kaka.

FIFA 12 on the 3DS – a yay or nay?

One of the most intriguing developments in the franchise is the plan to release FIFA 12 on the Nintendo 3DS. While FIFA’s rival, Konami’s Pro Evo Soccer, released their 2011 title with a 3DS version, there have been no reports so far about PES 2012 supporting a 3DS version of the game. The 3DS version will use touch controls (optional, of course): players choose a spot from the player’s viewpoint on the lower screen, then finalize their aim for a shot.

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The 3DS version also comes with 3D Street Football. The Street Football Mode houses a curved pitch and a lower camera view to display enhanced 3D planes. The matches will be 5v5 in street and indoor locations, and fans can even take their created player from the Be a Pro mode to the streets. The other modes that will be included are Career Mode, Training Mode, and Tournament Mode, as well as head-to-head online matches.

While FIFA 12 on the 3DS is shaping up to be an innovative version of the game, it’s hard to believe that EA will get it right the first time around. As Peter Trenouth, the producer of FIFA on the 3DS, describes it, the title will be a “unique” experience; however, the touch controls seem to slow down the actual gameplay. The 3D elements of the game will definitely bring simulation to a new level, but the 3DS screen is ultimately not big enough – nor does it appear cohesive enough as a unit with the two screens – to provide for a fully immersive experience. Instead, the experience appears to be disconnected. It’s definitely worth giving FIFA 12 a go on the 3DS to experience a new form of video game football, but, truth be told, the game should probably be tested out as a demo in a store as opposed to at home in your bedroom.

What about FIFA 12 on other platforms?

Anyone who has played FIFA before will know that, while EA releases the title on a number of consoles, the experience is hardly ever identical. Console players have often had the upper hand (FIFA is designed first and foremost as a console game, after all), while Wii, DS, and PC gamers have missed out on improvements and have to make do with what EA gives them.

Believe it or not, this was taken from the PC.

With FIFA 12 though, PC gamers will have something to celebrate: they’re not getting left in the dust. FIFA 12 on the PC will also come with the Player Impact Engine, Pro Player Intelligence, and the social tool, Football Club. Actually, FIFA 12 on the PC will have an identical features set and engine to its PS3 and Xbox 360 counterparts – there’s some awesome news for you PC footballers! With this development, we’d have to say that the PC version is looking to be a fair improvement over previous years and hopefully this can be the year that FIFA on the PC receives rave reviews.

FIFA 12 is also available on the Wii, PS2, PSP, and iPod Touch/iPhone/iPad. The Wii and any form of Apple platform is probably the worst to play FIFA on as they receive very little focus from EA and really do not provide any major enhancements. In fact, unless you have no alternatives (i.e. if you’re completely decked out with a Macbook and an iPhone), don’t get FIFA 12 on those platforms as you will hardly receive a positive experience. The PS2 and PSP versions will be a slight improvement over the Wii and Apple titles, but with the improvement on the PC version that seems like the safest alternative to the PS3 and Xbox 360.

What pre-order bonuses will I get?

EA Sports have just announced exclusive pre-order bonuses for Australia and New Zealand retailers. Each retailer will have different bonuses, so it’s worth taking a look at them all and deciding which one you’d like. We’ve included our pick of the bunch, which is the FIFA 12 Ultimate Edition, available exclusively from EB Games.

Our pick: FIFA 12 Ultimate Edition, available from EB Games

This pack of goodies come with 24 FIFA 12 Ultimate Team Gold Packs (4 gold packs a month for 6 months), a FIFA 12 Steelbook, and a size 2 soccer ball.

Check it out here at the EB Games website.

FIFA 12 Premium Edition, available from JB Hi-fi

This edition contains 18 FIFA 12 Ultimate Team Gold Packs (3 gold packs a month for 6 months), and a 3 month subscription to Inside Sport Australia.

Check it out at the JB Hi-fi website.

FIFA 12 Standard Edition, available from GAME

GAME offers 12 Ultimate Team Gold Packs (2 a month for 6 months) and a signed Tim Cahill poster.

Visit the GAME website here.

FIFA 12 Standard Edition, available from Mighty Ape

Customers who pre-order with Mighty Ape will receive 12 Ultimate Team Gold Packs (2 a month for 6 months).

Check their site out here.

Additional Information

Here’s a few Q&A’s with David Rutter, FIFA’s Line Producer. It’s definitely worth watching for answers to some more detailed questions – plus, it’s just easier to watch videos instead of read.

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Stay tuned for additional information, screenshots, and videos as the release date draws closer. Alternatively, you can check out the rest of our FIFA 12 coverage here.

Join in the conversation, and let us know if you’re planning to upgrade to FIFA 12, or stick to FIFA 11/10/whatever else you have. What are you most excited about? What would you like to see? We’re always keen for a conversation about football, after all.

All kinds of awesome :) That's all you need to know.

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