It has been a while since I have put on the digital boots for a game of soccer. In fact, apart from a brief stint with FIFA 09 on the DS, the last time I played a soccer game extensively was on the Nintendo 64. I’ve always enjoyed soccer games, even if I cannot bring myself to watch a real game. FIFA 11 marks a welcomed return for me to the game of soccer. After pouring considerable amounts of hours into the game, I have come away with a reinvigorated love for them game… well, at least the digital version.
FIFA 11 is another annual entry in EA’s long list of sports titles, appearing yearly along side NFL, NHL, basketball and even golf. Deciding whether to buy any one of these titles is always largely dependent on whether you owned the previous year’s version. Usually, there are not a whole lot of new ideas in the latest version, though this is not always the case. FIFA 11, for example, includes the incredibly fun street mode (essentially, 5-on-5 soccer with far more relaxed rules) which, after doing some research, hasn’t been around for a while.
There are several key game modes in FIFA 11, including a “Streets to Stadium” mode which involves creating a player using the player editor and progressing through a career mode with some RPG elements such as experience points. You begin in a street side and play through several seasons overall. After the first season in the street side, you will be sent a text by your manager allowing you to choose an interested side to play with.
You can play in any league around the world, including Australia’s A-League. You will then proceed through different seasons and get offers from different clubs as you improve. As you earn more XP, you can use it to increase several player attributes such as speed, endurance and kicking power. Before each match, you can also choose to take on objectives to earn fame points. These include kicking a certain amount of goals, getting a better rating than a certain other player, or using skill moves a certain number of times. If you elect to take on these challenges and you are successful, you earn fame points which increase your fame level. As your fame increases, you earn new gear and other prizes. Having such a mode in a game like this is welcomed, particularly for a single player who would get bored of playing matches over and over again without incentives.
Other modes in FIFA 11 include a championship mode which lets you manage a club of choice over a football season. You can even elect to have games played for you so you can focus solely on the managing aspect. Another mode allows you to earn the many different trophies available by winning in different leagues around the world. For example, you can play in the A-League or the ever popular European Champions League. You can also opt to just have a quick game (either street style or stadium style) and online play is also included.
Initially, I thought playing a soccer game with the Wii controls would be quite difficult, but thankfully EA has again included several different control methods. You can choose to play with just the Wii Remote (automatic movement), which is this game’s “All Play” mode. Also supported is Classic Controller mode (I don’t have one, but this would be the easier option) and a Wii Remote and Nunchuk combination. I used the latter mode, and although confusing at first, it didn’t take long for me to get used to it. You still have a lot of control over the game too, with different types of passes and skill moves still being available. Many other in-game options can be tweaked to your liking too, such as different camera angles, whether you control the whole team or just your player, and so on.
Visually, the game has a sort of cel-shaded look from a distance (i.e, in game, when the camera is zoomed out) but up close the visuals are more realistic. In-game models are actually quite good and animations are smooth, though some clipping occurred between players. The game has a suitable soundtrack though most of the music is played during the menus. Commentary is repetitive at times but does add to the atmosphere. There are even thousands of different names you can choose from for your own custom player, so if you’re lucky (I wasn’t) you will find one that is suitable for you.
Overall, FIFA 11 is an excellent title in all respects. The streets mode is a lot of fun and quite a different experience compared to real soccer. The standard soccer matches are also exciting and with various different modes of play, there are plenty of reasons to keep playing. FIFA 11 is a great package that offers good value for money.
Has a unique cel-shaded-like look from a distance but up close it is very much a more traditional style of visuals. Character models are quite good and this game gets the best out of the Wiis power.
Multiple control methods and modes of play really get the most out of soccer. Streets mode is a lot of fun.
Another good soundtrack mixing hip-hop, funk and alternative music. Commentary can get repetitive.
Plenty of different game modes, online, multiplayer and an excellent Streets to Stadium mode.
An excellent soccer game that is well worth buying. Highly recommended to soccer fans.