In the build-up to the release of FIFA 13, we continue to break down the FIFA series and see how EA can improve on their number 1 selling franchise.
Here’s the scenario – you and a group of your pals, a PS3, a copy of FIFA and some beer. This was a recipe for the Lounge Mode. This was a very entertaining way to keep track of match records head-to-heads with your mates and it also kept a league. We would have a league going for the entire year and whoever was on top by the time the new FIFA was released, was crowned the champion.
I was on 3-in-a-row and now my championship streak has been snapped! Take a guess as to why that is…because EA removed the bloody feature from FIFA 12, for no reason whatsoever! Dafuq?! The absence of the Lounge Mode has completely killed the competition between me and my mates when we play FIFA. Matches have no meaning and therefore – we play it less as a group.
I’d love to know why this feature was removed and why it wasn’t offered back via a patch. It would hardly take up any space on a Blu-Ray disc. Speculation as to why they removed Lounge Mode includes: the theory that EA wants everyone to buy their own copy and compete in their online leagues instead of a locally HDD stored league. BRING BACK THE LOUNGE MODE!
Consider this as the “broken biscuits tin” of the series if you will.
Pandering to Too Many Systems – Focus more on the main systems. Drop the development for PS2 for goodness sake! Concentrate on developing the game for PS3, 360 and PC. From what I know of, there are ELEVEN different platforms for FIFA 12 alone!
They should ignore the gimmicks (such as the new PS Move/Microsoft Kinect feature they have added to FIFA 13) and focus on refining basic issues that have been sitting there from previous editions. Once you nail the basics, THEN you can start fannying around with the gimmick peripherals and other less-important platforms.
Start-up Loading Times – For years now, it seems to take an eternity to start-up FIFA. I’ve lost count of the amount of minutes I’ve lost looking at this bloody screen:
Once you press “START” it takes another eternity to sync up with the server and blah, blah, blah. Surely, there has to be a way to shave some time off?
Pass-backs – These are very rare in football games. Not as rare as a team committing zero fouls but rare nonetheless! There have been too many times where the officials should be awarding free-kicks in the penalty box for pass-backs.
In this video (from the Ukrainian Premier League), you’ll see that the goalkeeper couldn’t catch the ball in this situation because it was his own defender who inadvertently kicked the ball back towards him. He tries to improvise by heading the ball away from his goal but fails. The penalty for a pass-back isn’t actually a penalty but an in-direct free-kick inside the box, which is taken from where the goalkeeper had actually illegally handled the ball. This situation in FIFA: the goalkeeper just catches it and nothing is said about it! For me, this is a very glitchy and shady area of FIFA and I’d like to see this rectified.
Hand-balls – EA featured this part of the sport in FIFA 11 but even they admitted before-hand (no pun intended) that it wasn’t very good. But we asked for it so we got it! EA were right – it’s crap and you get around 5 penalties per-match for all the blocked shots being deemed as handballs. There is an option to turn handballs off and it’s best to turn them off in FIFA 11/12. However, this feature needs to be focused on because handballs are just as big a part of the sport as offsides are.
Custom Goal Music – An absolutely brilliant feature that was added in FIFA 11 in which you can add custom chants and music for when goals are scored and they made good strides by developing this further in FIFA 12. There is one thing though – for some reason in FIFA 12, the custom goal music is glitchy. It cuts off at random bits of the song while your player is still celebrating. This wasn’t an issue in FIFA 11.
Graphical Glitches – There have been quite a few graphical glitches which have remained in quite a few editions of FIFA.
It is the year 2012: The supposed “end of the world”. EA thought they would get into the spirit of our pending Armageddon by adding random black skies during daytime matches. From my random observations, this tends to happen at the generic stadiums and not so much the real-life stadiums. Since this is such a random occurrence, I don’t have any visual aids to accompany this paragraph. However, if you are a keen FIFA player then chances are that you’ll know exactly what I am talking about.
In terms of graphical glitches on players themselves, I can think of one very specific example: Maxime Gonalons – the Lyon midfielder, has somehow got a ponytail when he is viewed from a distance. However, if the camera cuts to him close up either during a cut-scene, instant replay or if he’s about to take a corner or free-kick, his ponytail disappears! To my knowledge, he has never had a ponytail in his entire puff! Amateur stuff EA, this sort of stuff should be spotted at the testing stage. I guess the testing stage is when the punters buy the game and play it!
Another graphical gripe I have is: Player’s hair colours changing due to the weather. Hair colours get brighter in the snow and darker in the rain! For myself, this can be quite confusing sometimes as I don’t necessarily pay attention to the player names on the bottom of the screen and I tend to recognise players on their look or colour of boots. This needs to be worked on.
Substitutions seem to have an ill-effect on FIFA’s graphics. Sometimes, I’ll make 3 substitutions in the one go. The 3 subs run onto the pitch but one of them randomly freezes while the other 2 are still running. It’s like his particular animation never had enough frames for the whole cut-scene!
Another part of substitution animations are the warped faces. Here is an example:
It doesn’t just happen to a generic faced player, it happens even when the player (or victim) has a “real face”, it goes bonkers and he pulls a mad face like Schwarzenegger disguised as the fat woman in Total Recall (2 weeks!).
Tackling – This has improved with the Impact Engine being introduced, winning the ball initially felt like an achievement. After a year of gameplay, I have noticed some annoying instances of the CPU taking control of certain players of mine and making them do the lunging tackle (circle button tackle) without me pressing any buttons to tackle at all! My opponent will then just glide past him like he wasn’t there! I’ve also had online opponents who just stop playing altogether (in a huff I guess) and then all of a sudden, their players are impossible to get past even though no one is controlling them! It seems that the CPU has a very large say in how people actually tackle.
Quick Throw-ins – Introduced in FIFA 12, this seemed to be a welcome addition to the game. Some people were even thinking what exactly took them so long to add such an inconspicuous thing into a football game. At first I liked it, but then the glitches started to rear their ugly head. The quick throw-ins became an inconvenience – the exact opposite of it’s purpose! The players run up and attempt to pick the ball up. They miss! So they try again…they miss again! The ball is right at their feet! Pick it up! Sometimes, the ball is right at their feet and they don’t even bother to try and pick it up, they just stand there and we have to wait until the game re-loads the situation and then they re-appear with the ball in their hands. Surely they could have fixed this sort of stuff at the testing stage or even after the game was released via a patch after people mention it to them on their forum.
Online Play – Where do I start with this one? Well, I’ll start with the actual people who play online. The FIFA online community needs a population transplant. God forbid if I go 2-0 up before half-time! Quitters are RIFE online and I’m not really sure if there is a method to fix this. When you are dominating another player, all types of shots are raining down on their goal, corner after corner but yet – it’s still only 1-0 to me, they will still quit the game! I’ve been down 3-0 at half-time and was still able to come back and win the game! People need to find some heart or stop being so lazy, “Oh, I can’t be bothered trying to win this game now.”
Latency (the signal bars when you are selecting your team) needs to be more accurate. I’ve lost count at the amount of times I’ve had the green bars indicating a perfect connection with another player only to find that it’s lagging heavily when the teams are walking out of the tunnel! From what I understand, FIFA online play is run through peer-to-peer instead of EA’s own dedicated servers. I’m not sure of the technicalities of it all but if having dedicated servers hosting these matches instead of the player’s connections is going to be an improvement then make the move EA!
Check back soon on TheKoalition.com for the final part of our focus on the FIFA series. The controversial part is coming your way soon.