Version tested: PSP
There are people who have devoted so much time to the various Pro Evolution Soccer and FIFA that they have contracted a severe form of rejection of any football simulation. It goes without saying that when these people are faced with a title capable of not getting bored after a few minutes due to the usual deja vu, it means that something in this videogame genre is really changing. This is precisely the case of the EA Sports series, which even in its portable reduction for PSP demonstrates that it pays attention to substance rather than form, not only thanks to a certain attention to the present modalities (always abundant), but also and above all for the introduction of game dynamics that are anything but trivial.
A real breath of fresh air compared to years and years of strikers who also break through the walls, filtering passages that are never intercepted and deadly triangulations two meters from the door, in short. After an initial wary approach, FIFA 11 he lets himself be played with pleasure and shows us all his facets, giving the games a thickness and a variety that are difficult to find in a portable football. To say that the Electronic Arts product is perfect would however be wrong: on the one hand there are really too many points in common with the 2010 edition, so whoever owns it will have to carefully consider the transition to the new version; on the other hand, the inexplicable elimination of a fundamental modality such as online multiplayer, together with a series of still unresolved problems, constitutes a not insignificant factor for the global evaluation.
The teams take the field
Already from the classic "quick match" you can access some of the new features of FIFA 11, unfortunately not exciting news but which nevertheless constitute an interesting starting point for the future. In fact, you can play a game by controlling the entire team, in professional mode (therefore in the role of a single player) or as a simple goalkeeper. In the latter case, the action is not much fun (to put it mildly), since you are forced to watch the whole match between the posts and only intervene when the opponents enter our penalty area.
The "career" mode is, as usual, the fulcrum of the game: after selecting a player (who will also play the role of coach on the pitch), we will have the opportunity to play the games as a simple simulation, playing them in the most classic way or impersonating the single character. The lack of constraints is interesting, that is, from time to time you can freely experiment with one of the three approaches and work your way through the season in this way. The positive results will also translate into improved team performance, similar to the PES "master league" but with real squads. The offer of modes is completed by the numerous "challenges" (historical scenarios to "straighten", with an increasing level of difficulty), by the "practice" mode and by local multiplayer. As already mentioned, unfortunately there is no online multiplayer; once in the field, however, FIFA 11 he knows how to be apologized thanks to his undoubted qualities.
The ball is round
The speed of play is generally low and you immediately notice a greater attention to the tactical aspects, in fact the teams always remain quite covered and do not stretch except in rare cases. It goes without saying that organizing effective counterattacks turns out to be a feat, and often our striker will have to face at least two defenders before being face to face with the opposing goalkeeper. The introduction of ball protection and 360-degree dribbling produces substantial differences in the approach to scoring, with the most skilled players able to take advantage of even minimal spaces to fly off the wing and make a cross. One clearly perceives a "predominance" of the defensive phase compared to the offensive one, that is, the situations in which a weight center forward can "break through" the defense simply by running forward are almost completely absent.
In the same way, the goals are not very easy to score: the goalkeepers manage to cover the spaces well, with even some saves to the limit on the most insidious balls. The biggest problem, however, is getting to the shot: the through passes are intercepted very often, the triangulations are difficult to perform due to very tight markings and similarly the crosses do not find our teammates free to hit the ball: it counterbalances in this way. way a management of the conclusions on the fly perhaps simplistic, which when it occurs leaves no way out to the opponent One of the things on which EA Sports football historically pursues PES is the physics of the ball, especially in the eleven meters, and FIFA 11 for PSP unfortunately is no exception. In fact, the ball is produced in unexpected reactions, proceeding very slowly after a violent contrast with a rebound (so much so that it does not even go out of the field) and instead taking off during most of the crosses. However, it is the net conclusions that are less convincing: the sensation of impact is poor and the sound effects do not help, which in this situation see the audience fall silent as in the presence of a ghost goal, even when perhaps this occurs at the end of a long action. The sound sector in general is not crazy, it needs a rejuvenation in the commentary and more attention for this type of situation. The "signed" soundtrack of this edition, moreover, is perhaps among the less brilliant in recent years. The graphical interface is the same as in FIFA 10 and unfortunately it turns out to be heavy, slow to load and anything but intuitive: team management in this sense is a disaster that leads to playing always and in any case with the default squad and module so as not to waste time. The polygonal models of the players themselves are well done, but there are emblematic cases of the similarity with the real counterparts: if you introduce me to a Sneijder with hair, it means that something is really wrong. Finally, we note some problems with the animations, which in certain situations become jerky, and some small but annoying bugs.
Just when it was there to take off, the PSP version of FIFA unfortunately ends up running aground and offers us a 2011 edition that is a little too conservative, which does not solve some more or less serious problems (the interface and team management above all ) and even allows you to eliminate an important mode like online multiplayer. The merits of EA football on the Sony portable console are however many, and fundamentally they manage to fill the gaps: the gameplay is rich in depth, the most inflated tactics in recent years have been set aside decisively (even too much, sometimes) in favor of new strategic solutions and all this produces that "desire to play another game" increasingly rare in particularly "crowded" videogame genres. Definitely a title to buy if you want the updated squads, among other things, but for next year we expect something more. PSP 2 permitting.
- Solid and multi-faceted gameplay
- A good number of modes
- Good graphics ...
- ... but with some gaps
- There is no online multiplayer
- Sound sector to be reviewed