Rooney isn't the most obvious choice for a cover star...
Mobile Football games have always been about little men with indistinguishable features running around a green rectangle. Well, they were until the iPhone came along.
Since then things have progressed to the point where I now have something in my hands which almost resembles a console quality football game, graphically at least.
FIFA 11 is graphically very impressive. Players look like their real life counterparts, even from a distance, the pitches all look realistic and the goal scoring celebrations are glorious. When compared side by side with Real Football 11 the difference is glaringly obvious, especially during close-ups. It’s not just that they’ve got the faces and kits right, it’s the fact that they’ve got it right for 500 teams. It really does look like EA have put a lot of effort in to making the game look as good as a console version, which is probably why they’re not supporting older iPhones or iPod touch devices, only 3GS and up are supported.
Is this just a case of pretty but vacant though? Well, yes and no. The on-screen action is represented better by the new engine than it has ever been before. Players move with a feeling of full control as you guide the ball toward the goal and goalkeepers can be easily brought into play as the ball gets nearer. Controls are much improved from FIFA World Cup, there are labelled buttons for pass, shoot and Through which change when you’re defending. They’re perfectly spaced to avoid accidentally hitting the wrong one and the only fault is when tackle turns in to shoot too quickly after you’ve gained control of the ball, which will result in you watching as your player immediately kicks the ball to the next immediate player.
AI for the most part is good as well, players will help you out on your team while the opposing team do their best to tackle you, goal keepers, though, are fickle and sometimes their actions are questionable. Perhaps EA were going for real life, though?
Sonically, the game carries on the same sense of improvement. Commentary from Andy Gray and Clive Tyldesley is as realistic as game commentary gets (especially when compared to Real Football’s efforts), crowds cheer and chant and the ambience pulls you further in to the game world. The music on the menu has some interesting choices, not limiting itself to English language songs, a nice touch to make the game feel more like an all round International effort.
All this and more make the game worthy of star status, but several things stand in the way. Firstly and most glaringly, they’ve missed out the Multiplayer option. It’s not something they’ve forgotton, there’s clearly a button on the main menu with the promise of multiplayer ‘coming soon’ on it, but it’s a shame we can’t have it now.
Secondly, and more surprisingly, they’ve knocked down the number of game modes. There are now only options for Kick Off, League and Cup, with a Practice Mode bolstering the options to 4. No player management, no road to victory style modes, nothing. Still, when you consider the options they have put in; easy to use team management, options for timing, radar and who takes the penalty kicks, this is a pretty small sacrifice to create the almost-perfect mobile version of FIFA.
Assuming that the multi-player will come soon enough and being only swayed a little by the lack of modes, FIFA 11 is still the Football game of choice on iDevices. It sets the standard other football games must follow once again.
- Sound: 9
- Graphics: 10
- Gameplay: 9
- Longevity: 8
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