Well after all the waiting the PS Vita is finally here. I will say this, it is amazing and simply put, I love it. I could go on for hours about the features, graphics and ease of use but I won’t as this is a review for FIFA Football. Some said you could never get a football game as good as FIFA 12 in your hands. Those people are now kicking themselves. This game is sumptuously beautiful to look at, perfectly playable, endless fun online and on the move. These front and back touch pads have been implemented with varying degrees of success as you will find out. This is certainly one of the strongest software titles available at launch for the Vita.
The controls are directly from the PS3 version and feel perfect. The two new analogue sticks make this game so easy to play and it feels just right. Anyone who has played this before will jump right in the action. The front touch screen has been used to allow you to pass to players on screen and whilst this is ok I think it gets in the way of the action as you finger gets in the way of the screen and you may lose out on what’s happening. The back screen has been used to choose where you want to shoot during play and penalties. This is a really cool feature and with a little practice you will be scoring screamers from the edge of the box. Using the buttons and sticks are your best choice in my view but the new features of the Vita give you another way to play the game. They are also better for novice players to the FIFA series.
All of the single player options have been ported over to the Vita version. The meat in the one player mode is the “be a pro” mode, where you create the looks and attributes of a player and begin on an epic quest to be the best. There is also the career mode where you’re a manager in charge of your team’s fortunes. You can choose to either be an on the field manager where you play in the games or use this mode as a football sim and take charge of the line ups, transfers and running of the club. Also, since this mode is 15 seasons, it’s not something you will finish easily. There are all the usual tournaments for each country to take part in and a training mode for all your free kick, penalty tweaking.
So much of this game is good, it’s a shame to say anything bad. Sadly there are some points, especially in the gameplay, of the FIFA 12 innovations that have not been bought over. These being the Tactical Defending System, Precision Dribbling and the Player Impact Engine. It’s a bit annoying to be tapping the buttons for defending to push the guy off the ball. It’s as if the gameplay is like FIFA 11 but the options, menus and polish are FIFA 12. That is not a bad thing as the gameplay here is smooth and fast. The player models rub with great accuracy and the tackling is spot on with the button presses. Even the referees are not as strict as they use to be, I hate referees anyways. The usual fast flowing action has been ported over perfectly as the runs you make and the crosses you initiate fell and look right. The headers and spectacular goals are all here and the slow motion is also a sight to see.
The touch screen controls should be used during the free kicks and penalties in my view, as it’s nice to disguise the direction of the ball. You swipe the direction you want the ball to go with a simple flick making the ball curl. The rear rectangle represents the goal and depending on where you touch the player will shoot there but beware the amount of time you press determines the shot strength. I have big hands and found during play my fingers kept hitting the rear touch screen which made me shoot, but turning this off solved the issue. Whilst the online mode on the Vita is very fun to play the depth offered by the consoles is not matched. You have online leader boards and can participate in custom leagues made by your friend or other people. The sheer level of the online season is not seen but we will forgive EA as this is a fast flowing fun game. The good thing about online play is that there is no lag. The AI of the game is also pretty damn smart and if you’re not careful it will make you look silly and it is still hard to score. The commentary is also not that bad, as they actually are in sync with what’s happening on screen and they say some interesting things. Of course some mundane commentary is there but that’s part and parcel I guess.
Overall this is the best way to play FIFA on the sofa, loo or tube. FIFA Football is not a copy of FIFA 12, it’s more of a hybrid, but it plays so well. The modes are pretty much similar to FIFA 12 and the menus show a welcome continuity. The football is fast, smooth and direct. You can take a back seat and manage or get your feet dirty. The graphics show just how powerful the VITA is and the rear and front touch controls add a new dimension to this game. The rear touchscreen works well, especially for penalties and free kicks. I would highly recommend this as it’s a thrill ride of a game. This will be in your Vita catalogue for a long time, at least until the next installment. A mini FIFA? Oh yes it is.