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FIFA

FIFA 14 photo
FIFA 14

This FIFA promo will make everyone everywhere facepalm


'Oh, we're in dreamland!'
Sep 27
// Brett Makedonski
Well, here's a swing and a miss by EA's marketing department -- an overly Australian attempt at teaching us FIFA 14's celebrations "Oz Style". It's about as insufferably embarrassing as an advertisement can get. And that's b...
FIFA 14 photo
FIFA 14

FIFA 14 is nearly the exact same game as FIFA 13 on 3DS


'Legacy Edition' = roster update
Sep 23
// Chris Carter
FIFA 14 is on the way for the Nintendo 3DS. But it seems as if you'll be getting the exact same game as last year, as there is one major caveat found in the press release -- the phrase "Legacy Edition." Game Informer reports ...
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FIFA 14 on Vita is a reskin of FIFA 13


Which was a reskin of FIFA Soccer
Aug 23
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Some may remember when it was discovered that FIFA 13 on the PlayStation Vita was a reskin of FIFA Soccer, the first soccer game to be released on the Vita. Well guess what?! FIFA 14 is going to be another reskin too. "There ...
FIFA 14 photo
FIFA 14

Sir Patrick Stewart presents: FIFA 14


Jean-Luc Picard makes anything sound amazing
Aug 20
// Chris Carter
[Update: A demo for FIFA 14 is coming for PC, PS3, and 360 owners worldwide on September 10th (11th for European PS3 owners). Also, enjoy the trailer featuring Sir Patrick Stewart!] Lots of great FIFA 14 related news was ann...
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All Xbox One preorders in Europe will include FIFA 14


Absolutely free
Aug 20
// Dale North
FIFA 14 comes with every pre-ordered Xbox One in Europe, while supplies last. Free! Europe only, naturally. But what a nice bonus!
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FIFA 14 for Xbox One gets Ultimate Team Legends mode


Exclusive to Xbox
Aug 20
// Dale North
The football (Soccer to you Americans) stars of today can be combined with the legends of yesterday in FIFA 14. A new mode called Ultimate Team Legends comes only to Xbox, announced this morning at a pre-gamescom Xbox One pre...
FIFA photo
FIFA

EA 'didn't give a sh*t about FIFA'


The iconic football franchise almost never happened
Aug 16
// Alasdair Duncan
It may seem surprising considering the sales juggernaut it became but Electronic Arts wasn't initially keen on making the first installment in the long running FIFA series. "EA didn't give a sh*t about FIFA," says former EA m...
GameStop Xbox One deal photo
GameStop Xbox One deal

GameStop wants to help you trade up from 360 to Xbox One


$50 credit on select 360 games for Power Up Rewards members
Aug 09
// Steven Hansen
I bet GameStop is a little happier selling Xbox Ones now that the used game market is back. To show this support, the company is running a somewhat neat promotion. If you are a PowerUp Rewards member and buy select games for ...
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Titanfall will be playable to the public at gamescom


As will a bunch of other Electronic Arts games
Jul 31
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Electronic Arts will be at gamescom in a big way this year, and they're bringing a big lineup of games that people can get hands-on with. The most notable being Titanfall, our game of the show for E3. Fans can also play Battl...
EA Sports Ignite engine photo
EA Sports Ignite engine

EA Sports' next-gen engine doesn't support PC, Wii U


Average PC can't handle its power and console-designed architecture
Jun 18
// Steven Hansen
EA Sports Ignite, the engine slated to handle PlayStation 4 and Xbox One sports games from EA like NBA Live 14, EA Sports UFC, Madden 25,and FIFA 14, presently doesn't support the PC or Wii U. FIFA is the only notable sports ...
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Drake is just one fan who loves FIFA


No word yet if Amanda Bynes wants Drake to murder this
Jun 10
// Wesley Ruscher
Elite technology brings the artistry of soccer this fall to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One with FIFA 14. With the power of the Ignite engine stadiums are now alive, allowing players to feel the reactions and emotions from the cro...
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FIFA 14 out September 24 for PS3, Xbox 360, and PC


Plus pre-order incentives detailed
May 24
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
FIFA 14 will be out on September 24, 2013 in North America, and September 27 in Europe. Those of you that want to pre-order the upcoming soccer game for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or PC will be able to get the "Ultimate Pas...
FIFA photo
FIFA

New FIFA to be shown tomorrow during Xbox event


FIFA 14
May 20
// Jordan Devore
At what point can we start calling this a trend? After McLaren of all companies hinted at an announcement during Microsoft's pre-E3 reveal event for the next Xbox, now we have EA Sports hyping up "the next generation of FIFA"...
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EA extends FIFA license agreement through 2022


20 years and going
May 08
// Dale North
EA Sports have announced that they've extended their licensing agreement with FIFA, meaning you'll see EA-made soccer games through at least December 2022. The people that play the 65 million weekly games will appreciate this...
Electronic Arts photo
Electronic Arts

Expect new games from EA Sports, BioWare, and DICE at E3


Darn you, non-disclosure agreements!
May 07
// Jordan Devore
During an investor call today, EA Labels president Frank Gibeau briefly discussed the company's plans for E3 2013. As expected, June is going to be a big month for the new home consoles. "Regarding next generation consoles, w...
FIFA sales photo
FIFA sales

FIFA 13 brings in $100 million in net revenue


Over 12 million copies sold
Jan 30
// Patrick Hancock
In their financial reports released today, EA has shown that FIFA is still a very powerful franchise. According to the reports, FIFA 13 sold more than its predecessor, totaling over 12 million units through the thir...
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Football, videogames, music, and sex converge at last


This is what football is all about!
Nov 26
// Allistair Pinsof
If you didn't have one yet, prepare to get a full-on chub after watching this video. British electronic outfit Hot Chip has a knack for making some awkward hilarious music videos but their latest for single "Don't Deny Your ...
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EA re-releases FIFA 12 as FIFA 13 on Wii


Selling you the same game twice
Sep 28
// Jim Sterling
Electronic Arts has been caught red-handed selling a barely updated re-release as a full sequel. While it's often hard to tell the difference with sports games, it's really bad this time, since the Wii version of FIFA 13 real...
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FIFA 13 to include 'Skill Games' mode


Aug 13
// Harry Monogenis
FIFA 13 is a little over a month away from launch and the game, which will mark the twentieth edition of EA's very long running FIFA franchise, will be getting a game mode new to the franchise which EA Sports is ca...

Preview: FIFA 13 Wii U has some fly new features

Aug 04 // Steven Hansen
FIFA 13 (Wii U) Developer: EA Canada Publisher: Electronic Arts Release: 2012 The team at EA Canada emphasized a focus on making the game more accessible, largely for the expected Wii U audience, which might very well consist of more “casual” players. This consideration has led the team to realize that the series features some staggering complexity and seemingly labyrinthine menus, and some streamlining was in order. For whatever reason, people seem to recoil at the mention of the word streamlining, but everything I was shown was a more sensible way of accessing the game’s hidden depth. It keeps the action flowing, and you might never have to go into the pause menu and fish through menus again. The Wii U controller’s touch screen has several different tabs while you play FIFA 13, the basic of which is the gameplay tab. What you see on your TV screen is displayed in the Gameplay tab when it’s selected (theoretically, you could cede the TV and play a match all on this screen without too much of a hitch). The touch screen can be used both for passing and sending players on runs. The tap to pass mechanic worked incredibly well in the Vita version of FIFA, so I’m glad to see it back. While you can tap a teammate to pass to them specifically, you can also tap an area on the field to pass the ball too. Combined with the ability to touch a teammate and send them on a run in any given direction, no longer is your passing game shackled by the AI not sending players where you want them to be or reacting too slowly for whatever attacking strategy you’re trying to employ. The gameplay tab also features the new shake and shoot mechanic. When you feel you’re ready to take a shot on the goal, a gentle shake of the controller turns the touch screen into a one to one representation of the goal, allowing you to place shots with pinpoint accuracy and power dependent on how long you hold your finger down. I loved this feature in FIFA Soccer Vita, though it was relegated to the back touch, allowing you to always keep your thumbs on the sticks. Despite the initial trepidation of taking my thumb off the left stick (the one you move with) to shoot with the Wii U’s touch mechanic, I quickly found myself placing balls on the left side of the net as easily as the right side. There were a few other new footballing features on display. Before matches, you can use the Wii U gyroscope to look around stadiums through the controller in a first-person view, which is sort of neat, given how painstakingly recreated these venues are. The gyroscope also allows for a new penalty kick option, in which you aim your shot with a similar first-person reticle by moving the controller. Then, you can apply curve with the left stick in the desired direction and shoot per usual with the face buttons, holding for power. As much as I love the control afforded by the tap to shoot mechanic, I was equally impressed by the streamlining done by the other available tabs. The Manager Central tab, for example, gives you a full view of the pitch and little representative player icons, which you can tap for a player’s general stats, as well as their current game performance. This of course makes the manager mode much easier to navigate, but also lets less nimble fingered folks take part in the action, controlling the more strategic side while up to four other players do the actual footballing (you can have the full five players in direct control, too). Still, these nifty tabs aren’t merely a way to allow dad or a little brother to get in on the action as unobtrusively as possible. Being able to handle your substitutions without pausing the game, for example, is a great way to keep things flowing smoothly, particularly when you’re playing online and your opponent pauses the game, leading to that moment when you don’t know if they’re about to quit on you, going to disappear for a while, or just handle some strategy. Similarly, you can change your formations with simple taps, allowing you to easily adapt your style of play relative to what’s going on. There’s also a marked man option that tells your AI to paint themselves over a particular opposing player who’s giving you trouble, as opposed to playing the default shifting zone. For those who are playing in manager mode, there is a full tactics tab that handles some of the most minute details. You can change mentality and use standard tactics, but you can also be specific, like setting your team not only to counterattack, but to specifically set themselves up for long, medium, or short passes. You can have a bit more direct control over your AI subordinates in this mode too. For example, you can strongly suggest a player pass in any given instant, which they will do if it’s viable, just like you’re a manager screaming on the sidelines. You can even sit a player if they don’t do what you say (though they generally will). There’s a morale system for under performing and unhappy players at half and you can choose to motivate, criticize, or praise them. If they react well to your pep talk, they get a small boost in the second half. If they don’t take to it, they may do worse yet. It may be missing out on some of the subtle additions that the PS3 and 360 editions of FIFA 13 are receiving, but FIFA 13 on the Wii U has its own little bag of tricks to draw from. Good tricks, no less; not gimmicks as all of the touch mechanics are great. The tap to shoot ability gives you rewarding control over where you’re trying to put your shots, while being able to handle some of the tactical minutia without stopping play keeps things moving at a steady clip. There’s even a friends tab that allows you to see your Wii U friends and send them messages or game invites with ease right from the FIFA 13 interface, with a full onscreen keyboard. That’s pretty big on a Nintendo console.
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Madden 13 isn’t the only EA sports title launching alongside Nintendo’s incoming Wii U, as FIFA 13 will be too. Much like how the Vita’s FIFA Soccer was built on the framework of FIFA 11, FIFA 13 on the Wii ...

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FIFA 13 iOS will have competitive online multiplayer


Aug 03
// Steven Hansen
When I played FIFA 12 for iOS last year, I found myself rather surprised by how nicely the experience transferred onto mobile devices. It obviously found success, as the team is being even more ambitious with FIFA 13 for iOS ...
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Madden 13 and Fifa 13 for Wii U has touch enhancements


Aug 02
// Tony Ponce
During EA's Summer Showcase live stream, EA has shown off some new features for the Wii U versions of Madden 13 and Fifa 13, typically focused on the GamePad's touchscreen. In Madden, play calling is done directly on the touc...
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Man blames Microsoft for his kid's 1150 Xbox Live bill


Jul 13
// Jim Sterling
A foolish child managed to spend £1150 of his father's money on Xbox Live. The father's response? Blame Microsoft for his own slapdash parenting, of course.  "He didn't realize it was costing real money," said...

E3: FIFA 13 subtly iterating on FIFA 12

Jun 07 // Steven Hansen
New game modes and the like are still under wraps for the time being, but I was shown a lot of the core gameplay changes. First, the new attacking intelligence causes AI to commit to attacking when it believes the situation calls for it. In FIFA 12, your teammates’ AI would constantly reassess the situation relative to where you were moving as the ball handler, which led to awkward shuffling and repositioning and could stop an attack dead in its tracks. Now, the AI will read how the defense is positioned and decide whether or not to set itself up to score or to try and draw defenders out of position. Also helpful is that the AI makes a point to stay onside when breaking towards the opponent’s goal by either curving their route forward or by slowing down their run. This also gives a great contextual clue to know when a teammate is most receptive to a pass. Players curve their running directions a lot more in general now. In FIFA 12, a player faced with opposition directly ahead would either cut diagonally left or right and continue in a relatively straight line, whereas now the AI allows for them to curve around the person in their way and then back around to where they were running. Speaking of receiving passes, trapping balls has been addressed, too. In FIFA 12, players -- even less skilled players -- were often unrealistically able to trap passes either when running in a full sprint or when taking a pass over the shoulder, without looking. Now, an individual player’s skill, speed, and awareness are all taken into consideration when it comes to them receiving a pass and getting control over the ball. Once you do have control over the ball, the dribbling mechanic has been evolved to allow full, 360-degree control; that is, you can even dribble while moving backwards and screening the ball. There is a contextual-based automatic dribble that slows down your dribble and gives you more control when you are faced up with a defender, and it can also be manually activated by hitting both triggers. With this, things like shielding work a lot better. The tackle button has also been subtly altered in conjunction with the second generation of the game’s physics engine. The tackle can be used to jostle players you’re up in tight against, which can lead to them losing possession. Players also use their entire bodies now to block impending plays when using the tackle button without someone in the immediate vicinity, as opposed to just sticking their leg out and being left immovable and useless. Free kicks have seen an overhaul, too, with what is being called the “tactical free kick” system, in which you can position up to three attacking players for all sorts of fake kicks, passes, and other gambits. Defending players can easily add or remove players from the wall, slyly try to edge the wall forward, or send someone to intercept a pass or block a shot. In addition to these noticeable, albeit subtle, core gameplay changes, EA is pushing the social aspects of FIFA 13 even harder than ever. With over 11 million users connected to EA Sports Football Club, this makes sense. Anyone who has FIFA 12 will be able to carry over XP and have access to a catalog of varied items to buy from. I don’t see any reason why existing FIFA fans should stay away from the next iteration. Things are progressing smoothly.
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The last FIFA game was pretty well received. Accordingly, much of what I saw for FIFA 13 seemed to be more of a refinement of FIFA 12 than a complete overhaul, although I’m sure this is what most players are expecting. ...

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E3: FIFA is 'football's social network'


Jun 04
// Alasdair Duncan
EA has announced a wealth of new features for the upcoming FIFA 13, both in the gameplay and EA's football-centered social network, Football Club. Gamers who progressed through FIFA 12 will have their stats and progress carry...
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E3: FIFA 13 to support Kinect for tactical play


Jun 04
// Alasdair Duncan
During the Microsoft press conference we learned that FIFA 13 will support Kinect. In a demo shown by Executive VP of EA Sports, Andrew Wilson, we saw substitutions carried out, tactics changed on the fly, and even the game r...

Preview: Making FIFA 13 'predictably unpredictable'

May 16 // Samit Sarkar
FIFA 13 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii, Vita, 3DS, PSP, PS2, iOS) Developer: EA Canada Publisher: EA Sports Release: Fall 2012 Three of the creative leads behind FIFA 13 delivered a lengthy presentation to members of the press a few weeks ago at EA Canada, located on a sprawling campus in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby. They discussed five major gameplay innovations that are coming in this fall’s new soccer game, but they did not speak of new modes or any other changes, and we didn’t have a chance to play the game. So there’s a lot more to come regarding FIFA 13 -- perhaps at E3, or, more likely, at Gamescom -- but for now, I’ll take you through what gameplay producer Aaron McHardy called “a revolution of game-changing features” for the PS3, 360, and PC versions. Attacking Intelligence lets AI teammates think ahead Dumb AI is a perennial nuisance in team sports games; it’s always frustrating when a scoring opportunity evaporates because a computer-controlled teammate didn’t do something you perceived as natural, lifelike, and/or smart in a particular situation. EA Canada has revamped FIFA’s positioning code, making AI attackers smarter and opening up the field for your offense. FIFA 13’s new Attacking Intelligence feature is felt in a number of ways. Players are now much better capable of analyzing space to go on decisive runs -- they can not only evaluate openings on the pitch and realize they’re in position to make a run, but also can get to valuable space in a manner that creates more scoring chances. This encompasses new behaviors such as stutter-stepping to stay onside, curving runs around defenders, and creating separation from opponents to open up passing lanes, as well as more complex soccer strategy in player positioning and ball movement. The world’s best players have an unparalleled ability to visualize and predict the progress of a play. As McHardy put it, “They’re processing the game at another level,” always thinking ahead to try and gain the upper hand on defenders. Your teammates in FIFA 13 will do the same: they have the intelligence to understand where the ball is likely to go next, and accordingly -- instead of standing around until the play comes to them -- they’ll start moving one or even two passes ahead of time, putting themselves in better position to receive passes and propel the attack forward. McHardy played footage from the studio’s test bed environment, complete with wire-frame players, proving the improvements between FIFA 12 and FIFA 13 to be apparent, significant, and remarkable. Dancing around defenders with Complete Dribbling Last year’s game introduced Precision Dribbling, a setup that suffered from the same problem that has plagued the movement systems in almost every soccer game: players pushed the ball in a direction and turned their body to follow the ball. It made it difficult to get around defenders without using FIFA’s relatively complicated Skill Moves. FIFA 13 brings in an update called Complete Dribbling. McHardy said it’s “way bigger” than Precision Dribbling, with the key element being that EA Canada has finally separated the moving direction from the facing direction. I asked McHardy how important that change is, and he told me it’s “completely liberating.” Until now, he explained, “You couldn’t really face up a player 1v1 and beat him in the way that Messi beats a player 1v1: running straight at him, sidestepping around him, keeping that facing angle forward, and being able to get around the player.” It’s now possible to move laterally while still facing forward, which lets you quickly evade defenders and continue attacking. Complete Dribbling gives you the power to embarrass your opponents, and the freedom and creativity to do it in a variety of ways. Precision Dribbling brought shielding into FIFA, and Complete Dribbling expands on that with the ability to lock a facing-away angle contextually and chain shielding more fluidly with other dribbling moves. In addition, you now have the ability to change direction more quickly in low-speed dribbles, as well as finer control over close touches. Some of these elements came from the dribbling system in FIFA Street, according to Rutter. While Street is an arcade game, the FIFA team felt that “mapping stick control one-to-one with foot movement work[ed] well,” and implemented parts of that setup in FIFA 13. Complete Dribbling also makes advanced dribbling tactics accessible to all players. It’s controlled completely by the left stick, so even novices who can’t pull off Skill Moves will be able to dribble circles around their opponents in FIFA 13. “What we would like is for everyone that plays our game to feel like they have tools to go around defenders,” said line producer Nick Channon. First Touch Control means nobody’s perfect McHardy played footage from a real soccer match in which Ronaldinho perfectly trapped a pass from 50 meters out -- just one gentle tap from his foot, and the ball fell safely into possession. But he’s one of the world’s best footballers, and even he can’t pull that off in every situation. The next clip McHardy showed was from FIFA 12, in which a middling player managed to receive a long pass with perfect touch. That’s simply not realistic, and FIFA 13’s First Touch Control system aims to fix that. This year, the ball isn’t glued to your foot. The new system introduces “contextual trap error,” taking into account a wide variety of factors to determine how easy or difficult it will be for a player to secure the ball. Rain makes it much tougher; a soft pass is easier to gather, unless it’s coming to Earth from way up high; and a well-timed shove from a defender could make all the difference. First Touch Control also accounts for players’ attributes, differentiating the Ronaldinhos of the world from less skilled footballers. Channon made sure to note that it’s “unpredictable, [but] it’s not random, and that’s a very key difference.” EA Canada implemented the system to eliminate perfect control and introduce opportunities for your opponent to take back possession. Playing aggressive passes will make it harder for your teammates to corral them, and it will give the other team chances to pick up balls that bounced away from an attacker’s foot, providing balance to the more offense-minded gameplay changes discussed above. Getting physical on and off the ball with the Player Impact Engine The FIFA team debuted a completely new collision system with the Player Impact Engine last year, and it had its share of glitches. Many of those errors -- the infamous “kiss,” or players’ limbs being forced into biomechanically-impossible-without-tearing-tissue positions -- arose because FIFA 12 didn’t properly model the musculoskeletal structure of its players. Joints now have the proper tension associated with them, and EA Canada has added (and slowed down) animations so players can disentangle themselves without expressing their love for each other. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. “What’s really rewarding this year is building loads of features” on top of FIFA 12’s solid foundation, said Channon. The original Player Impact Engine had a major limitation: it only calculated physics for collisions in which one player already had the ball. Two opponents waiting for a pass to drop, however, had very little interaction. FIFA 13’s evolution of real-time physics allows for players to push and pull each other off the ball, bringing in the crucial element of jockeying for position. “We never really had that concept in our game,” Channon told me, “and I think that’s something we’re very excited about.” This development makes playing defense much more active, and it allows bigger players to use their size and strength to their advantage in preventing attackers from getting to the ball. It’s all about the “battle for the ball,” said Channon, noting that “it’s like any sport, really: if you’ve got good body position, you’ll generally be in a good place.” Tactical Free Kicks provide creative freedom I have limited experience playing FIFA, but even I’ve noticed that free kicks weren’t very exciting -- not nearly as interesting as they are in real life. “Free kicks, in FIFA, have just been kicking the ball over the wall,” admitted Channon. That’s only one element of many in the highly variable setup, and FIFA 13 finally retools the system to give you numerous options, both on offense and defense. The kicking team can now organize up to three players over the ball to play around with fakes, and execute dummy runs to take the ball down the side or to the front. Test bed footage showed two players hopping over the ball, after which the third player sent a pass to the first, who put a shot on goal. You can add to or subtract from the defensive wall, and even creep upward (with the potential for the referees to notice and penalize you). If you mis-time a shot-blocking attempt, you can reform the wall and jump again. More aggressive teams can send a player toward the kickers to intercept passes or block shots. These changes have been “in the making for a while,” Channon told me, “and we felt that this year was the time to do it.” Minor enhancements can have major effects McHardy closed his presentation by discussing additional gameplay improvements. Last year’s iteration of real-time physics made it “infinitely more difficult” for referees to call fouls correctly, so the team has “re-architected” the rules system to work better. They have also humanized the CPU by making it a bit more forgiving, especially on Professional difficulty, which used to be robotically perfect. Lateral defensive containment is a new option, letting defenders cut off passing lanes by moving sideways instead of only toward or away from attackers. On offense, you can take advantage of new pass types, sending lofted through balls or passes that bounce over defenders’ outstretched legs. EA Canada has also added animations for 180-degree shots, off-balance shots, and celebrations. As you can see, EA Canada is doing a lot of work to more accurately simulate soccer. It took Rutter, Channon, and McHardy 90 minutes to cover all the new gameplay features -- that’s how much is changing this year. I heard a few amazed gasps from fellow journalists during the presentation, so it seems like FIFA fans have a lot of stuff to get excited about between now and FIFA 13’s launch this fall.
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The draw of “reality” television is its ostensibly greater degree of unpredictability over scripted shows, the coveted “you can’t make this stuff up” factor. Many simulation videogames better rep...

Review: FIFA Street

Apr 13 // Joseph Leray
FIFA Street (Xbox 360 [reviewed], PlayStation 3)Developer: EA CanadaPublisher: EA SportsRelease: March 13, 2012 (NA) / March 16, 2012 (EU)MSRP: $59.99 Everything in FIFA Street -- from the granular acts of dribbling and juggling past opponents to the overarching systems that govern in-game tournaments and team-building -- feels loose and disconnected. There are two different dribbling systems, but they never seem to interact. The right analog stick governs a large number of pre-animated flicks, step-overs, roulettes, and turns designed to be performed within the run of play. Another discrete system for dribbling while standing still ostensibly attaches your avatar's foot to the ball with an invisible string, but there seems to be no overlap between the two. While there’s a certain joy in being able to (relatively easily, compared to the core FIFA series) pirouette around opponents, this joy is tempered by the concessions required to make it possible. Street employs the same player impact engine used to great effect in FIFA 12, but in a mutated, shambolic form. Despite the ease with which players can make something cool happen on screen, Street is surprisingly hard to control for a game predicated on sophisticated dribbling, thanks to a mix of funky collision detection and overlong animations.It is, for example, impossible to make a player turn around and face his own goal if he has the ball. On both defense and offense, players get locked into elaborate animations, which lengthens input lag considerably. Players veer away from loose balls or inexplicably fall to the ground, apparently registering collisions that never happened. When collisions do occur, Street’s distorted physics take over, sending players flying, landing in crumpled heaps.Sports games depend on player skill and decision-making having a tangible impact on each game -- it’s what differentiates your first FIFA match from your hundredth. With its loose, unresponsive controls, Street denies players the opportunity to exert their will, and learning and massaging the engine’s quirks and pratfalls is often the most fruitful course of action. This gives Street the impression of being even flatter and more repetitive than most sports games. Nevertheless, there’s a certain rhythm that guides each match and, when things are going well, the game can be pretty fun in the same way that, say, Asura’s Wrath may have been considered fun: audacious, maximalist, ostentatious.It’s a shame, then, that these dribbling mechanics, problematic as they are, never feed back into the match at all.The original FIFA Street, from way back in 2005, featured a sort of trick meter that filled up every time you humiliated some poor shmuck. Once full, this bar unlocked a nigh-unstoppable trick shot that, judiciously used, could sway the momentum of a game. There’s no such mechanic in this year’s FIFA Street, though; and the ball hops, neck stalls, and rainbows are the ends unto themselves, not part of the larger structure of actually winning soccer matches. The dribbling and juggling mechanics simply aren’t good enough to support the weight of a fully-fledged game.This is mitigated by some of Street’s more uncommon modes. In the “Panna” and “Freestyle” modes, different skills and moves are assigned point values (the flashier the better) that are stored in a bank. Scoring a goal gives you the points in your bank, and drains the opposing team of theirs. These modes differ from the standard match insofar as dribbling and juggling -- the core of Street -- are central to winning each match, instead of being tangentially related activities. Here, dribbling becomes a tactical choice instead of a flashy distraction.“Last Man Standing” -- in itself a variation of a common playground soccer game called “World Cup” -- also uses the available mechanics relatively well. The game starts with a full team on each side, but players are periodically dropped as each team scores goals. The first team to get rid of all their players wins. This mode isn’t as explicitly tied to the dribbling mechanics as Panna and Freestyle are, but the crazy techniques feel more vital in one-on-three situations than they do in the standard mode -- which, incidentally, comprises the bulk of Street’s campaign. As previously noted, tricks in FIFA Street come with numerical values. In the career mode, these values build up as each player on your ever-expanding team successfully darts around a defender. The values are then translated into skill points, which are spent on upgrading your teammates’ attributes.These RPG systems have been inoffensive mainstays in the genre for years, but Street’s are intrusive and ungainly. They generally feel like a way to arbitrarily gate players’ access to certain moves and abilities. Most of the dribbling mechanics are based on half-circle turns and flicks of the right stick in conjunction with certain other button presses. (There are dozens of different tricks at your disposal, but remembering them enough to use them effectively seems impossible.) The patterns are recognizable, which means you may (falsely) be encouraged to experiment. But if you perform an action without having first unlocked it, your in-game avatar will stand there, vacantly. Instead of emulating the freewheeling samba of street soccer, Street constantly puts up arbitrary roadblocks. On the one hand, skill points are accrued very quickly, which means you shouldn't have trouble crafting a viable team after a few hours. On the other, in a game ostensibly about fast-paced soccer, you'll be slogging through unintuitive menus after every match to do so.  To recap: FIFA Street weds clunky physics to needlessly complex dribbling mechanics, and loops it back around to a tacked-on RPG system.The Street franchise has always been billed as a lightweight alternative to EA Sports’ core titles, easygoing arcade games in the style of NBA Jam, NFL Blitz, or, hell, Mega Man Soccer. And if soccer is the world’s game, FIFA Street has always been coated in a vaguely Eurotrash sheen. Previous iterations have been carefree and simplified, but they were responsive, fun, and thoroughly committed to a campy, so-called “arcade” experience. FIFA Street embraces the unfortunate task of asking me to remain po-faced as my character flip-flapsand hocus pocuses his way through the graffitied back-alleys of western France, and it rarely works. This reboot takes itself too seriously -- every texture is spit-shined and gleaming, every animation wrought with care -- without the self-awareness to sacrifice technical sophistication for ease of use. FIFA Street is enjoyable only under the best circumstances, before the engine and the sheer density of barely distinguishable, locked-out moves take over.
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The somewhat mythologized sub-genre called street soccer -- as presented by FIFA Street -- is hedonistic and excessive, with a strong tilt toward showboating and theatrics. It’s puzzling, then, that EA Sports decided to...

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EA closing servers for a number of games


Mar 19
// Jim Sterling
Electronic Arts is closing down the servers for a number of games, including a few that required paid online passes to activate. A representative told Beefjack that dwindling activity on the games is the reason, and that "les...
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FIFA Street to get its own in-game social network


Jan 24
// Harry Monogenis
EA Sports' FIFA Street reboot is almost upon us and so the studio has decided to today announce an interesting new feature; the "Street Network." The Street Network will serve as an in-game social network for FIFA Street...

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