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12:50 PM on 08.24.2010

FIFA 11 Hands-on

As some of the Dtoid UK guys know, I'm one of the team over at, and as part of that, yesterday I was invited to the ever-impressive Emirates Stadium for some hands on time with the that latest in the FIFA dynasty, and some Q&A time with the developers.

But rather than just copy-pasting my preview for my other website, I'll be taking a bit of extra time to go into some of the stuff that the Dtoid community will be interested in, and generally go a bit more in-depth.

And also, on here, I get to mention the word 'penis'.

Publisher: EA Sports
Console Previewed: PS3
Build: Demo

Graphically, the game improves on the benchmark set by FIFA 10, by simply doing more of the simple things right. As well as tweaking textures on the grass and adding a new level of detail to the player’s hair and kits, EA Sports boasts that this game features more ‘Star Faces’ than ever before – meaning that you can expect more of your favourite players to look more realistic than ever.

This will come as a huge feather in the FIFA cap, as the Pro Evolution Soccer series had much more authentic-looking player models last year.

In fact, the whole game seems to have had the ‘colour’ levels turned up a bit more over last year’s edition, meaning that the game immediately looks more exciting and vibrant.

As soon as you get your hands on FIFA 11, fans of the series will notice the pacing of the game has been lowered significantly from the universally lauded FIFA 10.

This slight tweak in pacing is something of a double-edged sword for the long-running series. On the upside, the game feels much more deliberate and thoughtful when playing with top teams – the revamped passing system (more on that later) is clearly the reason for the change in pace, as it encourages even the best FIFA player to consider each forward move carefully, rather than just Lob-through-ball’ing their way over an opponents back four.

The downside to this change is unfortunately a touch more frustrating – as the players that suffer most from this change in pace are wingers and forwards. It’s much harder to simply burn past sluggish centre-backs with pacey attackers, which can be hugely annoying as you look to destroy a centre-back with Lionel Messi, only for the slower pace to allow the defender enough time to block you.

The passing mode has been tweaked, and you're going to have to hold the pass and through-ball buttons for longer to get the sort of passes you got in '10. It sounds like it'll be a pain in the ass, but it's actually much more satisfying than just pinging passes between your midfield.

You get a much greater sense of 'weighting' each pass between players, and after a few games you'll find yourself accidentally passing to the wrong player less and less, thanks to this greater degree of control.

But, if you’re the one doing the defending, it’s hugely rewarding to deny what would have been a sure-fire chance in previous incarnations of FIFA. New animations and a revised probability engine make blocking the attacker from the front hugely satisfying; if you take satisfaction from staunch defensive performances, you’re going to love FIFA 11.

Whilst on the subject of new animations, there’s been a whole new set of celebrations cooked up for FIFA 11. Some of the highlights included the classy Kaka ‘Hands-Clasped-in-Prayer’ and the almost-over-the-top group Ricky-Gervais-esque dancing. We’ve got a feeling that we’ll be seeing that one a lot in the online mode.

As revealed at Gamescom (Big love to Hollie and the team for the Gamescom coverage!) this weekend, the online mode is getting some exciting new features too; 11 v 11 Be a Pro and controllable goalkeepers.

The increased Be a Pro team sizes are nice, but everyone will be itching to get their mitts on the Goalkeeper mode more than anything else, as this is the first time this feature has ever been included in the FIFA series!

There are two key visual differences that you’ll notice when stepping between the sticks for the first time. The main one is the Position indicator, which handily recommends where your ‘keeper’s positioning should be in relation to the ball. You are, of course, free to ignore this indicator if you fancy a more unorthodox style of goalkeeping – but it definitely makes the whole experience much less intimidating.

The other key difference is the ‘tracer’ that comes off the football when it’s coming into the area. As anyone that’s played the Be a Pro mode in FIFA 10 can appreciate – the directly behind the player camera angle would make it extremely difficult for a ’keeper to judge a ball coming in high, and this ribbon that follows the ball in flight evens the playing field a bit.

As for controlling the keeper – EA have done a surprisingly intuitive job for their first time at ‘keeper controlling. Rather than having diving assigned to a button, it’s instead mapped to the right analogue stick. This not only means that you can control the intensity of a keeper’s dive – but it also prevents the game accidentally interpreting kicks as dives and vice versa.

Away from the pitch, FIFA 11 is all about a mind-melting array of customizable options.

From the Creation Centre, you’ll be able to not only Create players using EA’s industry leading GameFace technology (including 3 more ‘body types’ than last season) but they’ll also be able to make their own Club, choose a stadium, and even create a custom kit and crest (though kits and crests will be based on templates, rather than a full ‘create your own’ feature).

But the customization doesn’t stop there – this year you’ll be able to use any audio file on your system’s hard drive as a custom chant – so you and your buddies can sing your hearts out for your custom player/custom team and have it modulated by the crowd in-game.

Though if you use this feature to create the noise of the Vuvuzela, I’m afraid I just won’t be able to condone that!

Finally, in the Q&A with EA Sports Vancouver's David Rutter, some interesting tid-bits were shared regarding some of the more intimate details of the game.

Big questions for balancing the online mode have been addressed, such as custom formations and cheap 'lob-pass' shots have all been looked into and addressed, and smaller questions such as have FIFA secured additional licensing for international federations like the Ivory Coast were also addressed (that's a No for all you Drogba and Kalou fans, by the way).

Rutter was also exceedingly coy about DLC, both launch day and future; the only launch day DLC that he would confirm is the Live Season stat updates, and responded with a firm 'No Comment' on the subject of a return for the addictive Ultimate Team mode.

The EA Sports man also explained the Creation Centre, explaining that Kits and Crests are restricted to recolouring a large range of templates, rather than a fully fledged graphic editor as he 'knows what people are like first we'll have hundreds of kits and crests with penises on them, and we'll spend ages taking them down then my inbox will be flooded by people asking 'Why can't I have my team running around with penises on their kits and crests'.

Clearly Mr. Rutter has been around the internet long enough to know that rule.

Overall, we definitely felt that FIFA 11 is a big step up for the series – but the biggest steps are made away form the core gameplay.

The Creation Centre is going to be a huge hit, with talk of Facebook integration for sharing your designs with your friends. The Goalkeeping is also a fun addition, those playing multiplayer with their friends now even have the option of playing as the keeper in the loading screen arena, while their friend takes shots – though I do worry about people being…silly with their goalkeeping responsibilities in the online mode!

The new pacing is going to be something that’s potentially divisive among FIFA fans. The majority will welcome the more tactical, slower paced gameplay. After a few games I found it even more rewarding to eek the perfect through-ball to Higuain and tuck it past the keeper, rather than just blazing past the opposition with Ronaldo.

But I’m guessing that some will miss the high-speed ‘ping-pong passing’ of FIFA 10 (though there is an option on the Pause menu to turn the game speed up to high if you really struggle to adjust) - the good news is the demo's going to land on the 15th of September, so you'll have time to judge for yourself soon enough!

I'm diving out for a pub quiz now - but if anyone's got any questions I'll do my utmost to answer them upon my return!   read

7:02 AM on 11.28.2009

ATTN: UK 360 Gamers: Left 4 Dead 2 £15!!

I know this is more Gemsi's line of work, but I had to share it with everyone and the C-Blogs have the biggest audience.

Left 4 Dead 2 is a mere £15 with free P&P on!

Perfect if you're skint in the run up to Christmas or want to buy something for the zombie-hatin' gamer in your life!

Here's a link for speed's sake:

This might be a mis-price so it's best not to second guess it and go, go, GO!   read

10:11 AM on 09.24.2009

The Forgotten: Global Gladiators

Everyone remembers their first console – I remember waking up on my 6th birthday and my parents had set up a Sega Master System II on the TV in mine and my brothers room, so the first thing I saw on the January morning was the demo screen of Sonic the Hedgehog dancing across the screen. After abusing my older brother’s Vectrex – I now had a console of my own.

From then on, I was hooked on platformers. After being confined to one screen by Minestorm & Bedlam, I was released to levels that felt like they’d never end! I devoured Sonic, me and my dad used to stay up ‘late’ and take it in turns playing Sonic and Alex the Kidd in Miracle World, until Match of the Day came on pretty much every Saturday night.

But there was another game that came with the system, an odd curiosity that must have gone untouched for months until I peeled off the little white and blue ‘Sega’ sticker and prised open the notoriously stiff Master System cartridge box, and game was Global Gladiators.

Global Gladiators was a game that was chock full of McDonald’s advertising, sporting the Golden Arches logo on the ‘Press Start’ screen and a story that in some way involved Ronald McDonald (it was 16 years ago, some details might be vague) – but cast your mind back to when you were 6 years old, before you were a jaded cynic, before the thought of ads in games made you scared and angry. Chances are you didn’t care, or if you were like me – the fact that the heroes of the game started their adventure in a McDonalds restaurant, like the ones you’d go to for birthday parties or for a treat; that was fucking cool.

The game itself wasn’t bad either, and the first level was a masterstroke by the developers (which I now know was a team lead by Dave Perry, of the ‘Shiny’ fame). Whilst it was, yes, another platformer; you could tell there was something different about from that first level; ‘Slime World’ (Okay, they were obviously running low on creativity when it came to naming levels)


The graphics were like nothing in any Sonic the Hedgehog or Psycho Fox; all blocky and bright. This was dark, with organic looking textures, even the ground looked like it was gooey and soft. Where Sonic’s world was all chequered and stylised, Global Gladiators had concentrated more time and love into the art of its 4 levels.

Alex the Kidd had offered me something more than just jumping on enemies – I could punch them with a fist the size of my character and occasionally play Paper, Scissors, Stone with them. Yet here was a game I could fire projectiles from a super soaker-style gun to beat my foes.

I was all just so…different.

I’m fairly sure that if many were to go back and play it now they’d rubbish the game as a horrible little slice of corporate marketing, that’s unforgivably short with unimaginative characters (Mick & Mack, anyone?) a non-existent storyline and worst of all, “Not as good as the Mega Drive version”.

But at the time it was a game of ‘firsts’ for me – the first time I’d seen real-life advertising in games, such an unorthodox graphical style and taking down bad guys with a ‘gun’ and that’s why I think this game should be one of The Remembered.

(And if anyone says I could’ve got a similar experience with Cool Spot. That wasn’t Forgotten now, was it?)   read

8:36 AM on 09.03.2009

A Gamer Moves Out!

September’s going to be a pretty big deal for me, I've made a few changes to my usual way of life - not least of which is the decision that after 22 years of sponging off my parents; I’m taking the plunge and am going to move with my girlfriend.

As much as I’m going to miss being able to get away with the bare minimum around the house, free food and so on I’m really going to miss gaming with my brothers; see I’ve got 3 younger brothers – and since the days of the N64 they’ve been my favourite Players 2-4 (in descending age order, anyone else with 3 siblings knows ‘how we do’).

But let’s not let this turn into a sadblog! I’ve bought another 360 that’s been living with the missus, and now I’m ready to start my new collection, it’s a great excuse for a Gold subscription and maybe play some of my older games through again! But what’s most important for me is some killer co-op games I can play with the boys back at the homestead.

That’s why I’ve come at the community’s mercy – what games would you recommend for me to play online?

I’m definitely going to be picking up FIFA10 and Modern Warfare 2 when they drop this autumn, but are there any games I could pick up on the cheap that I might’ve missed out on?

Back at home my brothers have games like Rainbow 6 Vegas: 2, Saints Row 2 and Crackdown that have online only co-op modes I’ve never tried - not to mention I could probably pick up copies for myself for about £20.

So (to summarise neatly in a question) which are the essential games to play online co-op with people you know on the Xbox360?

Cheers!   read

8:52 AM on 07.28.2009

Current Gen Games for Long Haul Flights

Last week I returned to the UK from Brisbane – I’m sure there are a fair few travelling D’toiders who have also done similar length trips and know that, depending on the amount of Alcohol and sleeping tablets available, these 21 hour flights can be a real mind-number.

For the last few years or so the companies behind long haul flights have moved beyond movies and instead have provided video games to play, when I flew to the US a few years ago Virgin Atlantic had an awesome selection of SNES classics to pass the time.

This time I rocked Emirates, who had opted for an even more classic selection of games, ranging from some pretty sweet 1942-style vertical scrolling sh’mups to between-seat multiplayer Tetris.

So, whilst I was making my girlfriend weep with envy at my Tetris madskillz I got thinking about which current-gen titles would keep me entertained for half the circumference of the earth itself. This, in turn, made my girlfriend cry even more as she realised I was multi-tasking, and was now superior to her in every way.

Mass Effect

The Length – If you were looking to kill a whole flight in one game, this’d do the trick nicely.

Audio – The amount of dialogue in Mass Effect is nothing short of staggering, and in terms of sound it’s not all grenade blasts and gunfire, like, say a Call of Duty game - which would really start to split my skull after a marathon stint with the headphones in.


Graphics – Darker interior environments and on screen commands would be really tricky to see on the little screens on the back of the headrest.

Hawt Alien Secks – Lets face it, not many people like sitting next to odd strangers on planes. Absolutely no-one wants to sit next to the dude that’s watching blue bitches cop off with their on-screen avatar.

Mario Kart Wii


Replay Value – with three classes and all those cups to win I could spend all day with any Mario Kart game, but this one offers the most tracks for my money, even if they are re-hashes of previous generations.

Bright Colours – Nice big character shapes and bright coloured tracks would make it easy to see what’s going on, even on a smaller screen - but would probably be horrifically distracting to the person trying to sleep next to you.


Sound: I think after 21 hours of continuous ‘Ya-Hooo!’s and ‘Ahh-woh-woh-woh!’s I’d probably by ready off myself.

Controls: Of all the people on the plane you will end up next to the over-enthusiastic child who insists on throwing his elbows around the steering wheel (despite it being the clearly inferior method of control) knocking hot coffee onto your crotch. Sorry, that’s the way life is.

Saints Row 2


Graphics: More brightly coloured than GTA4 and less repetitive than Crackdown so that’s why it’s my open world game of choice.

Sound: Most of Saints Row’s more mature themes (drug trafficking, self-prostitution) are implied by sound, so thanks to headphones the person watching you would probably be clueless to your sordid deeds.


Stylistics: After 19 hours of Sleep-deprivation, jet-lag and unlimited booze, you will start to laugh your tits off at the fact your character is dressed as a giant Hot-dog with an amazing Guy Ritchie style ‘Lahn-dan’ accent. It’s inevitable. Enjoy being escorted off the plane upon landing; you bat-shit crazy cockney weinerman.

So, what do you think? There's plenty of games this gen that'd be great time-killers (I've completely skipped over sports, for some reason) let me know what'd keep you happy!

I've ignored the idea of multiplayer this time round, are there any games you think might make a sweet plane-spanning LAN party?

That said, maybe you think the current gen wouldn't translate until the screens on planes get bigger, or are just happy with the chance to spend some quality time kicking it old school?

Let me know - it's my first post here on Destructoid (Long time reader-commenter, even longer time procrastinator) and I'd love to get more involved in the community!   read

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