NanDEMOnai is a semi-regular attempt to profile demos for forthcoming games as unbiasedly as possible, based on their own merits and without any consideration of hype, publisher legacy, place within a franchise, or basis on any existing property. I'm just here to discuss how the demo feels, whether it makes the upcoming release stand out as interesting, and extrapolate how the full game may end up being. Basically, a preview with as little context as possible, like a blind date.
To be fair, the extent of my football (or soccer, for you American gorgs) experience, in video game form, is mostly limited to Mega Man Soccer and the Super Mario Strikers titles. I've played a FIFA or two before, but not since the PS2 at the very latest.
One thing that was nice about this demo is that, despite being locked, a lot of the extra features had brief descriptions under their menu headings, rather than being greyed-out mysteries, only to be unveiled with the purchase of the full version of the game. Also nice was that the demo went out of its way to show off the new defensive options available in this iteration, pushing the player through a brief tutorial on what EA's calling "Tactical Defense."
Exhibitions are the only playable mode, but at least there are more than two teams to select from, and two of my favorites (Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal) were both available for play. While two-button controls may have been a bit better for me, I decided to try and be a bit more civilized and use their "classic," mostly face-button oriented layout. Things felt really fluid and under my command, the AI seemed pretty good at predicting where I was trying to pass, and everything looked really nice. From the on-field player models to the cutscenes, digital soccer dudes have clearly come a long way.
I can recommend checking out this demo, if not the full game, if you're into serious footy, especially if the defensive options showcased in the aforementioned tutorial weren't in the series at all before. And even if they're not particularly new features, the demo at least convinced me as much. If Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 proves to be better, which I'll be finding out shortly, apologies in advance for wasting your time and bandwidth.
(TBH, I cannot wait for some games other than this year's crop of sports titles to see demo releases. Then these might actually be lengthier and more worthwhile.)
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