“Play­ers now have the chance to recre­ate Messi’s ge­nius for them­selves”

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Games & Apps -

re­al­is­tic re­pro­duc­tion of fa­cial ex­pres­sions, and the game­play, which is ab­sorb­ing.

While im­prove­ment in graph­ics are wel­come, it’s the ac­com­pa­ny­ing changes in game­play – more re­al­is­tic, more ab­sorb­ing, more fun – that re­ally make the dif­fer­ence to gamers. It’s a pack­age deal.

The launch of Fifa 12, EA’s foot­ball fran­chise, will pro­vide a sim­i­lar leap for­ward for the sports game. Fifa 12 has upped its game in graph­ics as well as play. Most of this is down to the Im­pact En­gine, the new physics sys­tem be­hind the game, and its de­vel­op­ment team’s cur­rent pride and joy.

Lionel Messi’s skills were much ad­mired in the Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal, and now play­ers have the chance to recre­ate his ge­nius for them­selves. In Fifa 12, play­ers get Pre­ci­sion Drib­bling, which pro­vides far greater and more re­al­is­tic con­trol of the ball. Tac­ti­cal De­fend­ing has also been added, which brings greater skill than pre­vi­ous ver­sions of Fifa of­fered.

Col­li­sions are more ac­cu­rate – play­ers are taken off their feet and you’ll see fewer arms and legs ap­pear­ing through op­pos­ing play­ers’ tor­sos as they col­lide. And they’re more re­al­is­tic, so you don’t au­to­mat­i­cally lose the ball in con­tact.

The AI has also had an­other in­tel­li­gence up­grade, known as Pro Player In­tel­li­gence. A player with Peter Crouch’s par­tic­u­lar at­tributes, for ex­am­ple, will lean more to­wards us­ing his height ad­van­tage. Some­one of Cesc Fabre­gas’s abil­ity could use Fifa 12’ s “Vi­sion Map­ping” to pick out op­por­tu­ni­ties that lesser skilled play­ers could not.

Play­ers can build up in­juries as well, mean­ing a rel­a­tively mi­nor tackle could put them out of a ma­jor game at a cru­cial mo­ment.

The end re­sult is a more re­al­is­tic at­tempt at a soc­cer sim, one that wouldn’t have been pos­si­ble 10 years ago.

As this year’s E3 showed, de­vel­op­ers are not rest­ing on their lau­rels. We can ex­pect big­ger, bet­ter, more re­al­is­tic games over the next year and be­yond.

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