#1 of 2011: FIFA 12

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Posted January 5th, 2012 at 9:30 am

Joining the elite class of Pastapadre Game of the Year winners is 2011’s top entry FIFA 12. Though not without its own issues what it offered was the most well-rounded and fully-featured experience embodying everything one could ask for out of sports title. FIFA 12 also gets credit for taking a chance by introducing new technology and innovating in a time where companies have become more risk-averse than ever. 

The ranking of games in the best of 2011 list is based on number of factors including the personal amount of enjoyment had with a particular title, whether advertised features were fully delivered, post-release support, community interaction and communication, overall gameplay experience, feature set, and online play performance. Again this is largely a personal take and one with the advantage of tracking the games beyond just the release frame and does not act as some sort of recap of those with the highest scores on Metacritic. The analysis is weighted heavily towards those high in fun factor while considering them as a whole and compared relatively to the field.

Related: Online Seasons Impressions – Biggest Sports Game Sales Numbers in History – Impact Engine Proves Problematic – “Hacking” ties to FIFA

The fastest selling sports game in history earned that designation by providing top notch gameplay, paying great attention to detail, further enhancing presentation and atmosphere, having a deep feature set, and providing fantastic online performance. FIFA 12 was able to have appeal and appease the hardcore fans of the sport while retaining a ‘pick up and play’ nature for others – a delicate balance that most sports franchises have been unable to pull off.

The new “Impact (physics) Engine” delivered dynamic feel on the pitch but also created its share of problematic moments. There were times where frustration settled in when a player appeared to have been mauled but no call was made by the ref. These wonky physics moments were unavoidable and blatant but somewhat to be expected in the first year of implementation. At the very least credit is due to trying to push the series forward even as it sits on the mountain top and further refinement and benefits will be realized in future years.

‘Online Seasons’ made for arguably the best new feature in a sports game in 2011. Not only was the replay value so readily apparent to the structure but it encouraged users to complete their games rather than drop out when losing because of the penalty that would be assessed to their “season”. The system usually created fair and even match-ups in user skill and team quality and the goal to reach was clear in terms of earning points within the “season” to move up to the next level. Unique commentary that cited recent results and circumstances within the “season” added a lot to the experience as well. No lag online, even in full Online Team Play matches, was ever come upon. The series continues to impress with its online performance and features.

Reflecting negatively on the FIFA series has been the opportunity opened up by EA Sports for nefarious characters to exploit Ultimate Team mode for profit. It has since become associated with what many consider to be “hackings” though has been determined simply to be products of social engineering. Hijacked accounts show FIFA usage as those individuals spend the Microsoft points or use credit cards on the accounts to purchase in-game Ultimate Team items to then flip and sell on sites like Ebay. It’s a loophole that EA must find a way to close in the future or they’ll continue to get bad press because of it.

FIFA 12 was the game that I kept going back to – it was the one game that I would often be thinking about wanting to play when I wasn’t. The addictive nature and incredibly fun gameplay being coupled with a relatively limited time investment makes it tough to beat. Those who wanted to go deeper with the game were given plenty of opportunity to do so with its dearth of modes all of which were well designed and rewarding. While FIFA 12 wasn’t necessarily an ‘all-time great game’ it was ultimately the best of 2011 and went to show just how much could be achieved when the proper resources and a high level of dedication are realized.

Earlier Year-in-Review Pieces
•Community Choice Award Winners
•The Biggest Stories of 2011
•#1: FIFA 12
•#2: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters
•#3: Madden NFL 12
•#4: MLB 11: The Show
•#5: NBA 2K12
•#6: WWE All-Stars
•#7: NCAA Football 12
•#8: NHL 12
•#9: Fight Night Champion
•#10: MLB Bobblehead Pros

  • Nyclou
  • Gd

    Pasta, your social engineering theory has already proven to be an excuse used by the two companies involved fir not admitting that Xbox live accounts are being “hacked” by Chinese hackers. This is complete bullshit and a smokescreen defense. These accounts are being hacked and both of these companies are blaming the other. If you are using Xbox live to play EA games online, you will probably get your account hacked too.

    • Tom

      People are paying money to view ads and get their accts hacked on Xbox live. Gotta love it.

    • It’s not really a theory – that’s the official word from MS on the subject. The (relatively) low number of people it has happened to suggests it isn’t some kind of exploit as hackers would have taken much greater advantage of it as soon as it was discovered. There may be something else going on of course but no evidence to that effect yet.

      Also, any ties to EA are questionable, since people who’ve never played an EA game have lost control of their accounts.

      • Tom

        Duh…that was also the official word on the Rrod situation. Deny,deny, deny. Good job Pasta. Your credibility is taking a quite a hit lately. This is a big problem. Not a relatively small problem. This hacking problem is real and the real press are starting to take notice. Good one Pasta.

  • VrlinM

    Well deserved. My favorite game by far. Glad to see it won both the community award and site award. The more people that recognize it and give it a try even if they arent soccer fans the better.

  • Anonymous

    Yep!!! What I’ve been saying all along.  2-10 was a wash as all those games were lackluster, but FIFA is #1 hands down this year. 

    I don’t want to hear any b.s. about Pasta riding EA on this topic either.  A lot of you corny dudes just hate to be hating, knowing damn well you at home jacking off and playing Madden with ya punk asses.

    FIFA is what sports games are supposed to be.  Yeah there is some shortcomings in it, but my euro-homeys don’t have near as many complaints about FIFA as we do with Madden, NCAA, the Show and 2k basketball.

    I give props to the FIFA team for this valiant effort. Real Talk.

    • Tom

      Oh…just because you happen to love a particular EA game, all this EA hype that Pasta is shilling everyday is just everyone else being haters? Finish your koolaid, grab your helmet and crayons head to the playground with the other brainwashed retards. Gamers didn’t use to be this gullible. This is an EA advertising site masquerading as a sports gaming site.

      • Anonymous

        You clowns keep trying to knock me, but you can’t touch the kid.  

        Where did I say Pasta wasn’t down with EA?

        I said that’s not the reason he chose FIFA #1. I’ve already agreed with Keith and a few others that Pasta has an obvious bias, I was calling out the random haters who cry about Madden but are really at home loving it. 

        Now that you’ve been properly schooled, please remove your hands from my nuts and proceed to the nearest exit.

        • Tom

          Ok. Good enough. My bad. He probably chose Fifa to help cover up the bad press popping up about these hacking incidents. This story has legs people. Mark my words.

  • Phil Shannon

    I am surprised this won the community award too because soccer isnt that big here in the US, which makes this game better

  • Keith.

    I’m skeptical of the community results, considering the mediocre US sales (a little over 1M combined between 360 and PS3) and the complete lack of interest with every FIFA article pasta posts (hell, this game of the year thread only has 11 posts, and 3/4 of ’em concern the hacking issue…lol). Then again, FIFA’s sales have gone up a little bit this year, unlike Madden’s, TW, NCAA and NHL, so at least there’s that.

  • “FIFA 12 was the game that I kept going back to – it was the one game
    that I would often be thinking about wanting to play when I wasn’t. The
    addictive nature and incredibly fun gameplay being coupled with a
    relatively limited time investment makes it tough to beat.”

    I couldn’t agree with that sentiment more. I could get almost10 games of FIFA in for the price of two games of, say, NBA 2K12 or Madden and one could easily get a game or two in during a limited amount of time. Online Seasons is the best online mode I’ve seen in a sports game – and it kept pushing me to do better and better. Hit a wall at Level 6 though…