Within moments of inserting FIFA 12 I was struck by just how different the new defending system is. Not one to shy away from a challenge, I pursued the tactical defending system with rigour, slowly learning how to employ RB, RT, A, B, LT and the left analogue stick in appropriate fashion. Three weeks down the line I am fairly competent with this new defending system, but I still cannot compete for ball possession or passing accuracy with the CPU AI (on professional difficulty). I jostle and contain and I jostle and contain and I jostle and contain and I jostle and contain and then the computer runs the ball into touch. That is what I do for 58 percent of pretty much every match that I play. Joy is the notable absent from this equation.
What’s the problem here?
The defensive system is just too passive; the computer controls the ball for what feels like an eternity, and every single game I play feels like work. I practice the defensive system, then I work for the ball and then I find myself wondering what in God’s name I am doing with the finite period of time that I have left on this planet. Without exception I have felt my blood boil with frustration as I watch the CPU make pass after pass after pass, and it just sickens me.
As an avid footballer, I understand the complex nature of pleasure and pain that makes football such a wonderful sport. However, it is this balance that has been completely destroyed with FIFA 12. The frustration of playing the computer far outweighs the pleasure of scoring a goal. Simply put, FIFA 12 is just not fun.
Football would not be the most popular activity on earth if it did not induce immense amounts of pleasure. You don’t have to be Lionel Messi to enjoy a good game of footy with your mates. The same cannot be said for FIFA 12. The manner in which the CPU plays, the tortoise like speed of the game, the limp defensive system and the pain of having to ‘work’ endlessly for the ball make this entry in the FIFA series the worst that EA has ever released. Every game I have played has reminded me that I could be doing something far more valuable with my time, such as playing real football, going to the gym or playing an awesome game like Gears of War 3. I intend to sell my copy as soon as possible, because playing a game should not induce more stress than joy. Do not believe the hype. There are better ways to spend your time and money. Trust me.