FIFA 11 for iPhone console quality gaming on a hand held device

FIFA 11 iPhone 9

FIFA 11 Rating: ★★★★½

There has been a constant struggle between the beauty of FIFA and the slick controls of Pro Evolution Soccer across all gaming platforms and to be honest I have also fallen on the side of PES.

However, with FIFA 11 just being released including a version for the iPhone my love of PES may be about to be challenged. So how does FIFA 11 for the iPhone shape up?

Well it comes as no surprise that the game looks spectacular. The menu system is sleek and sharp and then you get into the in-game graphics and the players which take the graphics for soccer games to a whole new level. The stadium, pitches and weather effects all look great, esp. on the retina display of the iPhone 4 and the player animations are the best I’ve ever seen on a handheld device.

The kits are accurate, including sponsorship logo’s, names and the player likeness is spot on with most of them being easily identifiable even before seeing their names on the back of the shirts. This attention to detail makes the whole game much more enjoyable.

There are over 500 teams in FIFA 11 and because it’s FIFA they are all officially licensed so there are no issues of having to play matches between such teams as West London Blues vs Man Red, instead it’s Chelsea vs Manchester United. This also applies to the player names.

As we all know though beauty is only skin deep, and as good as a game looks if it doesn’t play well those looks will mean nothing.

FIFA 11 iPhone 2

There are currently 3 modes to FIFA 11, a quick one off game takes the form of Kick-Off or Practice Arena, while for those looking for a long term challenge there are the league and cup modes. The are over 30 leagues to choose from in league mode including all the major leagues from all over the world and all four of the English leads. In the cup mode all the major cup competions are also covered. Needless to say there is a lot of depth to FIFA 11 and something for everyone, whether you call the beautiful game Football, Soccer or Futbal.

The one mode that is missing is a multi-player option and while this is disappointing the good news is that there is a multi-player option in the navigation menu with a ‘coming soon’ notice. Whether this multi-player option is going to be just local or online remains to be seen and while it’s a disappointment that it’s not available at launch but the is good news is that it’s on its way.

So we’ve established that FIFA 11 has both beauty and depth, so what about the controls and the overall gameplay?
I don’t know why this has never been thought of before but FIFA 11 has introduced the most simplest of features to the control system that I have never seen before, so simple in fact that it makes playing the game much more intuitive than any other football game, on any system, that I’ve ever played.

Firstly there is the floating d-pad that positions itself wherever you place your left thumb meaning that there is no risk of accidentally missing the d-pad and subsequently missing that vital turn or mis-directing that defense cutting pass. That being said that has been done before, what is new though is the fact that the three virtual action buttons all have there corresponding action written directly on them.

Where as previous versions of FIFA and other games including PES have utilized different color or A, B and C buttons to control passing, tackling and shooting FIFA 11 actually have the actions written on the buttons themselves. On attack the buttons are named Pass, Through and Shoot and as soon as your team looses possession they automatically change to Tackle, Slide and Switch.

FIFA 11 iPhone 4

This simple use of actually naming the buttons has made the learning curve of FIFA 11 very short indeed. Of course there are more advanced controls that can be used to break down the more stubborn defenses. For example double tapping the screen will make your player complete a special move. These special moves can be spectacular, but can also leave you sitting on your back side.

The action is slick and fluid, players respond quickly to your controls and the ball flows smoothly across the screen. It has to be said though on occasion where I had multiple applications running on my iPhone 4 there was occasional slow down, not enough to spoil the game though.

The sound effects are good with the crowd cheering at all the appropritate times and the commentary by football stalwarts Clive Tyldesley and Andy Gray is the best I’ve heard, especially on a hand-held device.

While FIFA 11 has the quickest pick up and play game play that I’ve ever come across it’s no light weight when it comes to configurations, options and team management. From multiple games settings such as radar on/off, camera control and player switching sensitivity to team management control including formation settings, kick takers and tactics there is enough depth for even the most serious player.

If you like football/soccer games there is now only one choice for you and that is FIFA 11. Not only is it overflowing with quality throughout but at only $4.99 it offers great value for money.

Pros

  • Best looking football game to date
  • Ground breaking control system
  • Overflowing with options

Cons

  • No multi-player at launch

Reviewed on an iPhone 4

$4.99 (view in iTunes)
Category: Games
Released:Sep 30, 2010
Reviewed Version:1.0.0
Size: 858 MB
Languages:English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish
Seller:Electronic Arts
© 2010 Electronic Arts Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Requirements:Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.

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