By now you’ve probably read many FIFA 12 impressions, both good and bad. You’ve probably also read Dave and Tom’s awesome Career Mode impressions over at FIFA Soccer Blog. If you haven’t, you certainly should. However, we’re not here to talk about the Career Mode or dissect the current state of FIFA 12’s gameplay (head on over to FIFA Soccer Blog for that), we’re here to give you our thoughts on the much neglected PC version. Myself and Mark put the game through its paces on the PC at EA Guildford last week, read on to see what we made of it.
The PC version of FIFA 12 was completely absent from my very high pre-Guildford excitement levels, which is unusual considering I am and always will be a PC gamer at heart. This is primarily due to one reason. I’m not going to beat around the bush here, the previous PC versions were complete trash. They were simply shoddy console ports missing a multitude of features, and haven’t been worth playing for a good few years now. This is a shame because FIFA on the PC used to have quite a large modding community. With that in mind, the PC version of FIFA 12 caught me completely off guard, tiger uppercutting through the low ceiling of my expectations whilst giving the finger to its inferior console counterparts
After a brief presentation by David Rutter about the new additions to the Career Mode, he delivered the words we were all on the edge of our seats waiting for, “go play”. Naturally everyone leapt up and headed towards the console set-ups. However, myself and Asim glanced towards the two PC rigs tucked away in the corner, which no-one had approached yet. We cautiously approached one of them, and allowed the sexy new FIFA 12 menus to seduce us into a exhibition match.
After selecting our teams and fiddling with controller settings, we headed into out first match. We found ourselves in the two player kick about arena which was introduced in FIFA 11, but after less than a second the match was fully loaded and we were prompted to press the start button. Commenting about how ridiculously fast the loading time was, conversation suddenly came to a stop as both our jaws hit the table. The game not only looked stunning and sharp, but it ran extremely well. I was completely shocked, mainly due previous rubbish that has been shoved under our noses. After a thoroughly enjoyable first match, we eagerly booted up another, once again flabbergasted by the none existent loading times. At this point people who went off to play the console versions had come over to have a look, and were just as amazed as us about how much better the PC version looked and how well it ran.
My newly found confidence was further bolstered when I went over to play the console versions. Sure, gameplay was identical, but both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions looked vastly inferior in comparison. The main reason why the the game looked so good on the PC was because it supported very high resolutions, as opposed to being upscaled like it is on the consoles. Performance wise too, the difference was night and day. We were told by Ian Jarvis (FIFA 12, PC Producer) that the game will run at 60 fps during gameplay and 30 fps when shifting to cutscenes. “It was obviously being ran on a monster PC”, I hear you shout. Not the case at all. The FIFA 12 minimum and recommended specifications are near enough the same as FIFA 11, and can be easily handled by an affordable gaming PC.
After my experience in Guildford, I am definitely getting the PC version of FIFA 12, there’s no two ways about it. If you have a decent gaming PC, you’d be silly not to follow suit. It really is that much better than the console versions.
A Second Opinion – Asim’s Impressions
Much like Mark, due to previous efforts, I wasn’t 100% what to expect when I get finally got hand-on with the PC version of FIFA 12. I was fully aware that EA had stated this year the PC version would be identical to its console counterparts in terms of gamplay features, but I just couldn’t be sure until I played the game and saw it with my own two eyes.
After several hours with the PC version, I must say, EA have redeemed themselves after last year’s extremely lazy effort. This year, not only will the PC version will have exactly the same gameplay features as the console versions, it will look and perform better too. As Mark stated, the higher resolutions offered on the PC (1900 x 1200 was the highest on the build we saw) and the extra power is what makes this all possible. Almost non-existent load times will mean less time to mess about in the arena before a match, but that’s a “sacrifice” I’m sure most PC gamers are willing to make. The fact that you won’t need a beast of a gaming PC to make all this possible is great. It’s not surprising though, given how fast PC gaming technology seems to advance.
Whilst the game looked great and ran really well for the most part, there were a few issues with the build on show. Gameplay ran as smoothly as you could wish, but during “cutscenes” the action seemed to stutter at times. To add to that, during corners a strange blur effect seemed to engulf the screen, which put a bit of dampener on the otherwise sharp and crisp visuals. The effect didn’t occur every single time a player was taking a corner, but it happened often enough to make it a graphical issue. Finally, if a match ended up as a draw after extra time and you went to penalties, the game crashed if you managed to score from 12 yards out. This happened every single time, without fail. However, we were assured that the development team are aware of these issues and they are being worked on.
Features wise, the lovely Ian Jarvis told us that this year’s PC version will finally have access to the Ultimate Team mode, something that got Mark rather excited! He also mentioned that the game will feature EA SPORTS Football Club integration. Interestingly enough, he went on to state that the PC version of FIFA 12 will be linked to EA’s recently launched online service, Origin. Jarvis gave one example of being able to send messages to friends via Origin, asking them to purchase FIFA 12 so you can play together. An interesting feature to say the least, I’m sure you’ll agree.
If you were following me on Twitter throughout the day of the playtest last week, you will already be aware of my not-so positive thoughts in relation to certains aspects of the gameplay, so I won’t go there for now. However, in relation to the PC version’s graphical fidelity and performance, I am in total agreement with Mark. This is what PC gamers have been waiting for from FIFA, and it seems like EA have finally delivered.