Eskimo Bro and AZ hit up the launch party for FIFA '11 in SoHo last week, where players from the New York Red Bulls were going head to head in a tournament. More importantly, it was an open bar so after getting jacked up on a few Red Bull vodkas, they got some face time with Sam Cooper from EA Sports as well as Irving Garcia and Mehdi Ballouchy from the NY Red Bulls. Check out a video of the festivities, above.
Authentic passing system: In a fluid new addition, “through balls” can now actually lead the player well, and this adds to a lot of sneaking behind the defenders. This is an improvement over FIFA '10, in which the passing felt choppy and it was hard to place the ball where you wanted. Be careful, though: It's easy to pass too far or too wide. I like that, since the old FIFA games made passing too easy. Although, when you're looking for a fun, quick “arcade-type” game, it gets frustrating.
Career Mode: This is a tweaked version of “Be a Pro” from other versions from EA. It lets you have a 15-year run as a player (yes 15-years) and take care of all the business on and off the pitch. It gets complicated, but allows you to get deep into the game and actually check out the random leagues (Swiss Soccer? I'll DVR that tonight for sure). You put a player on a team, but trading does not enter the picture, which definitely would have been a great addition.
Physics Engine: What I liked about the game play were the extensive controls for maneuvering the ball. It's hard to keep your foot on the ball if you have a player in the 75-78 range, but as you get progressively better players, you can dangle out there. For NHL fans, the moves translate well; I wish I could tell you the names of the ball-fondling, but I have zero clue. The graphics are so crisp, and the dudes actually look like their real life faces. Go check NHL, only Sidney “I cheated for the Gold” Crosby looks how he should. And Ovie.
Stadium: This wasn't a listed addition, but the stadium feels real (don't worry, no one is deep-throating a vuvuzuela). There is a lot of droning, chanting, and you can even eye-spy that chick with the cellphone between her luscious cans (if only). I do have to say the commentary from Martin Tyler and Andy Grady is really boring. These dudes would have made John Madden feel young and spry.
Be a Goalie Mode: No offense to goalies… no actually forget that, it is SO boring. You watch your team jump around and dangle and nail the hotter WAGs while you stand between the poles. I will say it's dramatically authentic, and from a view perspective angle, the detail is unbelievable.
Player Rankings: I had to consult a friend on this. He's a supporter of Liverpool and said that the player rankings are a little off. Then again, you can easily be skewed about this.
Can you booze to it?
Sure, absolutely. You can look away for moments and jump right back in the game. The best part of the whole game is the online multi-player. Odds are you'll be playing someone from another country, and they are piss drunk over the Pond. Throw on the headset and just try to decipher all the shit they're talking to you. Even worse: someone from Boston, my boy is wicked smaaht.
Should you buy it?
You really should. It's fun, and takes way less time than Madden to learn how to play. You can use simple controls and still hold your own, which is so important. Madden feels like you have to memorize a playbook just to be able to step into it (don't get me wrong, once you do, it's awesome).