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FIFA 11 Gamescom 2010 Hands-On Preview

Let's kick off with what's new in the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions. Firstly we have the previously announced "Creation Centre", a web-based program that allows the player to create new custom content for the game, including new teams, players and kits. Next in the line-up is "Pro Passing" and "Personality+", each designed to make human passing and individual player abilities more realistic. As part of this each player will have traits, which affects how they behave under AI control, whilst a number of badges like 'Clinical Finisher' and 'Complete Midfielder' add additional bonuses to attributes. Other minor enhancements include more ergonomic menus and the ability to save replays to the hard drive.


Newly announced features to FIFA 11 include playable 11 v 11 teams online and "Be a Goalkeeper", an attempt to adapt "Be a Pro" for goalkeepers. This includes being able to control the goalkeeper in just the Arena mode or for an entire match as part of a career, with all the responsibilities and consequences that come with the position. To counter mischievous goalies who perhaps fancy a run up the pitch, online matches will feature a playable captain who has the power to kick players out of the match.


Be a Pro and Manager Mode have now been combined into "Career Mode", which allows the gamer to either start as a player and then work through to player-manager and eventually manager, or just start with the latter. The managerial side of the game has been further refined and offers a more accessible way for the mainstream gamer to build and progress with a team over many seasons.


These new features and interesting ways to play the game sound all well and good, but it's on the pitch where gamers will spend most of their quality time. All of these tweaks, refinements and bug fixes are welcome additions to FIFA 11, but my general feeling from playing FIFA 11 is that while the gameplay feels solid and enjoyable, it still feels very similar to FIFA 10. A compliment in its own right perhaps, but it is becoming more difficult to justify the £40 price tag year-on-year and I am sure that many will purchase FIFA 11 just for the updated official licenses.


The PC version of FIFA meanwhile has always been underdeveloped in comparison to its older console siblings, and unfortunately - despite a complete re-write - this largely remains the case for the PC version of FIFA 11. While the engine has been upgraded to 'next-gen', this still refers to the Xbox 360 and PS3 FIFA 10 engine from last year, with a few elements of the World Cup edition from the summer included for good measure. FIFA 10 truly was excellent with a powerful engine, and this PC version of FIFA 11 does appear to capture the magic of FIFA gameplay, but it's still technically one year behind the consoles. For example the features mentioned earlier in this preview are not included in the PC version.


The PC developers of FIFA 11 have also gone through forum feedback and are trying to fix and improve issues wherever possible, so owners of a PC who cannot gain access to a console should at least have a good experience. Players on the PC will have to contend with just 5 v 5 team-play for online and LAN matches, while Pro Club Championship with Virtual Pro returns. A demo version of all three platforms will be available from 16th September 2010, with the game due for full release on October 1st in Europe.

POBmaestro | 24th August, 2010

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