Slim PS3 news: Hands on: EA SPORTS FIFA 12

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What does the latest version of EA SPORTS’ beautiful game feel like to play? The man in charge explains.

Barcelona’s footballing geniuses Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez spring to mind when David Rutter, producer of EA SPORTS FIFA 12 on PlayStation 3, tells eu.playstation.com of a “holy trinity”. In fact, he’s talking about the standout enhancements made to this year’s edition of the majestic football series. Here, we find out how these new features shape the game.

Collision coursesImagine Arjen Robben is streaking down the wing and that you lurk in wait with a stocky defender such as Carlos Puyol. The angle and speed at which you intercept are crucial to determining where the ball – and Robben – ends up, thanks to the game’s new Player Impact Engine. 

As Rutter says: “When players collide, what happens on-screen is almost exactly what would occur in real life. We have a limitless variety of collision outcomes; they’re entirely based on how you make contact with another player.”

Sharp timing could see Puyol surgically slice the ball from Robben’s toes in the blink of an eye. Wait a millisecond longer and you could send the Dutch winger spinning through the air. Crackling excitement comes from this “unpredictable physicality”, where a player’s strength doesn’t necessarily guarantee winning the ball.

Dangerous dribbling”Touch, touch, touch and a little movement”, that’s how Rutter sums up dribbling in previous games. In EA SPORTS FIFA 12, you have more direct control over the ball. Your player can shield and move with the ball more effectively, letting you weigh up the options before shuttling it on to another player.

“High fidelity control is what we’re aiming for,” says Rutter. “You can almost completely envelop the ball, containing it and relieving pressure before distributing it.”

Precision Dribbling varies the pace of a match enormously. Desperate defence flows into slick, measured build-up play thanks to improved control and your players having a clearer idea of where teammates are. In short, your flair and vision are given the stage to flourish.

Roaming roadblocks Tactical Defending radically shakes up how you’ll approach EA SPORTS FIFA 12. “We used to launch defenders at the opposition like homing missiles and we didn’t think that felt like real football,” Rutter explains. “Now we want to focus on containing the attacking player, on tracking him until he is running down a blind alley.”

What does this mean? There’s no “autopilot football”. You must think about defending as much as attacking, only pressing the tackle button when you’re sure it will work. “In this way,” Rutter reveals, “your own intelligence and footballing philosophy have more influence in the game.

“We never worry about coming up with new features. It’s fitting them all into one game that’s the challenge,” Rutter confides. Keep an eye on eu.playstation.com and PlayStation.Blog at blog.eu.playstation.com to see what else EA SPORTS FIFA 12 has in store on PS3.

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