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the-back-page-news-article.jpg POSTED BY dmcdonagh ON 30/08/2011

The Backpage | FIFA 12 ONLINE FRIENDLIES

In this week’s Backpage, football journalist and FIFA fan Darren Cross talks about FIFA 12’s Online Friendlies mode and how you can get the advantage over your mates…

Yesterday I signed Wesley Sneijder for Man. United in the new Career Mode on FIFA 12. As a United fan, I got bored of waiting for Sir Alex to make a move in the real world so thought I’d take matters into my own hands by buying the midfielder in a very early version of FIFA 12 that I’ve had for around a month now.

Signing Sneijder in Career Mode definitely felt a bit more exciting in 12 as opposed to FIFA 11; negotiating was better as there was more information available to me, and hearing the commentary team pick up on the news then talk about Sneijder while he made his debut was a nice touch and a very welcome, more realistic addition.

Overall, Career Mode is hugely improved and I’ve been really enjoying it since I got my hands on the game, which is handy as I’ve only got the CPU for company. Because the version I’m playing isn’t finished, I can’t show it to anyone else so that means no online connectivity or games against my mates. That’s something all of my friends think is annoying, especially when they come round to find me packing away FIFA 12 and loading up FIFA 11 so we can have a couple of games, but most of all they’re just annoyed that I’m getting a month’s extra practice before they get their hands on the final version on September 30.

Getting that head start will make a difference because, if you’re already used to FIFA 11, FIFA 12 is certainly challenging when you first start playing. On World Class difficulty level – the same level that I use in Career Mode in FIFA 11 – I got absolutely destroyed by the CPU in my first handful of games. The main reason for being repeatedly whooped was because my brain had been programmed for FIFA 11 so I was automatically holding the press button whenever I lost the ball. As I’m sure you all know by now, that no longer works in the same way in FIFA 12 – players will now contain rather than actively try to win the ball, which is much closer to the way real players defend – so try to get out the habit of doing it in FIFA 11 over the next couple of weeks. I promise you it will make your transition smoother. Tactical Defending and how to prepare for it is something we’ve already looked at in detail on The Backpage, but in case you missed it you can read online:

I do think that learning curve is a very good thing. FIFA 12 is a brand-new game and that’s exactly how it felt to me when I first started playing it, and I’ve played every version of FIFA since FIFA International Soccer way back in 1994.

Of course, my month or so of practising will mean my friends will completely avoid playing me until they feel we’re all back on an even keel, because they’ve heard all about one new mode in particular that’s coming with FIFA 12… Online Friendlies. This allows you to play against your online friends as you’d expect, but the difference is that it tracks your results against them in a really cool way. In addition to keeping a clear record of fixtures and scores, the mode also has you competing against your friends for points over a ten-game period – similar to the way Online Head-to-Head Seasons works – to lift a trophy at the end. If your friends are anything like mine, we constantly argue over who has won the most games or scored the most goals and, while it’s possible to check these things on EA Sports Football World, having all this information clearly displayed in-game will add real drama to the matches. Especially when they realise there are trophies up for grabs.

As with all other game modes, there’s even crossover with the commentary team as they pick up on how it’s all going for you against your mates.

Basically, it sounds absolutely brilliant and we can’t wait to get stuck into it, but the online innovations don’t stop with Online Friendlies. There are a whole bunch of new features to look forward to and most welcome of all will be the way the game now deals with quitters, who could actually face relegation from online leagues if they quit too often and don’t pick up enough points to stay in their division.

You can find all of the details about FIFA 12 online on this site, so have a good read if you haven’t already.

Most importantly though, try to phase out how often you use the press button in FIFA 11 between now and September 30 and work on how to defend by containing and jockeying – all the info on how to do that is in the Tactical Defending link above.

Just don’t tell your friends you’ve been practising, then watch with satisfaction as you pick up a ton of big wins and dance around parading your trophies in the Online Friendlies mode.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to follow me on Twitter @Darren_Cross where I’ll keep you updated with all things FIFA 11 and 12.

See you next week,
Darren