Review – FIFA Football Vita
EA gets both the job done and the name finally right
After ten minutes’ play on FIFA Football the intro to this review writes itself. ‘It’s FIFA! On Vita!’ ‘It’s just the same as its bigger brother!’ ‘Generic football comment and/or pun!’ ‘The best handheld football game ever!’ and so on and so forth.
Extended play reveals that, thankfully, FIFA Vita isn’t quite the same as the recently released on PS3, and is a much better game for it. This is the FIFA engine shorn of all that defensive crap that was found in the home console game, it’s FIFA where passing is crisper and not as bogged down in middle of the pitch. On the field, in fact, it’s much more accessible and fun to play than FIFA 12.
Why? It’s faster, more immediate and less slavishly committed to over-animating everything. Maybe this is down to the constraints of the handheld, but it works out perfectly: this is the most direct FIFA in years, generally free from those moments where your players look like they’re dancing on an earthquake. There are instances where this sort of thing does occur – as well as the dreaded scripting – but on the whole this is as slick a representation of FIFA as you could want.
Off the field players can look forward to building their virtual pro (although the full Be A Pro mode seems to be absent) and guiding their teams through manager mode. As ever the campaign suffers from poor loading times, out of date transfers and other associated, authenticity-related problems – Man City selling Ballotelli, Man Utd pictured wearing a kit that’s three years old and so on. But this is still an addictive time-waster for those long bus journeys/train journeys/listening-to-the-wife-moan-while-she-drives-the-car journeys.
The Vita-specific additions are hit and miss. While the rear touchpad does a fine job of replicating a ‘goal’ (touch where you want to shoot) we turned it off in minutes. Because the back of the Vita is where your fingers go.
The touch screen itself fares a little better: passes can be made into space or directly to a man by tapping the appropriate section of the screen, and it all generally works as it should. The problem is that to make these movements requires some real finger gymnastics, and the touch screen interface makes pulling off the shot fake difficult as you’ll invariably touch it when attempting to press Square and X together.
Niggles aside, this is one of Vita’s best games, a great game of football and a horrendous time-waster. Good enough for us.
Review by Steve Burns