I found myself with a few conflicting thoughts about this title. It was the one I got with my Vita, as whilst I wait for my funds to recharge after the hefty investment, I knew that being a big football fan it would keep me occupied, through the career mode if nothing else. But if you have played the most recent version of FIFA on the consoles then you may end up feeling a little short changed. It is definately a “FIFA LITE”. But a must have for football fans nonetheless. Well, for now.
For a game that has a RRP at the same price as its bigger brothers, you could be forgiven for expecting the same features, but straight from the off you quickly see that this is more built from FIFA 11 rather than 12, as the impact engine is not here, and perhaps more frustratingly, neither is the Ultimate Team mode. Only you can say whether this is a big deal to you or not, but for me it certainly was. On the go checking of the auction system and playing others with your killer dream team could have been awesome, but it was not to be. Whether this feature will be present in FIFA 13 remains to be seen, we will keep you updated.
What the game does feature though is almost everything else that you would expect, from the career mode options and the virtual pro aspect from the career mode (sadly no gameface support) with accomplishments to unlock to enhance your pro and the be a goalkeeper gameplay is also present. As you would expect for EA, authenticity is the name of the game, and literally 500+ clubs are present and officially licenced, with up to date squads (a few post January tranfers notwithstanding) although officially named stadia seem to not be here, just the generic ones, but that is not really overly important.
Visually the game is a treat, running on the crystal sharp qHD Vita screen, despite the smaller size it holds up well and you could be forgiven for thinking you were playing on the console. especially with the ebbing flow of discussion from Martin Tyler and Alan Smith, which is accurately ported over too. Well, until you try to play with the touch controls, which reminds you it is on the Vita.
From the touch screen you can pick a pass, make a play, take a free kick or penalty and, inevitably, take a shot when in the last third of the pitch. The shooting aspect works quite well, when you aren’t accidently touching it due to natural finger placement on the back of the Vita (or is that just me?) and passing works OK but taking your fingers from the controls to do this can be a pain. Perhaps it’s me and my small hands though. If this is an issue for you, you can turn it off, thankfully.
There are online features present, and you can play friend league matches or head to head and this is pretty much it. No Pro Clubs, or anything like that, which again is a big loss. You would think that the architecture could certainly handle far more than the maximum 2 players that we are restricted to. This kind of feature makes the game on this platform far more credible and takes us into worth having a Vita for.
For the first Vita FIFA, it is a good effort and I suppose a lot of your judgement comes from how experienced you are with the console editions and what your expectations are of this. If the lack of Ultimate Team and Pro Clubs isn’t a big deal to you, then feel free to add a point to the score. For me it should have had more, which has cost it the extra marks. But if you can wait, there is always 13, out later this year.