FIFA 12 Xbox 360
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FIFA 12 Product Details
Released on 30-Sep-2011
With over 15,000 players and more than 500 officially licensed clubs, FIFA 12 buries the ball in the back of the net when it comes to offering the most authentic and complete footie experience on the market today
The award-winning series storms back out on to the pitch for its ball-busting annual update with new features and additions to enjoy the beautiful game. The only officially-licensed FIFA footie game available, it's no wonder it's still beating the opposition with its epic single player mode and massive multiplayer options.
- Player Power – experience the life-like skills of world-famous soccer stars with Pro Player Intelligence! Thrill to the all-new defending system and revamped dribbling that gets you closer to the action! And every match is now unique thanks to the Player Impact Engine!
- Every Game Counts – thanks to FIFA 12's online Sports Football Club, gain status and level up with each and every game. Better still, the game can continually track what is happening in real-world leagues so players can relive the real-to-life drama in their own special recreated matches
- Get a Job! – make like a manager and experience all the twists and turns of real-life football in FIFA 12's Career mode as you make all the game-winning decisions on and off the pitch!
- Crackers about Commentary – why have two commentators when you can have four? Players can choose their preferred commentators to call out the highlights and fouls from pro-commentary teams, Martin Tyler and Alan Smith, and Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend.
EA Sports has big plans for the the way we play its games, and details of how they're going to bring social elements to their titles have started to appear.
Talking with Eurogamer, EA Sports president Andrew Wilson explained how the just-announced FIFA Street will attract new players not already into the main FIFA series, and also how those who do play both games will get added benefits.
here are people who are looking for authentic football that's fast paced with more flair and a little bit more pizzazz," he said. "They may or may not play FIFA already, but that's just the game and experience they're looking for. We'll get to those gamers./p>
More interesting for existing fans is EA Sports Football Club, a social network of sorts that will enable players to maintain the same player profile across all the games under the brand.
ou might be level seven in FIFA. You go and play FIFA Street and you progress that and end up at level eight said Wilson. y the time you get back into FIFA, there are new things available to you as a result of that ongoing progress you have in that world./p>
Forthcoming football blockbuster FIFA 12 is to feature an all-star soundtrack, with music from almost 40 artists from around the world.
EA Sports has confirmed that musicians from 15 nations have contributed tracks to the latest instalment of the bestselling series, including big names such as Kasabian, The Ting Tings and The Strokes.
Players can expect to hear an eclectic mix of global superstars and international breakthrough artists, including The Vaccines from the UK, Brazil's Bloco Bleque, Holland's The Medics and Giver from the USA.
Steve Schnur, worldwide executive of music and marketing at EA, said: "We want to create a true international showcase that embodies dozens of nations and virtually every genre of music."
It will introduce a revolutionary physics system called the Player Impact Engine and an all-new Precision Dribbling mechanic.
FIFA played the underdog to rival football series Pro Evolution Soccer for a long time, but in the last few years it has widely come to be regarded as the pace-setter in the genre. FIFA rose to the top of the league by subtly tweaking its game to closer resemble the way PES 'did' football, while layering its own mix of official licences and some excellent gameplay innovations over the top to create a match winner.
But rather than play it safe and simply add the expected level of polish to its latest annual release, developer EA has opted to challenge some of the conventions that football games have followed over the last decade, resulting in one of the most significant FIFA updates in years.
On the surface the game is quite similar to last year's effort, which is no bad thing. It looks and sounds gorgeous, with great attention to authenticity. Player likeness is better than it was in FIFA 2011, the stadiums are accurately recreated and the atmosphere inside them feels like it should on a match day. The commentary, provided by Clive Tyldesly, Andy Townsend, Martin Tyler and Alan Smith, is varied and largely reactive to what's happening on the field, even if there are still a few odd one liners delivered at inappropriate times.
The biggest changes are apparent on the pitch, where FIFA 12's new physics engine gives a realistic feel to every contact. Players' body parts react to collisions depending on the position, direction and force of the impact, making tussles more tactical and tumbles more realistic, meaning you have to mix up play and cleverly work around obstacles.
Going shoulder to shoulder with an opponent or being caught by a trailing leg will put you off your stride, alter your direction or leave you on the deck. Generally the collision detection works brilliantly, although if you've watched any FIFA 12 videos on YouTube you'll know it can result in some comedy moments as players trip over their own teammates, accidently collide off the ball, or occasionally flop around all over the place like a fish out of water following contact.
Defending is tougher than in FIFA 11, with as much focus placed on positioning and intercepting passes as tackling. You no longer simply hold down a button to have your player home in on the ball. Instead, you guide your man towards the opponent with the ball using the analogue stick and the pair of them jostle for possession automatically. Fail to gain it this way and you'll need good timing to perform successful standing or sliding tackles.
You can also hold down a button in an attempt to contain an opponent with the ball, prompting your player to keep their distance from the attacker, while holding the left trigger sees you run alongside them, mirroring their every move and enabling you to attempt to shepherd them away from dangerous positions.
The knock-on effect is that it's easier to dribble with the ball, with players displaying better control in tight spaces, making it even tougher to stop the likes of Ronaldo and Messi and ensuring there's plenty of open attacking football. It's a little easier to score one-on-ones too, so few of our games have ended with clean sheets.
How you perform is measured in plenty of ways, whether playing solo, against others in friendly or competitive games, or even in the updated Career mode, which encompasses managers, players and player managers. You earn experience points for every match played and level up to build status, which can be compared against others on the web and though social networks like Facebook. There are even weekly challenges inspired by real world events, such as playing as Chelsea and attempting to overcome a 3-1 deficit with 40 minutes to go, something the London club failed to achieve a few weeks back.
The new features build on a solid base from last year to deliver a comprehensive, up-to-the-minute experience that should feel fresh all year round. With ultra-slick presentation layered over tactically deep, rewarding gameplay, FIFA 12 is a football fan's dream of a game.
+ Another vintage year for FIFA.
+ Lovely presentation.
+ Varied gameplay modes and stat-tracking.
- Collisions can create comedy moments.
- Commentary might still be improved.
- Management mode could be deeper.
The football season may have started over a month ago, but for many fans of the beautiful game, the real season starts this month with the release of FIFA 12. In keeping with what seems to be EA Sports's prime directive with their football sim - which over the last four entries has been a steady drive towards realism - FIFA 12 has arrived with a list of features geared towards making everything look and feel as authentic as possible.
The numerous tweaks to the gameplay centre around what the developers have been calling the 'holy trinity of precision dribbling, tactical defending and the new player impact engine'. The first of these allows players a more intimate control of the ball. They can shield it defensively against oncoming opponents, and can use finesse moves to create space or thread the ball through to team-mates running into space.
The Beautiful Game?
Tactical defending allows players to harass attackers with team-mates they aren't controlling. By pressing the right shoulder button they can remotely 'contain' the player with the ball, while using one of their own team members to cover players who are running into space. They can also press the B-button to knock players off the ball, or grab their shirts as they try to cut past.
The biggest difference to the on-the-pitch action comes courtesy of the new player impact engine, which allows for more realistic in-game collisions between players. When players tackle or crash into each other, their size and the speed they were travelling at is taken into account. It also stops players from briefing melding with each other during collisions as in previous FIFA iterations.
What this all means essentially is that FIFA 12 looks and plays far more realistically than its forebears. However, thanks to the new mechanics and a much-improved AI, it also means that it's a far harder game to master than any other FIFA title. Opponents shield the ball rather than running obligingly towards the player's defenders. AI defenders clog the box, making penetrating passes and cross far harder to get on the end of. It's also far harder to score goals in FIFA 12 and early on - unless the difficulty level is dropped below 'Professional' - it may cause some initial headaches for players used to hammering their opponents in FIFA 11.
Messi or Messy?
However, those who persevere will find EA's latest football sim is easily the best in the series to date, and it's not just the improved, challenging gameplay which makes going back to earlier iterations unthinkable. The new Career Mode - which once again condenses Be A Player, Be A Manager and Be A Player Manager modes - is easily the best of the series. Along with much shorter loading times, it boasts more realistic management of both players and budgets as well as the drama of transfer deadline day.
Beyond the on-pitch action and local campaigns, the developers have stretched out to offer players a more engrossing online experience. To that end, players can now join up free of charge to the EA Sports Football Club, an RPG-based social network which allows them to support their club online. Everything players do in FIFA 12 earns them XP, which goes towards the average score of the club they support, pushing it further up the FIFA 12 online league. The EA Sports Club also offers players scenarios and challenges which will be based on match events that take place over the coming season - all for no extra cost.
Alongside this, FIFA 12 has had its ranked online matches expanded to include Head To Head Seasons and Online Friendlies. The former puts players in a league contest in which they have 10 games to progress up 10 divisions by gaining points from wins or draws against opponents. Online friendlies, meanwhile, are aimed at those players unnerved at the prospect of being beaten by strangers. It's basically a friends-only league, in which players can compete for points and cups against their mates.
FIFA 12 is the best iteration yet of EA's world-beating franchise, packing in new, more evolved on-pitch action with robust online and career modes. It's new, challenging gameplay may initially repel some players, but those that stick with it will find there's no better football experience to be had in gaming.
+ Deeper gameplay compared to previous releases.
+ The physics engine has been drastically upgraded.
+ Online competition to suit all tastes.
- The new Impact Engine can result in some comedy collisions.
- The ramped-up difficulty may be too much for some.
The Beautiful Game: 2012 Football Games Dissected
As soon as the first Premier League match gets under way, gamers know it's only a matter of weeks before they can start playing along at home. The virtual football season follows its real life counterpart so closely that excitement for them both overlaps into a frenzy of footy fanaticism. And things finally kick off this week, with a derby match that is now as familiar as anything involving teams with City and United in their name: FIFA vs Pro Evolution Soccer.
FIFA, the Man Utd of football gaming, dominates the conversation, of course. EA Sports has poured extra gallons of slick TV style presentation into the 2012 edition, and gone the extra mile in improving gameplay both on and off the pitch.
Three big changes have been made to the match gameplay, of which the Impact Engine is the most obvious. This is a physics model that governs every challenge, tackle and foul, making players move and interact far more realistically. Tactical Defending deepens this system, with the emphasis now on positioning your defensive line and pressuring the opposing team, boxing them in manually rather than sending the AI to get the job done. And Precision Dribbling offers benefits on the other side of the equation, allowing attackers to maintain close control while jogging, fending off tackles on the move.
Throw in a much richer Career Mode, with media and management issues as important as tactical decisions, and the new EA Sports Football Club, which links your account and progress across all FIFA branded games, and you've got a seriously impressive distillation of the sport.
What has Pro Evo brought to the pitch to combat this ruthlessly driven assault? Refinements and tweaks, mostly, although there's certainly something to be said for concentrating on getting the details right, rather than coming up with new features for the sake of it.
Key for Pro Evo fans will be Teammate Control, which allows you to control a second player with the right stick, moving them into position for the perfect pass or interception. It sounds confusing, and it is tricky to master, but the benefits are enormous and there are varying levels of manual control available to ease you in. Goalkeepers and referees have been tickled with the AI feather, making them more reliable and realistic in their responses.
Is that enough to topple FIFA from its throne? Probably not, but it definitely makes Pro Evo a much stronger game and should encourage a few die hard fans to try both of them.
And what of the more cerebral player? The sort of player who knows what 'cerebral' means. For them, the long dark nights ahead are simply an invitation to lose themselves in the warm, comfortable bosom of Football Manager 2012.
SEGA's award-winning, best-selling management sim somehow gets better every year, and this year is no exception. It's more flexible than ever this season, with off-pitch decisions getting some extremely interesting adjustments. Transfers and youth contracts are more detailed than ever before, and you can use loyalty bonuses to keep your best players happy. Equally, when negotiating that new contract, you'll have more control over where you compromise or when to stand firm. Team talks now offer five different tones, ranging from cool and level-headed, to raging tantrum.
It all comes together to create an experience where you really feel like a football manager. Not just someone clicking on a game, but a personality within the game, making decisions based on live data. It is, in many ways, the most realistic footy game around.
And if all that joypad and keyboard action has left you feeling a bit flabby and lethargic, why not just fire up Kinect Sports and boot a few penalties of your own? Football's coming home, and we couldn't be happier!
There'll be champagne and posh sarnies at EA Sports this week, as evergreen footy franchise FIFA kicked off the 2012 season in fine style, becoming the third fastest selling game in UK history. Its massive first week sales have nudged Rockstar's hugely successful GTA IV into fourth place, with only Modern Warfare 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops beating FIFA 12 in sheer sales force.
It all adds up to a thriving multiplayer community, especially as the vast majority of copies sold were for Xbox 360 and PS3. Between them, those consoles accounted for 98 percent of the FIFA 12 boxes passing the till. The official game website has a ticker displaying how many online games have been played. As of Monday, the number was approaching fifteen million. Not bad for one weekend.
So if you haven't got on the pitch yet, what's keeping you? Get your boots on!
FIFA 12 has scored a spectacular debut in the UK all-formats charts, notching up by far the biggest launch numbers of any FIFA game to date.
EA Sports' latest football blockbuster enjoyed first-week sales that were 18 per cent above the previous high watermark, last year's FIFA 11, thus propelling the game straight to the top of the official GfK-ChartTrack rankings.
As well as being the biggest FIFA launch ever, it was also the third-biggest debut of any title in UK history, behind only the two most recent Call of Duty games.
EA Sports' new football title FIFA 12 has shattered sales records worldwide following its eagerly awaited debut last week.
The critically acclaimed sports simulation has racked up a massive 3.2 million sales across all formats worldwide, making it the biggest launch of any sports game ever, as well as the most successful videogame debut of the year.
It beat the record-setting pace of last year's FIFA 11 by a whopping 23 per cent, while the eight million online FIFA 12 sessions on October 1st made it the busiest day for multiplayer matches in EA Sports history.
The UK proved no exception to FIFA fever, with the launch of the new title ranking as the third-biggest of any game ever released in Britain.
FIFA 12 has also proven just as big of a hit critically as it has commercially and the game now ranks as the best-reviewed sports game of the current console generation.
Andrew Wilson, executive vice-president of EA Sports, said: "FIFA 12 is a stunning achievement by our team at EA Canada."
Forza Motorsport 4 accelerates to top of UK charts
Acclaimed racing sequel Forza Motorsport 4 has cruised into pole position in the UK all-formats sales chart in its debut week.
Turn 10 Studios' new simulation managed to edge out reigning champion FIFA 12 to top the official GfK-ChartTrack rankings, achieving the best ever launch for an Xbox 360 racing game in the process.
As another weekend disappears into the rear view mirror of history, EA Sports' perennial footy game spent a fifth consecutive week at the top of the UK charts, its seventh time in the number one slot since its launch in September last year.
That success was rather dwarfed by an even more impressive achievement: FIFA 12 has now made more money than any other sports game in the UK, ever. It's slurped up more cash than any previous FIFA title, more than every tennis game, every athletics game, even more than PDC World Championship Pro Darts.
Few would begrudge the series its phenomenal success, and even though the feat is clearly helped by the fact that there are more consoles and gamers in circulation today than at any point in British gaming history, it's still an achievement worth celebrating.
Official GfK-ChartTrack figures show that the football sim is now the highest-grossing sports game in UK history, outselling all previous FIFA titles and spending a total of seven weeks on top of the charts.
The game's current five-week winning streak is also the second-best of any FIFA entry, behind only FIFA: Road to World Cup 98, which spent 11 straight weeks as the UK's top-selling title.
Second place this week went to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the UK's Christmas number one, while a trio of threequels - Just Dance 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 - rounded out the top five.
EA Sports urban kickabout FIFA Street has been given a confirmed release date of March 16th in the UK. The game, a 5-a-side spin off from the core FIFA series, uses the same shiny game engine as its blockbuster sibling but places greater emphasis on stylish play and fast paced goalmouth action.
In keeping with its rough and ready showboating style, FIFA Street will also debut the Street Network, which will allow players to follow each others performance, and post videos of their best moments for the community to share.
"Street football is all about the one-on-one battle, when you pull off a trick to roast your opponent," reckons producer Sid Misra. "The Street Network brings that real-world swagger into the game by enabling players to capture video of those moments and share them with everyone in their street network to see, and providing friends with a way to compare each other throughout the game."
There was no stopping FIFA 12 in the UK charts as the blockbuster football game topped the sales rankings for yet another week.
The EA Sports title was once again the top-selling title in Britain for the sixth straight week, making it a total of eight weeks atop the GfK-ChartTrack rankings overall.
FIFA 12 has already been crowned the highest-grossing sports videogame in UK history and just edged out Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 to take top honours this week.
Role-playing epic Final Fantasy XIII-2 has become the first new release of the year to top the UK all-formats chart.
The latest instalment in Square Enix's legendary series toppled the long-reigning FIFA 12 from the summit of the GfK-ChartTrack rankings, emulating the chart-topping debut of its direct predecessor Final Fantasy XIII.
It was one of a number of new releases to make a big splash this week, with second place going to Konami's compilation title Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, which features three of the most popular entries in the classic stealth series.
Next week should see another batch of new releases making their chart debuts, including fantasy blockbuster Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, comic book shooter The Darkness II and quirky relationship drama Catherine.
The massively popular football franchise is well known for its huge selection of officially licensed players and teams, so the new four-year deal will be welcomed by sports fans with an eye for authenticity.
From next year onwards, FIFA players will be able to see the likes of Petr Cech, Tomas Rosicky and Milan Baros lining up in their official national strips across all modes.
Matt Bilbey for EA Sports said: "For all our fans that support and love Czech football, this will only add to the authentic FIFA experience they enjoy."
FIFA 12, the most recent instalment in the series, recently became the top-selling sports game in UK history, after topping the charts for a total of eight weeks.
Bethesda's sprawling and brilliant role-playing monster, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, fus-roh-dahhed it's way to an impressive five wins last night at the Interactive Achievement Awards.
Skyrim took home the top honours as Game of the Year, as well as awards for best RPG, gameplay engineering, game direction and story.
Other winners included Modern Warfare 3, which was voted best action game, FIFA 12, named best sports game, and Star Wars: The Old Republic, honoured for its multiplayer achievements. Uncharted 3 took home gongs for its animation and art direction, while the toys-come-to-life family hit Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure was singled out for its contribution to outstanding innovation. Britain's own Stephen Merchant took home the award for outstanding character performance thanks to his superb turn as Wheatley in Portal 2.
The ceremony was held during the DICE Summit in Las Vegas. Not to be confused with the Swedish Battlefield developer, DICE (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) is an annual gathering for the great and good of the games industry, and the Interactive Achievement Awards handed out at the event are the gaming equivalent of the Oscars. Only without the long emotional speeches, dance routines and dewy-eyed montages of dead celebrities, obviously.
The finalists for the 2012 British Academy Video Game Awards have been announced, and this year everyone will be watching the detectives, as Batman: Arkham City and LA Noire top the lists with eight nominations apiece.
Categories include Action, Artistic Achievement, Design, Story, Innovation and, of course, Best Game. Batman and LA Noire rub shoulders with FIFA 12, Portal 2, Skyrim and Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword in that category. The omission of best-seller Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 may raise eyebrows, but that gets a nod in both the Action and Multiplayer categories.
Promising indie projects get a look in thanks to the Dare to be Digital One's To Watch award, and there's also a public vote, with ten blockbuster games to choose between. You can head to http://www.baftagameaward.com to pick your favourite.
The winners will be announced at a sure-to-be-lavish ceremony on March 16th.
Rocksteady Studios' superhero sequel and Rockstar's hard-boiled detective drama both scooped eight nominations each, including best game, music, design, artistic achievement and story.
Following hot on their heels were Naughty Dog's globetrotting adventure Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception and Media Molecule's sandbox platform game LittleBigPlanet 2 with six nominations, while Portal 2 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim scored five each.
Meanwhile, a shortlist of ten titles was also revealed for the publicly-voted GAME Award of 2011, the winner of which can be chosen by visitors to the GAME Award website.
Arkham City, Battlefield 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, FIFA 2012, LA Noire, Minecraft, Portal 2, Skyrim, Uncharted 3 and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword are all in contention to claim the prize.
Those who take part in the vote will also be in with a chance of winning a limited edition Star Wars Xbox 360 console, complete with a Kinect sensor and copy of Kinect Star Wars.
THQ's new mixed martial arts game UFC Undisputed 3 has performed an aggressive takedown on its competitors in the UK all-formats chart this week.
The acclaimed Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 title debuted in first place in the official GfK-ChartTrack rankings, edging ahead of perennial favourite FIFA 12, which was back up to second.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 once again showed off its impressive staying power to climb back up to third place, while Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games achieved its highest ever chart position with a fourth-place finish.
Aside from UFC Undisputed 3, no other new games entered the top 40 this week, though there was a newcomer to the top ten: Activision's sleeper hit Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure, which continued its steady ascent up the chart to seventh.
Next week, the charts will be well and truly shaken up by the debut of PlayStation Vita, Sony's newest handheld console, as well as a number of blockbuster games.
PS Vita launch titles such as Uncharted: Golden Abyss and WipEout 2048 are sure to make a splash, as are multiplatform games like the sci-fi shooter Syndicate.
EA's snowboarding revival game SSX has positioned itself at the summit of the UK all-formats sales chart in its debut week.
The acclaimed Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 title has become the first SSX title ever to debut at number one in the official GfK-ChartTrack rankings, more than doubling the first-week sales of the previous top performer SSX 3 back in 2003.
A five-year wait for the new SSX helped the winter sports extravaganza to pip its EA stablemate FIFA 12 to top spot, though the ever-popular football game also had an impressive week, climbing two places back up to second.
More than one million players have signed up to take part in the FIFA Interactive World Cup, breaking a new record for the popular EA Sports event.
This year's prestigious tournament has already attracted around 130,000 more players than last year to push it past the million mark for the first time ever, cementing its position as Guinness World Records' largest online gaming tournament in the world.
Available to PlayStation 3 owners with copies of FIFA 12, the event allows fans to compete with other FIFA pros from around the world for a prize of $20,000 (?2,600), as well as an invitation to the FIFA Ballon d'Or event.
A recent survey conducted by EA Sports revealed that 46 per cent of players believed that participating in the FIFA Interactive World Cup improved their understanding of football tactics.
The popularity of the tournament also underlines the continued appeal of FIFA 12, which became the fastest-selling sports title ever on its launch last October.
Featuring a new physics system, refined controls and more modes than ever, the game won huge critical acclaim and remains one of the UK's top-selling titles.
So, you've just got yourself an Xbox 360 - congratulations! You've now entered a world of fantastic HD graphics, powerful gameplay and everything Xbox LIVE has to offer, from online gaming and chat to streaming movies, music and more. There's only one question left - what games should I get?
Worry not - help is at hand! Thanks to our wonderful customers who entered our recent Facebook competition, we can now recommend the top Xbox 360 games you need to get going, and our competition winners will tell you why!
Presenting, the Xbox 360 Essentials List - as chosen by YOU!
The consensus was clear. If you want action and adventure on Xbox 360, there's only one man who delivers - Batman. Arkham Asylum broke the mould of what you could expect from a comic-book adaptation. Winner Oliver Brown says "Every time I played it, there were more and more secrets to find, even after finishing the game... The story was very well driven as well, creating an emotional bond with the man behind the mask and cape... and I feel it is essential, for some long term single-player action that you don't see much any more". This was followed by formidable sequel Arkham City, which you said was "pure badass Batman" and "one of the best super hero games of this generation but also one of the finest action/adventure titles available on Xbox 360"
You must really like Battlefield 3. You voted for it at the Baftas, and it was the overwhelming winner here too! You all loved the sound, visuals and destruction, but winner Harlen Hatter tells it best: "The Xbox 360 manages to bring an incredible Battlefield experience directly into your front room. The game is a massive scale shooter featuring 4 diverse classes, vehicular warfare, dog-fighting and endless destruction. Oh, and this is usually happening all at once... If you want to call in an airstrike, you have to tell your buddy up in the aircraft to fly down and give you fire support. Every player has a role which makes you feel like a valuable asset to the team... It pushes the Xbox 360 to its limits."
Your top choice for sports action on Xbox 360 also won by a landslide. FIFA 12 is, according to winner William Chan, "...far superior to any other football games out there. Each goal you score in this game feels like a life accomplishment - even more, if you play LAN with friends. The whole experience is just unbeatable. The game is packed with different game modes which can be frustrating, but fun and rewarding once you get into the stride. This games is one of those laid-back games you can play at a mates house, a local pub or anywhere the pitch takes you." The varying game modes, realism and the ability to defeat your mates were firm reasons from many entrants, praising it as "the closest you will get to the beautiful game" and "an almost complete football experience".
You praised its epic scale, it's characters, and the emotional bond you make with Commander Shepard across the series - the Mass Effect saga is the essential Xbox 360 sci-fi experience! In the words of winner Curtis Taylor "This game will last you a long time, it's so immersive and you can play it how you like, you can play it like an RPG or if you're more of a 'run and gun' kind of player then you can just play like that and ignore the RPG aspects, this is what made this game stand out for me. I normally get bored of a game after finishing the campaign once but with Mass Effect, I played it through at least 3 times as I thoroughly enjoyed it. Mass Effect is a must-have for any gamer."
In what was the closest fought category, some top music and sports games narrowly missed out to the fun that is Dance Central. Making full use of the Kinect's motion controls to get you to match the dance routines on screen, it is, according to winner Dario Orlando, "All the fun of a night on the tiles, without drunk people stepping on your feet! Plus, with different difficulties, even those with two left feet can own the dancefloor!". You all loved the game's versatility ("guys' night in or girls' wine party"), but most importantly, the fun factor "there's nothing like making an absolute fool of yourself, especially if you couldn't even dance to begin with". So shake a leg and get dancing!
In another landslide victory, Forza 4 was your choice for pole position. You championed the graphics, realism and choice of cars, while the competitive gameplay and Kinect controls were also reasons you recommended it. It was clear from your entries that this game is a car lover's dream, as summed-up by winner Oliver Dyson: "The 'Autovista' system allows true car enthusiasts to get within 4-inches of closeness to over twenty different dream vehicles... Jeremy Clarkson will not only take you through the ins and outs of each vehicle but also let you compete for times on the infamous Top Gear circuit... Forza 4 is simply essential to anyone with a love of adrenaline, and a passion for the cars you can obtain in it."
Many thanks to all of you who entered - there were some really good choices and reasons why. And if you are in the market for an Xbox 360, I hope the advice of your peers will help!
As usual, if you have any comments on these games - or alternative essentials - feel free to share them below!
The GAME Euro 2012 Replay has kicked off with a very surprising group round. With the draw mixing around the quality teams and the quality players, it was never going to be easy predict. But we certainly never saw some results coming!
Exciting, intense and occassionally hilarious, here's how the groups fared, compared to the real thing...
Czech Republic - Aaron / Greece - Sam / Poland - George / Russia - James
Russia 6 - Czech R. 0
Poland 0 - Russia 3
Russia 7 - Greece 0
Poland 0 - Czech R. 0
Czech R. 3 - Greece 0
Poland 2 - Greece 0
Russia and Poland qualify
Russia were undoubtedly the stars of this group, and of the group stage in general - James decided to play - and win - all his games and proceeded to go on about his 16 goals for the rest of the week. Greece were quite the opposite end of the spectrum, but Sam never lost faith. And in what turned out to be a very tense competition, Poland narrowly got through ahead of the Czech Republic thanks to goal difference.
And the real thing?
Well, the qualifiying teams were the exact opposite of the real tournament, with only Russia's real-world 4-1 defeat of the Czech Republic coming anywhere close to the James' dominating scores.
Germany - Nick / Denmark - Ollie / Portugal - Marc / Netherlands - Jamie
Germany 1 Portugal 1
Denmark 1 Germany 1
Portugal 1 Denmark 0
Netherlands 2 Portugal 1
Denmark 0 Netherlands 1
Netherlands 1 Germany 1
Netherlands and Denmark qualify
This was our 'group of death' and the one where it really could've gone either way, with four experienced and talented FIFA players, and with the strengths of the teams really balancing things out. A lot of draws and barely-there victories made it difficult to single any team out for victory as the matches went on, and it really came down to the last match between Germany and Netherlands to settle it.
And the real thing?
Another opposite-teams-qualify scenario, although the scores did more closely mirror those of the real-life games with Netherlands-Denmark matching things perfectly.
Rep. of Ireland - Iain / Croatia - Louis / Italy - Ali / Spain - Mandip
Italy 0 Croatia 7
Croatia 1 Spain 1
Italy 0 Spain 7
Croatia 3 Rep. of Ireland 1
Italy 0 Rep. of Ireland 9
Spain 0 Rep. of Ireland 2
Croatia and Republic of Ireland qualify
Yet again, the topsy-turvy world of GAME's Euro Replay saw the opposite two teams qualify, with real-life finalists Spain and Italy eliminated at this first hurdle. Spain did valiantly, mind, but Ital. Oh, Italy. Conceding 23 goals in three games. Check out the video for Ali's reaction to this, and for iain proving to be amongst the most... vocal players in the whole tournament!
And the real thing?
Well, Italy certainly conceded less goals in the real tournament, and no other results came close to the scores our players were bashing through.
France - Joe / England - Andy H / Sweden - Andy G / Ukraine - Neil
Sweden 0 Ukraine 0
Sweden 0 France 0
England 0 Sweden 0
France 2 Ukraine 0
Ukraine 0 England 0
France 1 England 1
France and England qualify
The only group to see the same teams qualify as the real thing - including England! A real mix of player skills and team strength, FIFA-rookie Neil didn't stand much of a chance as Ukraine unfortunately. And while France dominated the group to some extent, England qualified on three draws, which doesn't bode overly well for the next round.
And the real thing?
France-England shared the same 1-1 score, and France shared their real-life victory over Ukraine, but otherwise the draw-heavy group had little in common.
Next up - the quarter finals!
Russia vs Denmark
Netherlands vs Poland
Croatia vs England
France vs Republic of Ireland
Check back and see how they got on!
Olympic fever has gripped the planet, and we're only just over halfway through a year that has already been defined by amazing sporting action. From regular favourites like Wimbledon and the UEFA European Championship, to the glitz of the Olympics and surprise wins in the Tour De France, sport has never hogged so many UK headlines. As always, where there's an audience, there are video games looking to capitalise on the popularity - and a famous face certainly helps to catch our attention (although Mario and Sonic don't really count...). Here's our look back over the history of sporting heroes in games.
You can almost go back to the dawn of gaming and find examples of famous athletes promoting games. Daley Thompson's Decathlon was one of the enduring classics of the 8-bit home computer era, a keyboard-bashing run through ten track and field events overseen by the ghostly white pixellated face of digital Daley.
It was inevitable that a footy-loving nation such as ours would attract a flood of cheesy football endorsements as well, with everyone from squeaky scouser Emlyn Hughes to telly pundits Saint and Greavsie, to top flight players like Gazza and Beckham, putting their name to digitised kickabouts. We even had the bizarre sight of a Peter Shilton goalkeeping game, cheekily renamed Handball Maradona after the infamous "hand of god" incident at the 1986 World Cup. And while there's no name on the box, there's no ignoring the key players endorsing both FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer even today.
Ever-obsessed with sports and strategy, it didn't take long for American software companies to follow suit. John Madden had already retired as both player and coach when his name first adorned the Madden NFL American Football simulation in 1988, but it kicked off a series which endures to this day and is widely considered to be the benchmark of gridiron gaming. Madden was part of the EA Sports stable, a label that knows the value of the right endorsement. In 1999 the company's popular PGA golf series became Tiger Woods PGA Tour, and the fairway superman has been the face of golf games ever since. Indeed, the close tie between game and name may soon become a problem, as the digital Tiger performs better than his struggling real-life counterpart. Will the series revert to plain old PGA Tour when Tiger's star fades, or will EA find a new golfing hero to carry the torch?
That's the gamble when signing a player at the peak of their game. Sometimes, a games company will sign an up and coming athlete in the hopes of backing a long term winner. That worked for Nintendo, when it paid a young Mike Tyson $50,000 to use his likeness in the NES Punch Out boxing game. Within months, Tyson was on his way to being the world heavyweight champ, and the retitled Mike Tyson's Punch Out benefited from his success in the USA.
In the UK, meanwhile, Punch Out was ported to home computers with our very own Frank Bruno as the main character. Punch Out returned to Wii minus its star, while Tyson makes a surprise return to games this year in WWE '13, re-living the brief sting he spent using his name to boost the wrestling company's ratings.
Often, a sport will bubble up to the top of the popular consciousness thanks to the eye-catching feats of a particular sports-person. In the late 1990s, it was Codemasters that perked up long-running, but fairly obscure rugby and cricket sims, by shrewdly putting hot new stars like Jonah Lomu and Brian Lara above the title. Likewise, it was only when legendary racer Colin McRae put his name to the publisher's rally games that they became the owners of a blockbuster franchise, and while the DiRT series has continued to thrive without him, it was his name that got the customers through the proverbial door to begin with. Such moves weren't restricted to cult UK sports either. In 1999, Japanese firm Namco quickly rebranded the latest entry in its fledgling tennis series as Anna Kournikova Smash Court Tennis in order to attract European gamers.
It's perhaps notable that the area where celebrity endorsement paid off most spectacularly was in the rise of extreme sports, where off-beat personalities are more openly celebrated and the players are more likely to be gamers. Tony Hawk pioneered this with his skateboarding games, lending not just his credibility but also his insight and expertise to ensure maximum authenticity. Snowboarder Shaun White and BMX rider Dave Mirra quickly followed Hawk's example. Hawk's back this year, too, in an HD re-jigging of some of his classic titles for Xbox LIVE; he's gone from extreme rebel to a traditional figure, but we still love him!
Whenever sport becomes national obsession, you can bet an enterprising games developer will seize the opportunity. Gold medal-winning swimming star Michael Phelps has got a head start on his Olympic peers this year, with his Push The Limit game for Kinect already on shelves. Will we see Bradley Wiggins grace the cover of next year's Tour De France game? Will Jess Ennis and Mo Farah be running alongside us in the next Kinect Sports? Whoever is next on the podium, it's a good bet that gamers will be the winners.
There's no denying it, we've been spoiled rotten by the flood of quality games this year. There isn't enough time in the day to get through them all! Fortunately, the Christmas holidays are here to give us a little more time to catch up on the best of 2011.
We've hand-picked a selection of games from this year's release schedule that are all worthy of your Christmas Gaming time...
Batman Arkham City
A comic hero game that turned out to be very good? We were left speechless when Arkham Asylum was released in 2009. Even more incredibly, Rocksteady Studios' sequel managed to be even better than the first!
Batman Arkham City sets you in a massive open world, players assume the role of a Batman imprisoned in the sprawling super-prison of Arkham City. Every nemesis you could hope for makes an appearance in the game - as well as an epic storyline offering dozens of hours of gameplay, there's a huge quantity of sidequests and missions to explore once you've put the baddies to bed.
This third outing for Nathan Drake is his grandest adventure yet. Set amongst deserts, lost cities and ruins, Uncharted 3 is a technically astonishing PlayStation 3 game that features all of the exploration, fighting and explosive set-pieces we've come to expect from the series.
Better multiplayer, more customisation options and some of the most impressive motion-capture animations to hit gaming make Uncharted 3 an unmissable, cinematic rollercoaster. Don't miss out on one of gaming's finest adventures.
The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim
If you can't get your money's worth out of a game like The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, you're very hard to please indeed! Bethesda's follow-up to the best-selling game Oblivion left players and critics alike reeling. A gorgeously rendered, enormous world stuffed with terrifying dungeons, endless quest-lines and open-world dragon fights, Skyrim packs more content into a side-quest than most games manage full stop.
Are you an archer, berserker, magician or rogue? Whatever your play-style, there's a highly customisable role for you in this most epic of RPGs. Hundreds of hours of gameplay are here for players to gorge themselves on, all spread across a game that is likely to become one of the most fondly remembered of this generation. The greatest RPG of all time? It might just be.
Gears of War 3
Tying up all the loose ends of the previous games, this climax to the best-selling Gears of Wars franchise sees Marcus Fenix and co set out to finish the Locust Horde once and for all in Gears of War 3. Some of the most awesome baddies the series has ever seen make their appearance in this conclusion, and there'll be no shortage of sweaty palms once the fighting's over.
Multiplayer provides endless re-playability for the game, as you team up with friends to take on wave after wave of Locust forces. If you'd rather rip your friend's face off than lend a helping hand, you can now fight as the enemy, raining horrible destruction on your whole family once the Christmas pudding's gone down.
Once mocked by gamers for churning out what often amounted to little more than annual updates, EA has been on a charm-offensive these last five years or so, bringing significant innovation and improvements to their flagship footie title every single time.
FIFA 12 sees the introduction of a far more dynamic system for defending where you can link up with an AI defender to put pressure on attackers. Head to Head seasons allow you to take part in a highly competitive ladder tournament, while simply playing the game also adds points to your chosen club. It's as addictive as ever, and about as fully-featured a sports game as we could hope for.
The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword
The perfect game to settle into while the family are having a good old row downstairs,The Ledgend of Zelda Skyward Sword will charm the pants off you with it's perfect telling of the classic Zelda tale, mixed with the best combat and world design the series has ever seen.
Set prior to the events of the N64 (and now 3DS) classic Ocarina of Time, Skyward Sword starts off in a beautiful cloud city by the name of Skyloft. Of course, it's not long until Link's childhood friend Zelda is whisked off into the lands below, beginning a fantastic journey of world exploration, soaring flight, and devilishly tricky dungeons. Skyward Sword is a must-play for any Zelda fans, past or present.
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