FIFA is coming to Playstation Vita. Don’t act so surprised. Gaming’s most celebrated football franchise (and best it must be added) is already so willingly available on every appliance and application possible, that a tailored FIFA experience on Sony’s next generation Vita was always going to be in production somewhere at EA. And why not? New hardware means new possibilities, especially given how impressive the Playstation Vita is in physical actuality. The Vita is a beautifully crafted piece of hardware and as such, playing any game, FIFA or otherwise, is a real treat. However, my time with Vita in this instance was with football’s most distinguished series, only this time I was playing FIFA in a way that was completely different and yet strangely complementally to the norm.
The first thing that strikes you about FIFA on Vita is just how bloody gorgeous it looks. This is the Playstation 3 in the palm of your hand. The quality is really something to behold, even on this early build. This doesn’t look like a diluted FIFA game. If you’re playing FIFA 12 on a console at the moment, picture the same visual fidelity and competence on a 5 inch screen hugged by your hands and that pretty much sums up FIFA Vita. It retains every last echelon of FIFA 12’s stylized aesthetic flair. It looks stunning.
As for the game it’s self, it’s FIFA from top to bottom. You’ll take a few moments to adjust to the traditional control scheme on the new handheld, but the way you play FIFA on your dual shock transfers over without fault or failing to Vita. The core FIFA experience is intact. However, this is FIFA were talking about, that touch sensitive screen and that rear track pad aren’t just disposal tagged on features. Vita allows for a number of neat little interactive elements that allow you to play and control FIFA in a new way. It’s worth noting that you don’t have to play FIFA Vita with Vita controls, you can just stick to what you know. However, the inimitable Vita controls are integrated so well that it’s worth trying to integrate them into your traditional way of playing this game of football.
The Vita allows you to do a number of new things, namely pass with the touch screen and shoot with the rear track pad. With passing, all you have to simply do is tap the touch screen in an area of the pitch to play the ball into that space. Now, you don’t have to do this all the time, in fact you shouldn’t. For shorter quick passing you should probably stick with the X button. But if you are trying to open up a bit of space and move players into new areas of the pitch, this tap mechanic is actually really useful. It’s just so simple to jump from the established controls to the Vita controls. There are no menus or jumping into the control options, everything is integrated perfectly so as to not break up the play. The same can be said of shooting. Imagine the track pad at the rear of the device as a goal frame. If you want to, for example, get a shot away into the top right hand corner of the goal, then you can hold your finger down in the top right hand corner of the track pad. Now this is a little trickier than passing but it works. I put 5 goals past Chelsea’s Peter Cech in my first game using this. One was a header at the back post from a set piece.
The Vita controls are only there if you want to use them, this is the beauty of FIFA on the portable. You don’t have to play FIFA the way Vita would like you to play, you can continue to play it the way you want to play it. In saying that, Vita could well make you a better player, especially if you are willing to spend time at it and find a way to tailor both control schemes to your style of play. Traditional FIFA style is fine. Exclusive Vita style is fine. Both together, could be something special.
FIFA Vita arrives on Playstation Vita at launch this February 22nd
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