The golden boot
When it comes to presenting football, there are few that can keep up with the pace and style of EA SPORTS FIFA 11. Whether it's offering you a tantalising number of options to choose from or taking to the pitch and playing the world's most popular sport, the game aims for nothing less than an authentic experience that envelops you in the big match atmosphere.
With impressive television studio style presentation, FIFA 11 eases you into its classy approach to football with clear menus for all its modes. You can watch tutorials on mastering your skills and then put them into practice in the Arena which acts as a loading screen between matches, making sure you're warmed up and prepared for your debut match.
Once you've stepped out from the training ground, you'll find a gloriously realistic game awaiting you. Players are lifelike in their movement and animation, both on and off the ball. From appealing for decisions to expressing disappointment at a wayward pass, the personality of various football stars is captured perfectly.
It all sounds great too, with players shouting instructions to each other, the continuous buzz of the crowd and lively commentary adding excitement to the action. Should you want to ramp up the realism, there's the chance to import your own crowd chants and music to replicate your favourite team's home ground atmosphere. It all comes together to make FIFA 11 an experience which is a joy to watch as well as play.
In a league of its own
It doesn't take long to get into the slick brand of football which EA SPORTS FIFA 11 delivers. From the very start, it checks if you have any trophies from the previous game, setting your skill level to match how much of FIFA 10 you've completed. The optional tutorials that follow ensure that when you step onto the pitch you're already familiar with how to make the most of your squad, tactics and the large number of tricks at your team's disposal.
There are a variety of national squads and over 25 leagues across 24 different countries to choose your team from, each with their respective tournaments and players - and this information can be kept up to date online via PlayStation Network, so you're always keeping up with your ever evolving team.
Tackling the smooth gameplay of FIFA 11 is fun and entertaining, with responsive controls and intelligent computer-controlled players to make the most of your team's movement around the pitch. The new additions such as Personality+ mean games are more unpredictable than ever as footballers replicate their real life counterparts' traits, so it's now even more important to know your squad's strengths and weaknesses. You can't just rely on your best players to pull you through - it's a team effort where every man counts.
If you prefer to follow the action from the dugout, there's the option to be a manager in the Career Mode, putting team selection, finances and transfers in your hands. Alternatively you can have the best of both worlds as a player manager, also taking the chance to choose a single footballer (either created by yourself or selected from your chosen team) to control for the whole season. Do you have the quality to keep your player on the team sheet with good performances on the pitch?
Play your part
With a group of friends, EA SPORTS FIFA 11 becomes a fantastic feast of football fun. There is a massive and entertaining batch of game modes to choose from, with the chance to play exhibitions with up to seven players offline, go head-to-head online and create your own tournaments. You can also prepare yourself for the FIFA Interactive World Cup to represent your country and compete against the best players in the world. Why not customise your own celebrations and use the instant replays to rub your spectacular goals into the faces of your rivals?
If you want to indulge in the spirit of team play whenever you desire, you can take your skills online and join up to 21 other players. Choose your favoured position on the field then play your part during the matches with friends and other players online. So if you're in defence it means man marking, communicating with other members of your team and not straying too far from your position instead of trying to get goals. It's a refreshingly different way to play.
For the first time in FIFA history you can also choose to be the goalkeeper during team play and Career Mode as well, putting you in the pressure cooker of being between the sticks. With such an important role in your gloved hands it adds a unique perspective to the game, forcing you into making pivotal decisions such as calling for the ball and marshalling your defence. Tutorials and computer-controlled assistance help you pick up this new role and there's nothing like the adrenaline rush of pulling off stunning reaction saves to deny the opposition.
Regardless of where you play, FIFA 11 is all about bringing you closer to a big football match experience than ever before - and it scores a winner every time.