OK, I've said it before and I'll say it again; I'm not what you would call a soccer fan, more a casual observer of the sport. I couldn't tell you what teams play in what leagues, unless I was looking at the breakdown in the game or the Internet, have no idea what championships the teams play for and outside of a handful of players, I don't know who plays for what teams.
So, with all that going against me, and the fact that outside of the old World Cup games on Genesis and FIFA 09, I went ahead and picked up both FIFA 12 for the 360 and FIFA Soccer for the PSVita the other day after being impressed with the Vita demo.
After just a very short time with both games, I now see why FIFA is so popular. The game is amazing! FIFA 12's player movement is much better than what I've dealt with in Madden and NCAA. Playing against the CPU is a real treat; when they are behind you will see them change tactics and become much more aggressive trying to get that equalizing goal. Likewise, if they are leading, they'll do whatever they can to keep you from scoring.
Teams play different styles, too, and it is noticeable. The ability of players is also noticeable. You can tell the difference when you use a star player as opposed to a lower-rated guy. They run different, handle the ball different and the shooting accuracy isn't the same, either.
The atmosphere is what NCAA should be! The crowd is alive the entire game and when a team, particularly the home team, scores, my gosh! It sounds like Stone Cold Steve Austin just came through the curtain at a WWE pay-per-view back in 1999. That just adds so much to the immersion and makes scoring a goal truly feel special.
The commentary is very good, too. I've even learned a few soccer terms.
On the PSVita, the game is a bit different from 12 as you don't have the tactical defending, but all in all, the game controls really well for a portable and the touch-screen shooting controls were an awesome touch. I don't use them much, but have a couple of times. Graphics are real sharp and the crowd and commentary sound great on the Vita, although I'd recommend using headphones to get the full experience.
I'll likely pay homage to my Italian roots and play Career Mode in the Italian Serie A. I'm looking at one of the 2 clubs based out of Sicily.
I'm using JD's sliders, but playing on Professional and Assisted controls. The game plays like a charm and the great thing is, if I get better, the sliders will still translate to the bump up in difficulty and maybe one day, I can try manual control. For now, I'm happy with where I'm at in that regard, and won't bother with the custom tactics until I get more games under my belt.
To all you casual and non-soccer fans, I encourage you to give FIFA a try. You will be rewarded with an outstanding sports-gaming experience if you do.