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FIFA 12: Tactical Defending


There’s a new defensive gameplay mechanic in town for FIFA 12 and it’s called “Tactical Defending”. This new addition is a collaboration of a 2-3 new defensive gameplay features which aim to turn the way we defend in FIFA 11, on it’s head for FIFA 12. EA were aware of  the overly punishing auto-tackle and what they call “homing missile pressure” and this is their answer to these massive community hates. Here’s a run down of the features that make up Tactical Defending in FIFA 12.

[DISCLAIMER] The videos that we saw were from both the Test Bed environment and live FIFA 12 gameplay. Whilst what we saw was incredibly impressive, these videos are chosen with the express intent of demonstrating the new FIFA 12 features as simply as possible. FIFASoccerBlog will not be providing a definitive opinion on these new features until we get our hands on the game, we’re simply going to relay what we saw and what we were told.

Contain – The existing pressing system in FIFA 11 has been removed and has been replaced with a new mechanic called “Contain”. Instead of aggressively pressing, players will now “Contain” their opponents by jockeying simply shadowing their opponenets movements. They will not close down or tackle unless instructed to do so.

Contain Proximity –  The distance at which you Contain can be adjusted with the left stick, allowing you to close down your opponent or drop off deeper.  The video that we saw showed players being able to close down to within about a yard of their opponent and being able to drop off to a maximum of about 10 yards.

The Purpose of Contain –  The Contain mechanic aims to make your time without the ball in FIFA 12 more engaging, providing tactical conundrums about when to close down, when to drop off and most importantly when to commit to the tackle. Defending in previous FIFA titles has been very much about holding pressure and letting the AI do the rest, not any more.

High Pressure – Has been a problem with the last few FIFA titles and the easiest way to explain how Tactical defending has tried to remedy this is quite simply that the pressure system has been removed all together aiming to give us all more time on the ball. If you steam in to a challenge against Messi now you can expect to be suitably embarrassed.

Secondary Press? – You still have the ability to call over a secondary defender if you wish but they will also only Contain and not pressure. A new AI behaviour has been implemented to link multiple players that are performing the Contain function. Secondary defenders will now shut down a different angle to the area that you are already covering. This allows multiple angles and passing lanes to be cut off creating pressure without a tackle ever being performed.

Auto-Tackle is No More – In FIFA 12 the auto-tackle function has now been removed. To initiate a tackle now requires a button press which must be timed correctly to be successful. If you’ll excuse me for a second…… YESSSSSS!

Timing is Key – Tackles can now be missed if the timing of the button press is too late or too early. This simply doesn’t happen in FIFA 11. We were shown a video example of Theo Walcott cutting in side and weaving between two defenders who had both miss-timed tackles. Theo was able to manoeuvre between them at incredibly close proximity with ease using the new Precision Dribble feature.

Tactical Defending – EA want Tactical Defending to “bring the skill of real world defending in to FIFA” and to make 1v1 situations “feel like individual battles”. In previous FIFA games the defending has been largely automatic with only minimal user input required. Tactical Defending takes the old system and hands control to the user aiming to create a realistic defensive experience.

Tactical Defending is the biggest shake up of the “art of defending” since we can remember, what do you think of EA’s new gameplay feature?


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