If you like soccer, own an iPad, and have a spare $10 laying around, you sound like someone we might like to be friends with. You also sound like someone who might enjoy FIFA Soccer 11 HD (EA Sports, $9.99).
EA Sports has mastered the art of videogame soccer on the consoles over the last few years. This year's version of FIFA on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 was one of the best versions yet. But can EA make the same magic happen on the iPad? Let's break it down.
THE GOOD: The game features a truly monstrous roster of over 500 teams which gamers can guide through League, Cup, and Friendly contests. Once you've selected your team, you can obsess over your starting lineup and setups until you're ready to enter the match. Pro Tip: customizing your formation can give you the edge you need when playing against stronger teams.
Like the console version, the players in FIFA 11 don't respond immediately to your commands, but tend to respond as soon as they get a chance to. Veterans of the FIFA games will be comfortable with this thinking/planning ahead mechanic. But newbies will be frustrated at first because the players seem to have a mind of their own. My advice: stick with it. Once you get a feel for the pace of the game, you'll be setting up complicated pass plays and moving the ball downfield with lots of grace, elegance, and speed.
THE BAD: Visuals are decent, but still a bit blocky when compared to the pristine look of the game's gorgeous console cousins. Also, the play-by-play commentary is a nice touch, but as with all commentary, you'll wonder sometimes what game these guys are watching.
THE UGLY: Some subpar presentation means that winning tournaments isn't the emotional catharsis that it should be. (Translation: there's no such thing as too much celebrating, EA.) And the music during menu screens can be annoying on occasion.
VERDICT: This is a superb FIFA experience that could have benefitted from a few more tweaks. Recommended.
The Sports Gamer's real name is Scott Jones. He played football for 12 years before hanging up his cleats and jumping into video game writing. In his time covering the gaming world, Scott has interviewed star athletes such as Venus Williams, Tony Hawk and David Wright.