We thought FIFA 11 was one of the best sporting titles ever to sweep across our screens and pretty close to perfect on the pitch.
Most of the qualms we'd had in the past had been successfully eradicated. Goalkeepers were finally given a brain and became either a force to be reckoned with or someone we could really trust between the sticks.
New, nuanced and plentiful animations in game gave the action on the pitch a fluid and varied feel that mirrored the real deal better than any other before it. All in all FIFA 11 brought joy, tears and tension.
But was it perfect? Not quite. Here's what we want to see in FIFA 12
We know that football should be about what goes on on the pitch and if you ask us EA Sports nailed the turf action with FIFA 11. The way players had a far wider array of animations and subtle characteristics compared to FIFA 10 made the whole experience feel more dynamic, organic and helped recreate those moments when a player pulls something off you were sure was beyond him.
That's the football itself taken care of, but a massive part of the match-day experience is the atmosphere that's drummed up by the crowd. As far as FIFA is concerned, the 12th man hasn't really made any advances in the past ten years.
Don't get us wrong, the supporting masses sound pretty good these days, there are a load of club specific chants included in the package and FIFA 11 actually allowed players to create their own football chants. Crazy!
The problem is the stands still look as though they're occupied by a load of lo-res cardboard cut-outs. In FIFA 11 you could tell EA Sports knew full well the terrace visuals weren't up to scratch: in previous years, during a substitution the camera would pan across the messy blur (why, we don't know) but this year the decision was rightly made to change that focus to some of the much nicer character models.
Let's get those crowds up to date, they don't have to be perfect, but a bit of polish would add that little bit more to the look of the game, even if we barely notice it.
ON THE SIDELINES
When EA Sports puts out a World Cup edition of FIFA, for some reason, a whole lot more attention is paid to what goes on on the sidelines. Namely we get some pretty nice looking world class managers pacing up and down the pitch shouting orders or talking tactics in a substitution cut-scene when bringing on some fresh legs.
We've often wondered why managers never made it into the full annual editions of FIFA. With its incredible player likenesses some of the best moments of FIFA 11 when you saw the likes of Drogba, Terry and Gerrard up close for the first time and for a split second thought they were real (only a split second, mind - we're not mugs).
There's just something of a thrill about seeing footballing legends perfected in pixel form and the same could be said for managers.
In fact, what would be even better is if we could get some footballing mascots on the scene as well. Thanks to those crowd chants we were talking about earlier, we can hear Lofty the Lion working the BWFC crowd, it would be cool if we could see him as well, cheering the team on or taunting the opposition. It's the little things.
MASTERING MANAGER MODE
We feel pretty comfortable saying that FIFA has gotten the better of its rival PES in recent years and although Konami made big leaps with its latest footy sim, it still didn't quite match EA Sports' giant effort.