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FIFA 12: The revolution you've been waiting for?

Hands on: We kick-off the next football sim season...

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While containing the opposition in this way is new, standing your ground in a similar way was possible before. The left trigger is still used here to manually contain players but containing and pressing have been merged into one system.

What's significant about it though is that performing a standing tackle now takes more skill and timing. Previously players could just hold the tackle button, regardless of how far away their player was, and let the computer do the rest.

With tackling made more difficult and dribbling more nuanced, the advantage lies with the attacker. As we were playing, the stark decline in tackles within each game was obvious compared to last year. It makes for more end-to-end action and is probably more representative of the real deal.

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GRASS STAINS
The third and final back-of-the-box feature is by far the most significant aesthetically speaking. Now rather than a few canned animations triggered by player collisions, contact of any kind is governed by real physics.

Much like the Euphoria engine that sits at the core of something like Backbreaker, players will collide and react depending on the point of impact, its direction and its pace.

The realistic animations are nice to look at - we anticipate many a Youtube video of players face planting into the turf following horrific tackles - but the system also preserves the pace of play thanks to the smaller details

While in the past a clip on the back of the boot resulted in an over the top animation that would pretty much stop an attack dead, now it's authentically brushed off.

This comes into play as well when combined with the Precision Dribbling; as you move with some of the nippier players between defenders, players will twist and bounce off shoulders to get through. Wingers will glance off challengers if you manage to alter your trajectory by a fraction at the right time.

It's definitely a feature worth having and will add a much more tactical element to your team selection - you'll need to pit big defenders against the likes of Heskey if you don't want your back line ploughed into the dirt - but it does make a lot of players feel a tad weaker.

It's probably something we'll just have to get used to, but every little bit of contact causes your player to react in some way. He might alter his dribble pattern or stumble slightly and so players seem to have lost some weight overall.

So far FIFA 12 is looking to have made significant steps forward in three key areas. The overall feel of the game, however, perhaps isn't the revolution more casual fans of the football sim are hoping for.

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Rutter tells us there's more to come, but regular players who appreciate the yearly updates already have something to look forward to. Changes to these three areas alone demand that the most entrenched football gamers go back to the dressing room. It's time once again to tweak those tactics and develop that technique.

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