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FIFA 11 goes live for iPad

EA Mobile has released FIFA 11 for iPad, just in time for Christmas. Although if you’re on a slower broadband connection, you might want to start downloading it now to ensure it’s playable by 25 December – it’s a whopping 890MB download.

As you’d expect from FIFA, there are bags of fully-licensed teams to play – 500 from around the world – and 35 gloriously-HD stadia to do it in. It has to be said, too, that the game looks amazing on the iPad screen.

How does it play, though? There’s a virtual analogue stick at the bottom left, and buttons at the bottom right that change function depending where you are on the pitch, and whether you have the ball or not. Early indications are that the system works well, with the slightly slower pace of the game compensating for the odd moment where your finger slips off a button.

There are some nice touchscreen, er, touches – such as the ability to quickly tap a player to switch to them, and swipe team-mates to send them off on a run into space.

However, there are few bells and whistles when it comes to game modes: you can play a Quick Match, a Tournament or a Season, but what’s missing is the Career mode that adds depth to other versions of the game, not to mention the Ultimate Team card-based mode that’s been a big success on console.

These modes could be added in future updates, but that’ll mean re-downloading the whole game as an update, so it’s a shame they’re not in for launch. Also lacking: local (or indeed online) multiplayer, and there’s no Game Center integration either for achievements and suchlike.

We’ve been playing FIFA 11 since yesterday, and it looks to play a decent game of football. But its comprehensive features on other platforms mean the iPad version feels a bit lightweight around its excellent core action.

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