Revolutionary gameplay innovations inspired by the real-world game make FIFA Soccer 12 deeper and more engaging. All-new Precision Dribbling delivers a higher fidelity of touch on the ball for attacking players, while Tactical Defending fundamentally changes the approach to defending by placing equal importance on positioning, intercepting passes and tackling. Plus, CPU players have been infused with Pro Player Intelligence, the next generation of player intelligence and performance.

In development for several years, the Impact Engine improves collision variety, accuracy, and momentum preservation. A new advanced procedural animation system is used along with collision physics to produce different results depending on the players and physical forces involved. This affects all players, so even those off the ball may have collisions. The Impact Engine has been cited as a game changer, making FIFA 12 less structured and synthetic than its predecessors, and has been described by producer David Rutter as the biggest technological change to the series since the transition to the current generation of consoles. The Impact Engine also directly affects injuries sustained by players during a match.

The new Tactical Defending system aims to change the approach to defending by placing equal importance on positioning, intercepting passes and tackling. When defending there will be more of an emphasis on slowing attackers down and containing them, and pressuring them into making mistakes. This is intended to be a more manual form of defending, requiring greater timing and precision when compared to the defensive “press” system used in previous FIFA games. The old system, now dubbed “legacy defending”, where a button press causes an AI player to home in on the player in possession of the ball, can still be used offline, and in online friendlies and custom unranked matches.