Game Review: FIFA 2013
Pros:Realistic first touch control, INFINITY engine
Cons:New menu large and overbearing
Aidan plays FIFA 13, a game whose many clever little updates make it a worthy addition to the series’ phenomenally successful line-up.
Despite there being nineteen sequels in the series, this writer can remember playing the very first FIFA game, and that’s an odd feeling. Ah, the glory of Johnny Joyce smacking the back of the net as you dispatch Brazil in another incredibly realistic game, or what passed for realism back in 1993. FIFA has evolved over the years and while it wavered at the turn of the millennium, it has come back strong in its most recent iterations. FIFA 2012 was the first game in 10 years that convinced us not to spend our money on the competitor Pro Evolution Soccer, which gamers had routinely chosen ahead of FIFA for much of the early noughties. Pro Evo regressed while FIFA has come forward in leaps and bounds. Like every Premiership season, the top competing teams try to snag a new addition to help them come out on top. FIFA most certainly are reigning champions and with FIFA 2013, they ensure they retain the title.
The biggest change is definitely in the new physics engine. The INFINITY engine has been put to work across the EA Sports series this year, and it produces some very realistic reactions to tackles, receipt of the ball, and the flight and roll of the ball too. In previous games, having a gaping goalmouth and hitting ‘shoot’ guaranteed goal, but not this year. Pressing the correct direction is now key; you have to let your player know where you expect him to plant that ball. Similarly, pass completion was almost guaranteed in past FIFA games, but in FIFA 2013 if you hold a direction away from the ball, you may run away from the coming pass. If the ball is played high and you don’t time it right, you might miss the ball entirely. This adds a new level of realism to the judgement required to play smoothly and well.
Poor players who receive a ball at pace won’t have that instant first touch to take the ball in their stride. This uncertainty factor gives a new dimension to the quick reactions of the opposition who could steal a snap shot, or round the last man if the bounce is favourable. A defender could steal a last minute tackle that would have been impossible in previous games.
A refined free kick system makes it possible to create a more confusing situation for your opponent with more players standing over the ball, new pass options and more. Similarly, there are new tactical abilities to defend those free kicks, like inching forward or sending one man into the firing line, Braveheart style.
FIFA updates player form to create more realistic games, so if Demba Ba is on a scoring run, he will receive a form boost. Dribbling is more precise; players can turn with more control and can launch off at pace that bit quicker, giving you more chances to beat that defender.
Overall, the gameplay has been pushed forward drastically with multiple little changes that make this game extremely realistic. Modes like Live Match Day add something new, recreating the live season as a challenge. The normal game modes return, including career mode, which gives you the chance to play for, or manage your favourite national side through the international calendar of games. The offline ‘between game’ loading pitch has been replaced with mini-games that challenge your ability to pass, dribble, cross and shoot, so you’re always improving.
The online modes are comprehensive, as always. Pro club online matchmaking adds a good dimension to the team and single match-ups. The interactive FIFA World Cup allows you to indulge in ranking games to lay your claim to the world FIFA title. As with last year, you can still play seasons, to move up the divisions while playing online. Plenty of challenges lie ahead even for the good players. One of the best things about FIFA is that there is a great balance of opponents online that are on the same level as you are. You can then progress through the leagues to meet better players.
By changing a lot of small things, EA have produced a big franchise update in FIFA 13. Some may argue it is only a minor facelift on #FIFA 12, an already very good game, but in reality, these are crucial changes that create a significant effect. If you’re coming from FIFA 11, the differences will be stunning. If you’re coming from FIFA 12, there are still enough differences here to make it worth the money. We haven’t had the pleasure of road testing PES 2013, but to catch up, it will need to be leaps and bounds better than last year’s incarnation.
Now, if we could just convince EA that FIFA Street and FIFA 2013 belong on the same game, we could be onto the single greatest sport sim available on console. Until then, it’s an almost perfect step forward in footballing gameplay and will have us sat, lost and goggle-eyed in front of our unnecessarily huge TVs, trying to prove once again that we are the best FIFA players in the world.
You know, so Mammy can be proud.