FIFA 13 has been out for a few weeks now breaking sales records and generally being received favourably by reviewers and gamers alike. Our review unfortunately has been a little delayed but never fear as it has finally arrived.
FIFA 13 is obviously the annualised football title from EA game following on from the previously well named FIFA 12, 11 and 10 and as such it comes as no surprise that this title isn’t a reimagined football experience but more of a refinement and improvement over previous titles.
All the old favourites are back with quick play, career play and the exceptionally popular online leagues all making a return and obviously all the squads from your favourite leagues have been updated with all the latest transfers and movements from around the world.
So then what’s different really?
Well let’s rush through some of the updates.
- Ball control has been refined so that not all players have the ability to trap a ball like Messi or nutmeg players like Suarez, now you are going to see more first touch failures and general dribbling disasters making the game far more realistic
- Improved AI so that your team mates more often make those probing runs but break them off if they see you aren’t going to be passing to them
- EA Football Club is now improved with a catalogue of goods that you unlock as you gain XP, these are mainly cosmetic but is a nice touch for the hardened fans out there
- Match Day… more about this below
- Career mode has been enhanced with more real world interaction
Okay so that’s the upgrade in a nutshell but what does it all mean?
Let’s start with Match Day:
Match Day is easily my favourite part of the FIFA 13 and it has become the standard way I prepare to watch my team, Liverpool, take on their next opponent. The concept is simple, you load up Match Play and you are given the opportunity to play the game that is currently scheduled in the real world, however what makes this even more entertaining is that your team’s ability and availability is also matched to the current form and availability of the team in real life.
So when I wanted to take charge of Liverpool vs Everton this past weekend it was with some dismay that I noticed my teams stats had dropped due to a poor run of results this year and that I still couldn’t have Reine in goal as he is currently injured.
It’s an awesome little feature and something that will keep me coming back to FIFA 13 for the rest of the premier league season.
The FIFA 12 online seasons have also been given a mini makeover with the ability to play co-op, save team lineups and set divisions being some fantastic additions to what was already the most popular element of FIFA 12.
I initially had some serious problems finding matches in this mode but as the weeks have passed this has been stabilised and now logging on for a quick 1v1 thrashing online has become as easy as finding a Call of Duty game..
and yes the thrashing is me receiving the thrashing
To me the core of any FIFA title is the career mode where I can take over the running of my favourite team and show how we’d dominate the world of football if I was in charge.
This year is no different with all the main tournaments, leagues and events being accurately portrayed along with the annoying transfer windows.
Nothing irritates me more than having to sit through a slow simulation of the transfer season, I know it may be realistic but please EA give me a “I don’t care button” to skip this garbage as I really don’t enjoy it.
Other than that the career mode is fantastic with real world commentary being included in important games if they exist, hearing that my arch enemies have just gone 1-0 up really does motivate me to push harder and ensure I secure my victory.
The Little Things
What always gets me about FIFA though are the little things, this year the loading screen in the arena has been vastly improved. Now it’s not simply a place to practice your shooting but rather your entire range of skills.
The loading screens are now minigames that teach you how to dribble, chip, shoot, pass and many many more things. Not only does it alleviate loading times (which never seem long enough) but it is also a great showcase for the depth of the FIFA engine and is the fastest way I’ve ever been taught anything.
Now I no longer simply dribble pass and shoot, I now know how to dummy, lob, chip and nutmeg players which is awesome.
The rest of the little things can be summed up with one word, realism. The entire title is built around realism from real weather, commentary, player feelings and form. You will have players begging you for a chance in the first team and then reacting to the choice you make. If you let them in they may pick up form and become your new dominant player but they may also fail to show their abilities and lose even more form.
I always find it hard to score things like FIFA which are unashamedly simple updates from last years title. In the form of originality it obviously falls entirely flat but at the same time it is still a fantastic title that has improved year on year.
The tweaks and improvements to gameplay and AI simply improve what was already a fantastic gameplay experience.
Design and Presentation: 8.0/10
The gameplay visuals are great and an improvement from last year but the title falls down a bit with the clunky menu system and slow loading between different menu types.
If you are a football fan this will keep you going for the rest of the season, it has enough depth to keep you entertained for weeks and with the live matchday games there is no reason you will stop playing before FIFA 14 comes out
A fantastic football title from the leaders in the industry. It’s not vastly different from FIFA 12 but the small additions and gameplay tweaks make this title worth picking up
[Reviewed on a Xbox 360]
FIFA 13 was reviewed by Gavin Mannion