Published by EA Sports
Developed by EA Sports
If you’re a fan of football games you’ll be well aware that every year there’s a choice to be made. Do you opt for the latest Pro Evolution Soccer or FIFA game? To be fair however, for the last few years the FIFA game has been so good that the choice has been an easy one. Should you opt for FIFA 13 this year however, there’s another important choice to make. Just what mode do you dedicate yourself to? FIFA 13 is feature rich and you’ll be torn between its many addictive modes.
FIFA 13 is simply bursting at the seams with modes that are capable of keeping you busy for months. Exhibition matches can be played with the status of both teams reflecting those in real life. If your favourite striker has pulled his hamstring in real life you won't have access to him in the game which certainly adds to the game's authenticity. You can play a full virtual career as either a player or a manager. The Be a Pro mode allows you to play as either an outfield player or a goalkeeper. You can also engage in a multitude of competitions in the Tournament mode too. Fancy building your own fantasy team and taking them online to compete against other fantasy teams? If you do there’s the Ultimate Team mode, a mode that combines the gameplay of FIFA with the addictive collecting of virtual player cards. The mode really reminds me of collecting Panini football stickers back in the 1980’s. There are skill challenges, which essentially act as basic tutorials to help you sharpen your elementary FIFA skills and these can also be played whilst you’re waiting for a match to load. Let’s not forget the many Xbox Live modes one of which allows you to play in persistent seasons with promotion and relegation. There is also support for 11 vs. 11 matches too. In both the single and multiplayer elements of the game the amount and quality of the modes on offer is staggering.
New versions of a football game usually improve one or many aspects of the control system to make the game easier to play. Strangely enough, FIFA 13 heads a little in the opposite direction this year. The new First Touch Control system means you’ll have to work more to fully control the ball. The ball won’t simply be glued to your player’s feet and it’s possible for them to fumble possession and take heavy touches of the ball if you don’t control it correctly. Of course the attributes of the player you’re controlling are taken into account so the higher-level, more technical players are less likely to lose control of the ball than a player from the lower leagues. To a certain degree this forces you to play more realistically and not have your players continually sprinting around whilst retaining the ball with perfect control. Naturally this is a little frustrating at first but with effort and a little patience it makes the whole experience more rewarding.
Various aspects of the gameplay have been tightened up. When attacking you’ll notice that your AI teammates often take up more realistic positions giving you better options than in previous games in the series. The series has been modelling the more physical aspects of the game in previous years and that aspect has been refined somewhat in FIFA 13. The physical nature of football seems to be captured fairly well here without feeling like it’s been overdone. There doesn’t seem much to complain about with either the goalkeepers or the referees which may not seem like much of a compliment but it’s surprising how many football games manage to either have error-prone keepers or referees that can’t stop blowing their whistle for tackles that many would not normally be considered a foul.
The Xbox 360 version of FIFA 13 also provides support for the Kinect sensor. Essentially this allows you to be a virtual manager whilst you’re playing the game with controller. You can use the Kinect to change your tactics, make substitutions and give instructions whilst the match is underway. With no access to a Kinect sensor it’s impossible to say how well this all works and whether it’s a worthwhile addition to the FIFA experience but at least in theory it seems a like a good use of the Kinect sensor for those that have access to one.
As you’d expect from a FIFA game, the presentation is excellent and head and shoulders above any other football game out there. Graphically the game doesn’t represent much of an improvement over last year’s FIFA but given how long in the tooth this console generation is that’s hardly surprising. The player animations do seem better this year however and on the whole seem more realistic than in any other FIFA game to date. The general presentation of the game is impressive with an abundance of official licences meaning you’re getting all of the world’s best leagues and teams, each with their official kits and rosters.
There’s no real difference between FIFA 13 and the previous versions of FIFA when it comes to its support for deaf gamers. There are videos that introduce the new additions to the game and these unfortunately aren’t subtitled. Match commentary is once again not subtitled and whilst this doesn’t really represent a problem, it is disappointing that the option to subtitle the match commentary, and the information you're given from injury updates, hasn’t been made available particularly as it's much better here than in any other football game you can buy. Despite these omissions however there are no real obstacles to enjoying the game, particularly as basic tutorial information is shown in text. Yes you are missing out on some presentational aspects of the game but you will be able to fully enjoy the game in spite of this.
In a nutshell, FIFA 13 is the most complete football game out there at the moment. The game is chock-a-block with official licences and game modes, several of which are extremely addictive, and you'll have a problem deciding which leagues to play in and which modes to dedicate yourself to. On the pitch the action is as impressive as ever. For the most part the gameplay doesn't differ wildly, and is still excellent. The First Touch control system does take some getting used to although it certainly does help to differentiate the more skilled players from those with less technical ability. To tell the truth you can't go wrong with either of the two main football games this year but FIFA 13 just has the edge in terms modes and sheer content so if you're only going to purchase one then this has to be it.