FIFA 13 Review
It’s Match Day.
Another year, another round of EA Sports games, and like last year they’re trying to save the best for last when releasing FIFA 13. After last year’s stellar soccer experience in FIFA 12 it’s going to be very hard for EA Sports to generate the same leap forward. After taking FIFA 13 out on the pitch for a few matches I was impressed with what I saw, but I’m not entirely convinced that enough has changed to warrant a whole new game. Let’s get to the details.
Starting out in FIFA 13, you’ll have a few new options available to you depending on how you like to play the game. You’ll still be able to create your own pro and add him to your favorite team, or build an ultimate team around an existing pro, but this year everything will be organized into Seasons. Whether you want to play your career online or offline, you’ll be competing in a Season that will have you ranking up or down between five available divisions. The Seasons format helps to add a bit more structure to your efforts and is an addition that I’m a fan of.
Another great addition to this year’s effort are the new Skill Games. Skill Games are training modes that go far beyond the usual tutorials that tell you to hit X to pass and B to shoot. Instead, you’ll be thrown into a number of elaborate training sessions that don’t just show you how to perform various disciplines but actually allow you to develop your skills as a player. Broken out into three challenge levels, these Skill Games will take beginners from passing to the nearest open player to setting up a striker who is already on the move. If you were intimidated by the FIFA games before, Skill Games make FIFA 13 the one you should finally buy.
Playing matches will feel much like it did in FIFA 12, the impressive physics engine is still there but it has been updated with a few new features. EA are calling these updates by capitalized names like First Touch Control and Complete Dribbling and it’s not like these aren’t good updates, but they’re really just incremental updates to the whole. Attacking Intelligence, as they call it, simply means that your teammates are more aggressive in the way they charge the defensive line and First Touch Control means that the ball is always available for the first player who can get to it on every touch. FIFA 13 does deliver an overall better representation of the Beautiful Game, but by calling each tweak the engine receives by it’s own special name the folks at EA Sports are trying to convince you that whole new systems have been added to the game.
While the engine updates, new training modes and seasons make FIFA 13 a great game, veterans of previous games likely won’t see enough to justify paying another $60 as there are no truly compelling new features.
With the addition of Seasons this year, FIFA 13 Football Clubs will now follow the Seasons format. Having a season with a definitive end, with prizes awarded and ranks gained or lost, is really going to help the lasting appeal of the whole online system if you ask me. Online seasons also offer a new two player co-op mode so you and one of your friends can take your club to glory together.
Of course you can still head online for head to head play in all the ways you’re familiar with so if seasons aren’t your thing you still have plenty of options. Your Online Pro will also now have all of his stats saved to the EA servers, instead of a local file, so you can say goodbye to hackers and cheaters of that variety.
If you’re looking to pick up your first FIFA game, 2013 is the year to do it. The Skill Games and Seasons modes make this one of the most accessible sports games out there and the game engine is getting closer and closer to a true representation of how the game of soccer is played. On the flip side, if you own FIFA 12, you won’t see anything here that gives you a good reason to update. This is the conundrum that EA Sports have created for themselves; FIFA 13 is technically the best soccer game out there, but only by a small margin over FIFA 12.
Price: $59.99 on Xbox 360 and PS3 / $39.99 on PC
Available on: Xbox 360/ PS3 / PC (Origin)