Posted on Friday, October 5th, 2012 at 8:17 PM by Michael Dalgleish
Another season of football has commenced and with it, another instalment of the ever popular FIFA series by EA Sports. With the developer keeping their cards close to their chest with regards to their plans for the ever approaching next generation of consoles, the focus with FIFA 13 was more of refining the wheel rather than reinventing it. That is not to say in any way that this new game is a disappointment, it takes everything FIFA 12 did right and cranks it up a notch, providing the most complete football game we have seen this console generation.
First things first, the game looks remarkably similar to last years instalment. The variety of menus and the in game action all looks virtually identical and if you put this game side by side with FIFA 12, you would struggle to notice a significant difference. It’s also largely the same on the sound front, with the obligatory selection on pop music backed up by excellent commentary in the matches. The commentary team has been cut back from four to two this year, with Martin Tyler and Alan Smith remaining. While on the face of it this may seem like a negative, it allows for some subtle changes that really ramp up the immersion. Geoff Shreeves will now report from the touchline, updating the player with injuries and substitutions, whilst Alan McInally will report with score updates and significant incidents from other matches being played during career mode.
When you get into a game for the first time you will immediately think that it feels the same as last year, but the more you play, the more the you pick up on the subtle little differences that make it a significantly more realistic game. The impact engine, introduced last year, which gave collisions a much more realistic feel has been refined, leading to much fewer comedic moments. The stats of the players also feel more directly linked to how the player performs than ever before. For instance, a player with low ball control will now regularly mis-control a ball that is fired at them or a player with low dribbling will knock the ball a few feet further ahead of him than a more skilled player, allowing a quick witted defender to knick the ball away. It means that there is more a gulf with between the good and bad teams this year and, whilst initially frustrating, it leads to a more realistic recreation of the sport than ever before.
The variety of game modes is largely the same as last year with career, ultimate team, season, online pro clubs and of course exhibition matches all making a return. However there are a couple of new features for players to sink their teeth into. The biggest new addition is EA Sports Match Day. This mode tracks the real life statistics of teams and allows you to play using teams and players with updated stats based on how they are currently performing in the real world. It also allows players to play live fixtures and specially selected games of the week with a short paragraph explaining the importance of each fixture. Moreover, the commentary will refer to live statistics such as mentioning players who are scoring frequently, players who are injured and so on. It really adds a level of immersion not experienced in a football game before and brings the game closer to what is happening in the actual leagues than ever before. The only downside of this mode so far is that only the teams in the top leagues seem to have updated form, and being a fan of a lower league team myself, I sincerely hope EA release an update with those leagues also included, or else they risk upsetting a large part of their player base. The other new mode is skill games. These are a series of highly addictive mini games centred on the core skills in football. Acting as both a time killer and a way to improve your skills, they are very fun and will have you playing for ages trying to beat your scores. Each skill games has three levels of difficulty too, so you are constantly challenged and they can be played in the warm up time for games, meaning you never have to sit through a protracted loading screen.
With regards to the other modes, they stay fundamentally unchanged from last year. Ultimate team is still as addictive as ever and benefits greatly from the addition of a season mode. The online modes are virtually the same as is the career mode, albeit now with the ability to manage a national team alongside your club. It would have been nice to see a couple of new additions to the career mode, but seeing as there was nothing really wrong with it last year then one can’t really be too picky.
There really is not much at all to complain about with this years FIFA. The only point of note I will mention is that many of FIFA 12’s problems did not rear their head until a few months into the games life cycle, when EA were not so vigilant with their updates. Hopefully they have learnt their lesson for this year and are hasty in countering any problems that arise.
Overall, FIFA 13 remains the go to game for football nuts around the world. Despite increased pressure from Pro Evolution Soccer, EA have once again upped their game with the new instalment and every football fan, whether hardcore or casual, will find something in FIFA 13 to fall in love with. The king of football games can wear it’s crown for at least another year.
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