FIFA fanatic Kevin Casey takes a look at EA’s latest offering.
When I first started playing FIFA 13 I had already formed an opinion in my mind that this game couldn’t possibly be better than last year’s excellent FIFA 12. Playing the demo for about half an hour did nothing to change this opinion. Yes, it was fantastic but FIFA 12 was just as good. When I got my retail copy I played for roughly seven hours straight and in these seven hours I came to truly appreciate this game for what it really is. Simply put, FIFA 13 is the best football game I have ever played.
The reasons for this are plentiful but I’ll start with some of the new features FIFA 13 boasts this year. The graphics have received the obligatory upgrade from previous years and the player impact engine has been refined. As a result, your players no longer end up with their legs facing the wrong direction or a simple tackle won’t lead to a player being blasted, sky high, from the stadium. The three revolutionary features that really make this game so special and, more importantly, better than before, are First Touch Control, Attacking Intelligence and Precision Dribbling.
First Touch Control is a feature that doesn’t make too much difference; it just means that Titus Bramble doesn’t have the same first touch ball control as Lionel Messi. Precision Dribbling is extremely useful if that’s the way you play the game and if you utilise the right player like David Silva or Shinji Kagawa you can leave opposing players in the dust. By far the best new feature this year is Attacking Intelligence. The way I play the game involves lots of short passes and hitting through balls in behind the defence and this feature is a god send for players like me. When dribbling with the ball AI teammates now make more and, most importantly, better runs off the ball to create space and allow players to get that perfect pass in behind the defence.
The game modes haven’t changed too much over the years and there probably isn’t too much reason to change them, as these modes cater to all players. Career mode is more refined and allows players to imagine their dreams of becoming a professional player or manager. Internationals are back this year, so if you create a virtual player you have something more to aim for than being bought by a big name club.
The new skill games mode is one of my favourite additions to the game in a long, long time. Gone is the arena mode before each game where you controlled a player in front of a keeper and you had to try and score. Instead it has been replaced with a random skill game. There are a number of different games including Ground Passing, Lob Passing, Shooting, Advanced Shooting, Free Kicks, Penalties, Crossing and Dribbling. There are four different levels of Bronze, Silver, Gold and eventually, Skill. I have honestly not played a more enjoyable mini game. Each time you start one the lure of beating your high score and moving up a level is just too tempting to resist! These can become outrageously difficult but aside from that my only problem is that there aren’t more of them!
The online modes from last year also return with Seasons and Pro Clubs. After FIFA 12′s revamp of the Head to Head online modes, FIFA 13 brings a far more iterative improvement to the table in Seasons mode. Subtle improvements such as gaining extra XP for winning more games throughout a 10 game season and trophies for winning every game, make the mode much more engaging. With FIFA 13, Pro Clubs has not seen any huge revolution, but there are some quiet, yet important additions and tweaks which stem directly from criticisms of last year’s Pro Clubs mode. Two major changes have been made – first, that the Seasons format has been fully implemented within Clubs, and second that the Virtual Pro has been split into the Online Pro and the Career Pro. These changes will ensure that fans will be pleased and the FIFA 13 community will stay fully active until next year’s inevitable FIFA 14.
My favourite mode by far in FIFA 13 is Ultimate Team. For those of you unfamiliar with this game mode, it basically consists of buying and selling player cards to create a squad that you then play as against other players online, or the computer, to win coins. You then use these coins to buy more players from booster packs of other players. This game mode is almost like a role playing game in that you are constantly trying to upgrade your team by buying better players. This mode is like an epic mix of Pokémon, Final Fantasy and… well FIFA! This year they have added the season’s mode to Ultimate Team so now you really can tell if you have a good team by making it to the top of Division 1. Offline in Ultimate Team has also been hugely improved, as in it is now a viable option, so even those of us with a terrible internet connection (this is Ireland after all) don’t have to miss out.
Overall, FIFA 13 is a must own title, the game play has been refined even further with no fuss and minimal issue, it has the deepest squad roster ever seen in a football game while updated career and online modes make FIFA 13 the best football game going. Buy it.