With every new soccer season, comes a new FIFA title. The inevitable question for sports gamers is this: If you currently own the last FIFA title, is the latest version a worthwhile upgrade? While the changes in FIFA 13 are a bit more subtle than some of the new features introduced in FIFA 12, the latest edition represents welcome tweaks to an already strong foundation. The result is a convincing and very enjoyable sports simulation.
New Features and Improvements
The changes to in-game play are likely to be noticed most readily by avid players. EA Sports has tweaked the impact engine, which was introduced last year to produce lifelike animations when players collide. This generally worked, but occasionally had unintentionally hilarious results as hundreds of YouTube videos show. A new precision dribbling system, inspired by the control system introduced in FIFA Street, has also been added. When mastered, this allows a player to control the ball in a similar manner as real-life pros. Also new is First Touch Control, which adds a more realistic relationship between the player and the ball. In this case, more realistic means attackers have less of a chance of exhibiting the sort of superhuman control that has been standard in video games. Here, even Messi messes up from time to time.
I really found the new Match Day feature to be a welcome change. After all, the reason most die-hard soccer fans play FIFA is the fantasy aspect of wanting to play on the pitch. This feature takes current real world events and works them into the match day report and commentary. This helps tie even simple quick matches you set up to the real world and can help add motivation to win.
The new Skill Games address the previous editions’ lack of any substantial training features. Since online players you encounter are usually extremely seasoned and this can make it hard to gain enough confidence to want to take them on. Fortunately, FIFA 13 has added these mini-games to allow you to hone your skills including passing, dribbling, shooting and penalties. These are an effective way to both improve your skills and offer yet another mode of gameplay. After a few minutes in each of the skills my general gameplay improved as I was able to focus on improving some elements of control that had previously been elusive.
Presentation and Motion Control
Beyond those changes, you still have the same strong presentation that you’ve become used to in recent years. There are enough game modes to satisfy almost any whim. This includes career based modes, manager simulations and Ultimate Team where you can buy and sell players as virtual trading cards to create your team. EA Sports Football Club continues to expand of the social features introduced last season as well. FIFA’s greatest asset is the amount of leagues and players available. This year 30 leagues are available, so most soccer fans worldwide will be able to play the team of their choice.
The only notable dud is the addition of Playstation Move based motion controls, which is reminiscent of the kid-centric simplified control methods available in the Wii editions. These controls, though, are far too difficult to master, since they rely on pointing using an on-screen cursor to control player movement. It’s somewhat interesting as a tech demo, but anyone wanting to actually have fun will likely quickly pick up a standard controller instead. Perhaps my aging neural pathways are too set on traditional control methods. (The Xbox 360 versions have Kinect-based voice command actions added
While it can sound like there isn’t much new, the added polish and tweaks do combine to make this edition even better than the last. Of course superfans already have the game, but if you’re interested in soccer, and are eager to take to the virtual pitch, you can’t go wrong with FIFA 13.
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|ESRB Rating||E for Everybody|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc