Now, I’m not a one for pigeon holing or type casting but it seems I have naturally taken on the moniker of newbreview.com’s expert on everything football. God help us! One moment I’m reviewing Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 (which you can read here by the way), the next I’m continually spouting nonsense about how good Football Manager 2012 is on the newbreview.com podcast and now here I am reviewing FIFA 13.
It’s had its midnight launches, it’s been trending on twitter but the question I keep getting asked on the street is, ‘is it any good?’ and the answer is emphatically… YES.
Actually, it’s better than good. It’s brilliant and keeps with the franchises recent trend of bringing out the best footballing game ever made year on year (COME AT ME PES BOYS). Don’t believe me? From FIFA 09/10 onwards we’ve seen the likes of Ultimate Team, Be a Pro, Live Seasons, the ability to play as a Goalkeeper and 11 vs 11 online play, providing the spice, innovation and variety the series needed to drag itself from the mire. FIFA 13 unfortunately doesn’t add much more to the mix but what it does do is flesh out established game modes with more features and add a level of sheen, making it the most polished addition to the series to date.
Ultimate Team and Career modes have been looked at and been given injections of substance resulting in an even more complete experience. They join the brilliant Online Season’s mode which as migrated over from the series Euro and World Cup spin-offs, recapturing the tension and magic of online, knock out FIFA football, and a plethora of brand new, skill-based mini games. These are the game’s only real original gameplay idea, as they test player’s skills in all aspects, whether it be passing, lobbing or shooting, replacing the open arena loading screens of games previous in the series and provides another compelling, addictive piece of content to a series of games blooming with diversity. All in all, this is the games biggest surprise package.
This time around the focus has been on the gameplay on the pitch and the game’s overall presentation. FIFA 13’s clean, tidy menus and beautiful screen transitions add even more gleaning polish, whilst EA have tinkered with the gameplay yet again to produce a FIFA game which plays a little differently from the rest. Building on the successful improvements made in recent past iterations, FIFA 13 interestingly features shades of PES style gameplay. Controversial I know, but hear me out..
Defending as been the subject of constant refinement and improvement in recent releases of the franchise so, you wouldn’t be surprised to know that EA Canada have taken another look at defending and improved it again for FIFA 13. Its hard to explain without actually experiencing it for yourself but timing seems to feel more crucial. In previous games you had advanced defensive controls, like doubling up on players at your disposal, but when it came to tackling we mashed the jostle button over and over until we got the ball. In FIFA 13 things are a lot more sensitive. No longer can you mash buttons because one button press is all it takes to decide a foul from a good, clean tackle. It all depends on timing and positioning which brings with it an essence of realism that you don’t really associate with FIFA games, PES has got that covered. Certainly enough for die hard football game fans to sit up and take notice.
Everything just feels a bit more fluid, the type of footballing gameplay you’d normally expect elsewhere (*cough* Pro Evo *cough*). The result comes from a combination of smarter A.I teammates who make more attacking runs, pounce quicker on opportunities and use more creative flair in the set ups for goals. The addition of First Touch Control which allows players to manipulate the ball upon receiving it, increasing ball control and providing scope to pull of intricate passing and skill moves (interestingly enough a similar feature was added to FIFA 13’s biggest competitor PES 2013 too). AND EA haven’t mentioned it themselves, but FIFA 13 boasts re-tuned shooting, allowing longer, more complicated shots to be pulled off easier. They’re not easy enough that they don’t require any skill but via the very same token the frustratingly impossible scenarios of the previous FIFA games is now totally possible with a bit of skill in FIFA 13. More free flowing and fluent (a la PES up to this point), FIFA 13 may not bring much new to the party in terms of game modes but the tweaks made in its actual gameplay mean that it plays like no other FIFA game. Simply put, it’s the best yet.
Finishing the whole package off is the usual full licensing, great soundtrack and awful commentary (my main bug bear with ALL football games), basically the stuff that’s synonymous with the series. That’s actually quite a nice round about way of describing the game as whole; everything you’ve come to expect from a FIFA but better.
Review Round Up
Graphics: 4/5 – Presentation has been ‘Gucci-fied’ but likenesses still look shaky. We are still a long way off truly high resolution graphics.
Sound: 3/5 – Great soundtrack, passable crowd noise and awful commentary. The usual.
Gameplay: 5/5 – Much improved. Additions to shooting, defending and first touch have made for a more fluid and fluent. Much MUCH better.
Longevity: 4.5/5 – Although FIFA 13 offers little in the way of new gameplay modes to try it, it’s got all the gameplay modes created in recent years and fleshed them out into more complete experiences. So much to do, FIFA 13 will not only tied you over to FIFA 14 but 15 and 16 too.
Overall: 4.5 Thirty Yard Screamers out of 5
Simply put, EA have done it again and delivered the best footballing game ever made. The focus has shifted from gameplay modes to how the game actually plays and the improvements make for an even better experience.
-Kieran E. Roycroft