FIFA 13 Review


I play FIFA in all the wrong ways. I pass when I should lob, I run when I should be cautious and considered, and don’t even get me started on the penalties. Yet despite my probable noob-ish ways, it’s a strategy that has seen me through countless yearly iterations and stirring victories. After playing with FIFA 13 for a few hours though, that all changed.

You see, it’s all because of First Touch Control, the major new addition to the FIFA series. No longer will the football be magnetically attached to the feet of players throughout your 90 minutes of game time. Instead, dribbling and passing has become more crucial than ever before. Delivering and receiving a pass is now more dependent on any number of factors, all working together simultaneously. How fast are you running? How are the weather conditions? What type and degree of spin are you laying on? And how about the annoying defender, stalking you harder than a lioness eyeing off a gazelle? Rarely will a pass be truly perfect, but then that is the true-to-life representation of perfection.

Ultimately, First Touch Control helps solidify EA Canada’s primary goal. To present the most realistic game of football it can. Goals might be harder to obtain, but it makes the success of one all the more powerful. Joy, elation, self-satisfaction; this cacophony of emotions will accompany your battle cry and aggressive fist pump. Or maybe that’s just me.

This heightened sense of realism is further boosted by the inclusion of full 360 mobility. Allowing a constant stream of directional changes removes the need for a stream of fancy ball tricks in favour of outsmarting your opponent by constantly keeping them on the back foot (both figuratively and literally).

Then there’s new positioning intelligence, infusing attacking players with the ability to better read plays and make more educated decisions come crunch time. Team mates will work harder to break down defences and make game-changing runs, but the same goes for the opposition. You will still be yelling expletives at your television when a pass goes awry or a player fails to get away from their marker, but the harsh reality is that now, chances are it’s all your fault.

In case your talent with a controller isn’t quite up to scratch to match these tweaked mechanics, EA Canada has included 32 new skill games. Ranging from dribbling around poles and odd obstacles, to lobbing balls into buckets, these mini-games will help sharpen your abilities so that you can become comfortable implementing them during game time. For you newcomers to the series, they will help act as a mini tutorial, as well as provide insight into the more nuanced differences for those who might have missed the last few iterations. No matter how you use it though, their presence is both welcomed and mighty useful.

Outside of all that, veterans of the series will be happy to welcome back the usual career mode, packed in with all the standard trimmings. Choose to become the best player in your club, or micro-manage your team to glorious wins; the choice is yours. If you love your football though, management is where it’s at. Player transfers, negotiations, budgets, board expectations, it’s all accounted for and has a direct influence on how each season will transpire. For the uninitiated, the constant notifications and actions the mode demands of you can become quite daunting and intrusive. For football fanatics though, it it will be like a kid wandering through a candy-filled dream.

Your season will continue to be amplified all the more once you connect the game to the wonderful world of the internet. Punch in an online pass-code and watch in awe as rosters and stats are updated on the fly; directly indicative of how individual players and teams are performing throughout the real-life football season. It’s a fascinating addition and certainly adds those extra layers of depth, strategy and unpredictability found in proper football. It goes without saying that your usual multiplayer competitive options are present too, just in case you wish to showcase your new-found skills to the world.

A few years back, EA strived to regain the football video game crown from the PES series. Now, they have it, and with what is the series’ most solidified entry yet, it won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. If you a want high caliber, simulated football experience, you simply cannot go past FIFA 13.

  • Xbox 360

The Verdict

Whilst hardly a revolution, FIFA 13 encompasses the classic 'if it ain't broke' game design mantra. It might be iteration over innovation, but that doesn't mean it's still not bloody good fun.
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