The reigning champion of virtual football returns but can FIFA 13 keep the series at the top of the soccer league?
The annual arrival of the latest FIFA brings with it another batch of improvements and refinements, including more integration with real-world footy and significant enhancements to passing and dribbling that are designed to make FIFA 13 the most authentic edition of EA Sports’ multi-million-selling series yet. But with a resurgent Pro Evolution Soccer can it deliver enough to remain virtual football’s numero uno?
FIFA 13 First Touch Controls
On pitch the big change with FIFA 13 is the First Touch Control system, which finally confines the days of passes seeking out receiving players like a homing missile to the annals of history. Instead, the difficulty of receiving the ball depends on factors such as player skill and ball speed, plus a little bit of luck. In practice that means there are more general fumbles in FIFA 13, and while some will feel it reduces their control over the game, the result is a much more authentic game with a greater dash of unpredictability to every match.
FIFA 13 Dribbling Changes
Other improvements include refinements to dribbling and collisions, which work in tandem to make every one-on-one tussle for possession an intense and physical mini-battle.
The player with the ball gets a new set of nifty manoeuvres to help stave off and scoot around challengers, while those seeking possession can jostle and even tug their rival’s shirt to upset their attack – assuming they fancy a gamble with a yellow card.
FIFA 13 Ultimate Team
Off the pitch FIFA 13 boasts more additions than a boy racer’s hatchback, but fine as these modifications are few are going to get anyone very excited. Take FIFA Ultimate Team, where you lead a fantasy squad to glorious victory or crushing defeat online.
The big addition to this mode is the Catalogue, a virtual shop where you can spend credits earned in game on enhancements for your team. It’s nice to have but it’s not enough to make this year’s FIFA feel like a major leap forward.
FIFA 13 Match Day
FIFA 13 is also out to erode the barrier between the real and virtual worlds of football. The game regularly pulls in the latest info from professional football around the globe, updating player stats to reflect their most recent performance and drawing on the most up to date trivia and news to make the virtual action feel as close to reality as possible.
There are also weekly challenges that are based on the latest fixtures to boot. At this stage it’s too early too know what the constant updates of player stats will mean over a whole season, but it’s clearly got the potential to bring some of the drama of the real world into the game.
FIFA 13 – Skill Games
If, like us and almost everyone else in the world, you’ve become addicted to New Star Soccer over the last twelve months, you’ll probably be rather pleased with FIFA 13’s new Skill Games, a selection of eight bite-sized footy challenges that not only hone your on-pitch prowess but also prove to be genuinely fun to play.
These mini-games cover skills ranging from penalty shots and lob passes to crosses and goal-scoring, but each challenge is tricky and moreish enough to keep you coming back time after time in a bid to secure a perfect score.
FIFA 13 – Verdict
On pitch FIFA 13 delivers another firm step forward for the series, with enhancements that make matches more intense and unpredictable than ever before. Away from the stands FIFA 13’s refinements are less spectacular, although its assortment of football challenges is surprisingly addictive.
Essentially, while this year’s edition lacks any thrilling new off-pitch features, there’s no denying that FIFA 13 is an all-round, top-notch recreation of the beautiful game.
Tested on: PlayStation 3
FIFA 13 review
More authentic on-pitch than ever, FIFA 13 reinforces EA Sports' place as the soccer top dog