FIFA 13 (PlayStation 3)
As summer turns to autumn we expect certain perennial events to occur. Leaves will start to turn and fall off the trees, the chill in the air gets a bit crisper and as the nights draw in we all get to sit down in front of our TV and enjoy this year's version of the FIFA football franchise from EA.
With the new football seasons well underway across Europe EA have released FIFA 13, or if you live in North America FIFA Soccer 13. Finally making its way out those troublesome teens, FIFA 13 is the twentieth edition of the football simulation game.
FIFA 13 is a multi-platform title, available on the Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows as well a mobile platforms like the Nintendo 3DS or iOS. For this review we will be taking a look at the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
FIFA is always a much anticipated release and this was highlighted when EA released a demo of the game ahead of launch which was downloaded a record 1.99 million times in only three days.
This year FIFA offers us the chance to play with teams from 31 leagues around the world. There are also 46 international teams available to play. There are also 69 stadium models available in FIFA 13 with 26 of them being copies of real life stadia like Old Trafford or the San Siro. For the first time FIFA 13 offers support for both the PlayStation Move and Kinect controllers.
Every year Electronic Arts strive to make FIFA more authentic or more fun to play with new gameplay enhancements. This year EA have added features like 1st touch control, improved attacking intelligence and complete dribbling.
1st touch control is probably the biggest change to FIFA 13 from last year's version. The concept behind 1st touch control is that, in real life, plucking the ball down out the air from a 60 yard pass and having instant control doesn't occur every time. With previous instalments of FIFA having instant control of the ball was generally a given, now with 1st touch control an element of unpredictability has been added to the game.
FIFA 13 will now know how likely your player will be to trap or control the ball based on the force and distance of the pass played. So, our robust central defender might not be quite as nimble footed as our flying left winger so the ball might trickle away from him giving the incoming forward an opportunity to steal the ball away and take a shot on goal.
This technology also allows us to take a touch on a pass played to us, creating a touch of space between our player and the opposition which we can use to our advantage. Playing with 1st touch control initially feels a bit odd, as we seem less on control than we are used to however once we had several games under our belt we started to understand how to use it to our advantage. It certainly adds a level of unpredictability to the game, however this makes it feel more like a real life football game.
In FIFA 13, EA have completely revamped the attacking intelligence of players in the final third of the game. With the introduction of tactical defending in FIFA 12 defenders were no longer diving in on attacking players and we had much more time on the ball, however the rest of our team wasn't taking advantage of that to make the most of our position.
Now in FIFA 13 attacking players will look to make far better runs into space, bending runs to avoid going offside or even thinking two plays ahead. In play we found that this has really made a difference to the game and we have many more chances on goal as our players off the ball are making much better runs against our opponent.
FIFA 13 also brings us complete dribbling. Inspired by perhaps the best player in the world over the past couple of years, Lionel Messi, complete dribbling offers us ultimate control over the ball in one on one opportunity. We have the capability to face up on an opponent and then turn, dodge or skip away from any incoming tackle.
Aside from these key gameplay improvements FIFA 13 has also updated a number of the in game modes from last year's version. Career mode has been updated to include being able to play in international matches. EA Sports Football Club syncs our experience up with real world events, either news about our favourite team or the ability to replay this weekend's matches, in case we didn't like the outcome in real life.
Experience and points can be earned from playing FIFA 13, which can then be spent in the new Football Club catalogue. Fun items like historic strips from our clubs or stats boost can all be purchased from the new catalogue.
Graphics & Audio
This year's FIFA hasn't made any huge graphical leaps on FIFA 12, however that isn't a bad thing. The graphics in FIFA 12 were excellent, both in game and in the menu interface and FIFA 13 sticks with the same model from last year.
EA have added new player celebration animations from last year and other contextual animations have been included as well. Our players will react to challenges in a more realistic way, which helps add to the overall realism that EA are striving for.
The menu interface and pre-game animations are little changed from FIFA 12, however we loved those from last year, especially the great TV style introductions to our matches.
As with FIFA 12, FIFA 13 offers us two commentary teams, and they are unchanged from last year. Martin Tyler and Alan Smith, the primary Sky Sports commentating team are included as are ITVs commentary team of Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend. In addition this year we'll also be getting touchline injury reports from Geoff Shreeves.
Like previous FIFA games FIFA 13 offers us a multitude of music tracks to listen to while we navigate the in game menus. FIFA 13 offers us 51 tracks from established and new artists, covering a wide range of tastes.
FIFA 13 is a strong addition to the franchise from EA. While not a quantum leap from last year's FIFA 12 this year's version refines the experience with a deft touch. FIFA 13 feels more realistic and more unpredictable. The addition of the 1st touch control mechanic has made the game feel more like a real game of football, at time frustrating when we don't control the ball as we'd like and then massively satisfying when we are able to take out a defender just by the way we receive the ball.
On top of the new gameplay mechanics EA have added new features and made even more of an effort to tie the game into real life football events. Any fans of sport will find it hard to argue with the effort that EA have made in FIFA 13 to make it as current as possible.
FIFA 13 plays more like a real life game of football than ever before while adding a number of new features from last year's effort.