Reviews// FIFA 13

Posted 2 Oct 2012 16:44 by
Games: FIFA 13
FIFA 12 (reviewed here) was bold, there's no doubt about that. EA Sports' decision to reinvent the way we defend in football games divided people. Some believed it was a huge step forward while others thought it singlehandedly ruined everything the team had achieved up until that point. In all honesty, I thought it was an improvement but a flawed one.

Whatever you thought, it has to be acknowledged as the first real attempt to change the way we play football games for a long time.

Gamescom 2012
Gamescom 2012
Because of the split in criticism, I was interested to see if the folk at Electronic Arts would stick to their guns or drop it all together with FIFA 13. Thankfully they have decided to refine rather than revert and this year they seemed to have got it just right.

Refined Defending
The problem with the defending system last year was that it was too easy to mistime a standing tackle and the punishment for a mistimed tackle was too large. Your defender would stumble in the wrong direction, completely removing him from the phase of play. Because of this, most players simply jockeyed the attacker until they were forced to try to beat you.

E3 2012, EA Sports Football Club
E3 2012, EA Sports Football Club
This lead to long periods of waiting for possession and ultimately slow and tedious play. A year of tweaking later and it feels a lot less committal when making your challenge. Defenders get tighter when pressing, making it harder for attackers to run at them, without making it impossible. Their fear of over-confident defending is still there and it will still keep you on your toes, but it's no longer a slog.

This means that some of the main battles on the pitch now occur in the midfield play. The middle of the park was a wasteland for action in FIFA 12 but this year it's a battlefield. Player movement has been drastically improved encouraging the passing game and the updated ‘First Touch' system can be a useful weapon when trying to move into space, or angle a pass.

It also means that not every player can pluck a ball out of the air with their little toe. When playing with less skilful players you'll need to think of new strategies to play to their strengths and not just collect the ball and run at defenders.

Along with improved animation and Impact Engine, there have been some nice tweaks in FIFA 13, but the more you play the more it's evident that tweaks are all they are.

Mode United
One of the biggest disappointments in FIFA 13 is how little work has been put into game modes. Not much has been added from last year. There have been little tweaks to the likes of Online Seasons. Thankfully, these now have been given the functionality needed to save formations and team selections.

Sadly, however, the kit clash issue from FIFA 12 is still there.

The Manager Mode has been given a little lick of paint but some of the ideas added simply don't work. The score line reports from other games start to grate as they are constantly read out during a game, and the calendar system is still too slow for my liking.

Those criticisms aside, it does still offer a fantastic feeling of a living and breathing world of football. Players can get disgruntled and, if they're aware that you're in financial trouble, other clubs will try and pick away at your squad members. The overall presentation builds around your current situation in the league.

Although PES’ Master League mode feels more personal, FIFA 13’s Manager Mode manages (ahem) to capture the ups and downs of club football without becoming tedious or repetitive.
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Games: FIFA 13

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PaulRayment 2 Oct 2012 16:05
I have to say that I think career mode has come on massively. Likewise, Ultimate Team has been tweaked a fair bit too.

As for Kinect, being able to shout your instructions is nice but I'm sure most people will just use the buttons in single player. In online is where it would be used most, to save waiting for your turn to pause it. Since you can't use it in this way I think that's a tad silly.

Speaking of silly: While I did try out swearing at the ref in friendlies (seems to work) I started a career mode and didn't utter a word to them. I then got a messages after every couple of games warning me for my language and eventually sacked. I hadn't said a word, in some games the room and I were silent. God knows what EA were playing at here.

I read that EA had solved the kit clash problem? Even if they had, they have a new one with you not being able to see who you're facing in Ultimate Team Seasons. I'm not a chicken but I see no fun in taking my team of bronze no names up against a squad of all golds with Messi and Falco up front. Pretty much ruins it.

Great review, I just needed to get a few EA issues off my chest.
ratsoalbion 3 Oct 2012 14:32
Good review Dave, and agree with the majority of what you say. However, your criticisms of rigidity and speed are negated somewhat by the inclusion of full manual options (turn all the assists to semi or even off), full analogue movement and sprint and a 'slow' game speed option (which is not slow, but closer to 'sim' speed. I only play that way (obviously online is at default). When you factor in the team AI/CPU sliders as well you have a completely customisable game as well as a vast, and massively entertaining, one. As such, it's a 9/10 from me.
Football fan 11 Oct 2012 21:08
Fifa 13 or all other Fifa games are not a simulation of the sport. The players are way too agile and you have no feel of momentum or so whatever, you just make turns while running like if the players were ice skating and score goals from outside the box like if you were playing some arcade stuff. PES rules this year in terms of simulation, truth must be sad, FIFA looks brilliant in caracthers animations and is flashy like a hoolywood movie, but seriously, this aint football at all!
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