With October arriving, it can only mean one thing, that the latest version of FIFA has been released. With a good showing from Konami with Pro Evo Soccer 2013, does EA’s FIFA 13 step up to the challenge?
Last year’s offering had some great improvements to the game and this annual update has continued this trend. Features added include: a new first touch system, a new impact engine and new defender intelligence to name but a few.
If you played the demo, you would have noticed the addition of skill games, which are playable whilst you are waiting for your match to load. In FIFA 13 these skill games are also playable in their own game mode.
There are a vast number of different skills, such as: shooting, passing, dribbling. Every skill has four different difficulties for its challenges, where the goals you have to complete get harder and harder. You may find yourself sat trying a challenge for hours as you will not let it beat you. As well as completing the challenge, your score is submitted to the leader boards, so you can compete with your friends and the rest of the world.
One of the big changes to the game mechanics is the first touch of your players. The game uses each players individual stats and the player’s situation to determine how the ball is controlled. For example if you are running down the wing and the ball is passed to your back, it is more than likely that a defender will dispossess you.
During the year of development EA Sports have tweaked the player impact engine; this has helped to make challenges and running into AI more realistic. There are still a few occasions where players will get tangled together and do weird stuff!
Tactical defending makes a return, and the defending AI has improved. Players won’t miss the simple challenges (that you expect them to make). Now they can put an arm across with a cheeky pull of the shirt. Or it may be a sly leg left out, that will just nudge the ball away from the attackers’ feet.
A few years back you could purchase some DLC (Adidas Live I think it was called) where the teams and stats are updated with the details from the real life counterparts every week. This is now included for free with FIFA 13. This allows you to play the biggest matches of the week as they were played, which is great if the real life result didn’t go your way and you want to change that.
EA Sports Football Club returns, with your level and XP being brought with you from your FIFA 12 profile. In ’13 you can continue to earn XP in head-to-head matches, online matches, career mode and Ultimate Team. As well as this you can complete weekly challenges, for example: Manchester United are losing 2 – 1 to Chelsea and there is 30 minutes left in the game, secure Man U the three points.
But now you can spend your hard earned XP in the newly introduced EAS FC Catalogue. In the catalogue you can buy new unlocks for special classic kits, new boots and balls for your virtual pro. You can also buy cool things such as extra games for your career if you need some extra points to make the playoffs, or training cards to boost certain proficiencies on your team.
Of course the higher your EAS FC level the better items you can buy and unlock. Which is a nice incentive to keep playing. It’s not like you needed an excuse to play FIFA though is it.
Both Be a Pro and Manager Mode careers is back, but it returns different from previous incarnations. For example the transfer market has been changed to match the real world; there are few big money transactions per window, unlike in ’12.
One thing the niggled me is that you cannot interact much with press or players. Everything you read, whether it be from newspapers, Sky Sports, or your assistant manager, you can read but can’t respond to. Despite this there is nothing better than seeing your creation starting small, being loaned out to lower leagues, to working your way into the first team and then winning the English Premier League.
As you would expect EA have brought back Ultimate Team, which is a mix of FIFA and sticker collecting. There are a few updates, with a new menu interface showing you the Team of the Week and quick access to gold player auctions.
On the online side of the game, head-to-head seasons is back. Here, you can progress through 10 divisions by reaching a certain number of wins in each. Can you make it to the top? One of my favourite online game modes is Pro Clubs Seasons, grab a few of your mates with similar abilities and you can take on the world with each person controlling a different player on the pitch.
It is safe to say that FIFA 13 has won the yearly bout with PES, as this is one of the best FIFA’s that we have seen and is a great improvement on ’12. So what are you waiting for, this is a must have if you love football games.