Soccer has been proven time and time again to be the world’s sport. It would only make sense that it is also the world’s best-selling sport games and FIFA being the top franchise in the genre. Many have the feeling that EA doesn’t put much time and thought into yearly iterations like their sports titles but after the past few years playing FIFA titles, it seems all the labor and loving has been put into soccer and hockey more than any of the other sports they currently release on a yearly basis. FIFA 13 looks to expand on the franchise by adding several new features to expand on the EA Sports Football Club that has become so popular as well as fine tuning the already fun and addicting gameplay. Can FIFA 13 be worth the purchase for returning fans or should they keep FIFA 12 safely secured inside their consoles?
Presentation is key with yearly iterations of a franchise to gamers as it is the first thing they will see and notice. As in previous years you will be able to play within the Arena with your created pro. The menu itself is as sleek as always and given a rather simplistic look of a soccer ball seemingly shattering into different hexagonal pieces. It is a pretty sexy looking background to be honest. The presentation in gameplay is great with each league having a different coverage intro that makes sense. Major leagues being covered by ESPN while others are covered by smaller networks just makes it feel all the more like you’re watching a real soccer match on television. Fans will see the new option on the menu titled, Match Day. Match Day feeds the real world statistics into the game with injuries, suspensions, team form, media gossip as well as overall playing will result in higher attributes in various categories which may give teams a negative affect or a boost as the weeks progress. This can result in the mode becoming very challenging if your favorite team is struggling in real-life. Games Of The week within this mode will highlight the top matchups of the week for fans to enjoy playing themselves.
Gameplay has been tweaked across many modes pre-existing and new. The player impact engine has been expanded to allow different players of different builds to throw their body around and weight into it and become more physical as they defend and fight for the ball based upon their play type. The new first touch control added to the engine allows for the first touch on the ball to be very important. If a quickly passed ball is received, just like in reality it would be harder to control if you were running after it. Players no longer have perfect control over the ball, abusing the run/sprint or constantly passing can end up where you may be on the losing side of the match. The AI now utilizes a new position intelligence that allows them to analyze plays and position themselves for new opportunities. You will have to work harder if you want to create a break to score in FIFA 13.
Skill Games is a new mode that is great weither you are a returning FIFA veteran or new to the franchise. It offers the fundamental skills broken down into thirty-two (32) mini-games. They are difficult but offer fans a chance to perfect their game. The reworked Career Mode offers a chance to play with internationals now as well as new Transfer Logic. It adds a bevy of new factors that shape a players market value. Player loans, board interactions and mid-season manager firings add to the element. You can compete for major tournaments as the season progresses that add authenticity to the game. ‘FIFA Ultimate Team’ takes center stage again as many fans love it to death. Players new to the mode, as well as returning players are treated to the new Icebreaker Flow that allows you the chance to see what it would be like to play with a team with near perfect chemistry. Then it kicks you back down and has you form your own club. You can form multiple clubs (which are essentially lineups) from within your main Club deck. Manager tasks unlock card decks and rewards, and you can now compete against the Ultimate Team Of The Week as chosen by EA. Playing offline is now just as rewarding as online with offline/online seasons and offline/online tournaments for FUT, each rewarding you with either coins or new packs. Other non-FUT modes are Tournaments, and Be A Pro-Player and Be A Pro- Goalkeeper which are essentially pick-up and play modes.
Online has been reworked slightly starting with EA Sports Football Club. You can now earn rewards and coins as you progress and play FIFA 13. These coins are gained just like XP and are tracked next to your XP bar in the main menu and on the Football Club page. These coins are redeemable in the Footbal Club Catalogue which houses a bevy of game enhancements as well as plain cool stuff, like new balls, kits and even XP bonuses for FUT. There is even a place to purchase a ‘Rematch’ option for Career mode. It makes it all the more rewarding as you complete challenges and work your way to level 100 in the EA Sports Football Club. Online also allows you to take your Season game online in 2v2 ranked online play as you battle it out in ten (10) game seasons to win promotion in the league divisions as well as division titles. Pro-Club Seasons are the same with added angst as you try to avoid relegation and qualify for a cup tournament for the first time online. You can show off your tournament cups in the new Trophy Cabinet. The ‘FIFA Interactive World Cup’ adds seasonal play with promotion, relegation and titles.
FIFA 13 is the pinnacle of soccer and many fans will agree it that come 2013 that EA Sports will be hard pressed to outdo itself. The added Move & Kinect functionalities are a plus however we feel it is just to allow the player the option to do so. I will stick to the controller as I conquer rival clubs online and off in what is simply put, the most full-featured and incredible entry in any sports title to date. Soccer is the world’s sport, it is fitting that now there is a game that should be played by every fan of it in the world.
Audio/Visual – 5/5: As always the commentary is great and added unique commentary for Match Day is great. The presentation is the best in the franchise.
Innovation – 5/5: Addition of various modes & Match Day is refreshing and the evolution of the EA Football Club is welcomed. True innovation lies with the first touch system and tweaks to gameplay.
Value – 5/5: All the modes, all the content speak for itself. Soccer fans will fall in love all over again with FIFA 13 and will be playing this until the next FIFA comes out.
Gameplay – 5/5: Graphical tweaks and engine tweaks. Players will feel the difference with first touch control and the smarter AI on the attacking.
Final Score: 5/5