Let me begin by saying that FIFA 13 is the first game in the series that I have owned and played with any regularity. Unlike NCAA and NBA, I’ve never played many soccer games. The game itself is a franchise that started with FIFA International Soccer on the PC and SNES in 1993. It is safe to say that the series has been successful with the release of FIFA 13 on September 25, 2012 and a promised FIFA 14 at the end of this year. So let’s take a look at the newest title and see what makes it such a successful game.
EA Sports has been making these sports games for years, and, with each new installment, one of the biggest tweaks has been the graphics. They have tried to make each installment of the game more and more realistic with more and more player detail. The difference in realism between FIFA International Soccer (Left) and FIFA 13 (Right) are a testament to how much work has been put into the games over the past decade.
There are some things left out, of course, as the fans in the stadium on FIFA 13 might as well be a throwback to FIFA International Soccer’s graphics with how little detail was put into them. EA probably had a reason, as the detail of the crowds are probably not quite as important in the developer’s minds as the details on the field are. The game can’t have realism down to the very last detail, though, as it would either be too taxing on the machine it’s being played on, or take too much time in the development timeline to warrant attention. Whatever the reason, it takes nothing away from the game; it merely gives the player a little bit of a chuckle when they see the comparison between the players and the crowd.
Gameplay is something that has been changed in some ways and not so much in others. FIFA 13 has multiple control schemes to choose from when starting up a game, and all of them feature different controller setups. The basics are still there, such as pass, shoot, and cross, but there are other combinations, such as pressing Left Bumper for a chip shot or using the Right Bumper for finesse and curve shots. There is also a Sprint button, but be wary: the more the stamina bar depletes, the slower the player runs, until they can actually be injured when the stamina bar is fully depleted. Usually, the injury consists of a pulled hamstring or quad muscle, which is enough to take them out of the game.
Another aspect that has only been an addition in recent years is Career Mode. It is featured in many EA Sports games, such as NCAA and PGA Tour, and has appeared as far back as ’08. Career Mode is characterized by creating a player and sending them through the sport as an individual rather than controlling every member on a team. FIFA 13 has you start as an 18-year-old player in the position of your choice and even puts you on the team of your choice, be it L.A. Galaxy or Manchester United. Now, the object of career in FIFA 13 is not just to help your team win, but to get onto the international team of whatever country you are playing for. Your manager will set goals and objectives for you to complete for each set of games based on your position. For example, if you are playing as a Striker, he will tell you that over the next set of games, you are expected to score a minimum of ten goals, maintain a match rating of at least 6.0, and maintain a shot conversion of at least 10%. All of these add in to your league objectives, and the combination of these aspects help determine whether or not you play for your country’s international team throughout the season.
Your match rating is dependent on your performance in your position. As a defender, it will be based on how well you prevent break aways or prevent players from scoring, whereas for a striker, it will be dependent upon scoring goals, setting up assists, and making openings to score. It’s important, though, in whatever position you play, to always keep an eye on where you are supposed to be on the field, as well as where the ball is and what is happening outside of your position.
In addition to standard game modes and career mode, there are also practice session and skill games where you can work on certain aspects of the game like shooting, dribbling, crossing, penalty shots, free kicks, and many more. Each skill game has four levels of skill to get through, progressively getting more and more challenging, until you have mastered each. There is also, as always, multiplayer, where two to four people can play against each other or on the same team, divided up however they so choose, all on the same console.
All things considered, FIFA 13 is an excellent game with stunning graphics and immersive gameplay; simply put, it’s a must have for any soccer fan.
This review is based on a retail copy of the XBOX 360 version of FIFA 13, developed by EA Canada and published by EA Sports.