FIFA 13: A Revolution After All?

FIFA 13 isn't just a set of tweaks to the formula--it's the best damn FIFA yet.

by

It's easy to be sceptical of a series that is updated every year with a "brand new" version. After all, what can be done in a year? Is that really enough time to create new features compelling enough to justify dropping another £40 into EA's already plump pockets? Some would argue not. Indeed, there are some who believe the whole thing is a ruse--a way for EA to gouge as much money as possible from its customers, while releasing what is essentially the same game every year.

But it's not like EA have had an entirely bad track record with this stuff. The introduction of the tactical defending system in FIFA 12 fundamentally changed the way the game played, and--in my opinion at least--for the better. But when I saw what EA had in store for FIFA 13, I came away disappointed. Improvements to the Player Impact Engine, AI, dribbling system, free kicks, and first touch seemed more like a nice set of tweaks than the "revolution" that EA was so proud to proclaim.

And yet, when I finally got my hands on the game, it was difficult to be anything but impressed. Those very things I was so ready to dismiss as mere tweaks were, in actual fact, the very things that made my time with FIFA 13 so special. While "revolution" might be overkill, it is a markedly different experience. It is the very first FIFA I've played that feels, and looks, like actual human beings are kicking the ball.

Players responded just like I'd expected them to. Huge long balls and over-zealous passes weren't just magically controlled with seemingly unholy skill; the ball would creep away. Sometimes it was a little knock on. Other times it would veer wildly off course, or land at the feet of the opposition. It was in those little, or sometimes large, mistakes that unpredictability was introduced. Not randomness, though--just a sense that players were no longer computer-generated dream machines, but real, fallible human beings.

In the attack, they would move with a smoothness I'd never seen before, ducking, weaving, and dummying the ball in an effortless sweep between defenders. This wasn't the result of some fancy new skill system, but a simple tweak that meant players could face one direction while dribbling the ball in another. It was simply how I'd expect real players to handle the ball, and it lead to some spectacular goals that never felt artificial or forced.

I saw players performing confident runs I had never seen in a FIFA game before as they anticipated chances by moving into space, steamrolling past defenders to gain the upper hand. They would shield the ball, too, using the same dribbling tweak to defend, rather than attack. And all of these things just happened. There was no complicated button scheme to remember, or settings to adjust (although the new dribbling mechanic can be manually activated by holding down the two triggers), it all just worked.

What really sold it me, though, was not in the doing, but the watching. As I reluctantly handed over the controls to another eager journalist, I sat back and watched as each match unfolded. Goals were scored, mistakes were made, and voices were raised. And it felt good. There was a fluidity to the game that made it as close as I've ever been to seeing a virtual match resemble a real one. That is why FIFA 13 is impressive: not because of a gargantuan spec sheet of improvements or a suite of shiny new visuals, but the feeling of excitement in that--just like this year's Premier League finale--damned near anything could happen.

Discussion

54 comments
Shadow_Xboxer
Shadow_Xboxer

All i'll say is. The ONLY way to truly get the most authentic experience out of FIFA is to play in fully Manual mode... None of your passes and shots are helped by the AI. The online community that play manual are quality players. And if any of you newb players on assisted and semi played us.... Its over for you. But honestly, if you give yourself the time to master manual mode. You wouldnt regret it!! Makes FIFA even better than it already is!

MJS88
MJS88

I'm glad it will be minor tweaks. I for one love the impact engine. I know it's not real life and enjoy the comedy moments but the times when your defender back-steps into an attacker's stray leg and flies into a 360 backflip does seem a little OTT.

 

One thing which would be great (although I can't think how they'd pull it off - maybe with a slider?) is the goal line technology thing. It would be ideal as it's hot in the media at the moment.  It's not very often but I've had it where I've fired in a shot that  hit the crossbar and flied out of the goal. My team will be celebrating before I even realise what's happened. When I watched the replay the ball barely crossed the goal line trigger point and in real life it would be 80/20 whether a linesman would spot it. I guess it could be annoying but a 'goal line awareness' slider could even it out for people who don't want it.

vinusharma2009
vinusharma2009

they should improve on the difficulty setting cause just mearly increase in difficlty level vidic can't win header from ramos and suddenly players from small level clubs starts running so fast than messi!!!!

and my team can never defend like how AI players do!!!!!!

chechak7
chechak7

ok we will see it i hope it will be revolution 

kellerj18
kellerj18

FiFa 12 is down right horrible. Tactical defense ok but everything else like passing,dumb ai defense (unless you are Real or Barc), collision, etc.. all the fundamentals to soccer horrible. Fifa a game you love and then you hate. That is what i want and sounds like Fifa 13 will be a dud and all hype again.

marshalmathers2
marshalmathers2

 What I hope to witness is the full realization of "PERSONALITY PLUS" where each and every individual player feels unique - on my hands - and behaves differently and more like his real counterpart. Difference in just 'speed' and 'weight' is not enough for me. Afterall, GAMEPLAY is what matters the most!

 

 I would like to tell the difference between 'Wilshere' from 'Ramsey', 'Adebayor' from 'Drogba', 'Reibery' from 'Robben', and 'Huntelaar' from 'Van Persie'.

 

marshalmathers2
marshalmathers2

The way I see it: EA Sports are making cycles of Jump, Tweaks, Jump again in a few years. I'll explain what I've experienced as a long time FIFA player (plus THAT other rival football sim) in adding new ideas and innovations to each year's installment.

 

e.g. FIFA 2001 - 2006 were all tweaks and finessing of the same structure with stand-outs like FIFA2003 and FIFA06.

 

 FIFA 07 : A ground breaking Jump by intoducing FREE BALL PHYSICS.

 

 FIFA 10 : A reasonable jump by what feels like changing the whole infra-structure of the game and improving players physics.

 

 FIFA 12 : TACTICAL DEFENCE .

It's what separates FIFA 12 from the rest. Not just from past FIFA games, but from any football sim I've ever played before. Can't imagine how can they improve it but I'd appreciate it.

"Precision Dribbling" is another fine aspect that you can actually feel when you're holding the controller. The most celebrated of the trinity; "Impact Engine" didn't strike me as much.

 

It's then natural that FIFA 13 will be a more tweaked version infused with great new ideas in pursuit of realism. It's never an easy task for developers to come up with such leaps in innovation like those achieved during the past few years of the FIFA franchise.

upstateNY
upstateNY

All the people bitching about these improvements are retarded. This has me so pumped. I def. have had my share of frustrations with 12 but its the only sports game I can play because it's way more realistic than the rest. Yes it has its flaws but you cant expect perfection. These improvements really sound awesome.

bigruss51
bigruss51

So do you PES fanboys finally understand who is the soccer champ.

fedetaco
fedetaco

FIFA still the King!!!! They have no need of Messy or Ronaldo to sell a good product........I would say Fifa is the game that made the perfect transition from the ps2 or Xbox to the last console generation.....

95164
95164

I love the gameplay in FIFA it's much better than PES, I think they should add little details to the gameplay like kids handing the balls when they go out the field, all the sub players on the bench and warming up, better animation video when winning a Cup, on field coaches, more celebrations, improve Virtual Pro story mode, make every national team players have photorealistic faces, make crowds like 2010 FIFA World Cup, add like training mini games, etc etc... I mean these little details would make it a little more realistic :)

nickfitz_99
nickfitz_99

The tatical defending system was a brilliant idea.  Removed pressure whores.  All they need to do now is to tweak the ridiculous ability that allows players under 5'5 to have outrageous speed and the ability to shrug off defenders.

kuda001
kuda001

Any negative comments or bad things to talk about because this reads like a fluff piece to me. I disliked the tactical defending system, it drastically changes the dynamic between attack and defence making it easier dribble past defenders with relative ease. This unbalanced system makes it difficult and sometimes frustrating to play but the legacy system does need a little tweeking though.

suplax
suplax

Hahahah agree with you u2i_l0ver , this article reminds me when Gamespot elected Hitman Absolution as the best game of E3.

I guess Mark pockets just got a little heavier....

crocmachine
crocmachine

You know what would be awesome? The real UCL trophy, USC trophy, FIFA CWC trophy and the FIFA World Cup in this game.

 

Oh who am I kidding they're not gonna give us that satisfaction, but I trust Mark on his judgment here.

razorkaos
razorkaos

"And all of these things just happened. There was no complicated button scheme to remember, or settings to adjust."

 

so, the game still plays for itself and is aimed to casual players?

 

It would be great if Mark or anyone who played FIFA 13 could talk about manual controls. I play full manual only, and others who play full manual have the same problem: there's a bug, or glitch or something that overpower your lofted through balls, even when you fill just one power bar, the ball is knocked as a full power pass. And other problem is about first-touch passes, when you fills like 50% of the power bar and the ball runs for 1 meter... 

omgwtfmac
omgwtfmac

cant wait to get my hands onit and see for myself. im not a fan of the computer making mistakes as a human being would do. if i shoot on target i expect it to go on target. 

Microsteve
Microsteve

it still isn't as good as SWOS was

TimeFrame
TimeFrame

.. As a very old skool football gamer, I actually never cared too much for fifa because it automated too much stuff and became too realistic. It just seems to get worse (or better if that's what you think) every year..

 

Ah well, it's still reasonably fun to play I guess... ;/

RBwd
RBwd

i hate having to change the set up for my team for every ranked league game. why cant you set it like you can for the online friendlys. id be happy with just that change

 

immortalassasin
immortalassasin

the one thing they definatly need to improve are the ratings and the statistics of the players such as Ronaldo's,come on is messi really a faster player than ronaldo?, and his fk accuracy ratings seem low aswell but i'll admit this season he's not scored many of them still desirably the best free kick taker in the world hands down.

xerxesthegreat
xerxesthegreat

i hope they fix their servers..... that would be a releival.

 

this has been the worst fifa for servers and connection.

xerxesthegreat
xerxesthegreat

dont beleive any of it , until i see videos and gameplay.. they say the samething every year.

 

Chris_53
Chris_53

Im already hyped for this game, this sounds awesome, like all the things that sucked about Fifa 12 have been tweaked to make the game awesome 

u2i_l0ver
u2i_l0ver

I bet £10 that FIFA 14 will be 'the best damned FIFA yet' too.

danyjr
danyjr

Well, to be honest certain things sound very good. I'm glad they introduced error in passing and crossing. I hope they remove finesse shot abuse as well as overpowered frame-to-frame contain. It really is unhuman-like.

HardbodyDraper
HardbodyDraper

I am expecting great things here. If we can win the double, EA can make a game that moves this franchise in the right direction, which is essentially anything but stationary 

dovonob
dovonob

sounds good to me, after playing pro evo for the past 15 odd years till swapping over to fifa 12 i'm used to tiny tweaks being hailed as revolutionary :)Sort the AI though, i've never played a footy game where doing a season is pointless because the AI is so boring to play against, used to love doing a tournament with mates playing on the same side but my god its depressing on fifa 12, if i wanted to watch a team passing it around their back four for 90 minutes and then just winning with a header in the last minute i'd go watch stoke.It would also be nice if you could use any commentary name for your edited player.......my second name is donovan......i put myself in LA Galaxy where the commentator will quite happily say landon donovan's name but I can't choose that as a name.........hhhmm maybe it's because i used to work with David Rutter at another games studio and he was jealous of my football skills (unlikely), i reckon he personally made that name unavailable to pes (see what i did there) me off.  ****er

 

diablonn
diablonn

Notes to EA...

let me play for my country with my created player, like in fifa 10 and bring back the manager options for improving stadium facilities and such as well.

Fix the computer bug that lets them win every header

let my AI defenders actually defend

Puyol cannot catch up to rooney or walcott, it's just not possible

Fix the ' oh, now its time to score bug' , where reading somehow transforms to Barca and ships goals past your team.

Fix the stupid bug that lets the AI automatically know when your about to shoot.

killeroo
killeroo

so a £40 patch really?

 

phenomanomaly
phenomanomaly

While perfecting existing game-engines and adding new tweaks to the mechanics are a great way to inject new life into the game, I don't believe it's worth the additional £40. They could easily provide an upgrade to the game via  the beloved DLC, and take their time being more experimental in the kitchen.

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

All I'm after is the AI actually running-on or towards the ball when you pass it.  At the moment they stand like statues unless you physically do it yourself.  I'd also like the AI to stick their foot out when the ball goes straight past them.. sometimes they're off-screen when the ball is first hit and therefore you can't see them to do it yourself!

 

Little things like that need tweaking, anything else is just a bonus :)

bob_geldof221
bob_geldof221

ultimate team.........only thing i love fifa for

darshie76
darshie76

 @Shadow_Xboxer Not everyone likes to play manual or online...not everyone cares to play a simulation of something that you can actually do in real life :) Fifa and PES are cool as soccer games, to have fun, so one would expect that the AI is super by this time....has been how many years since the first one? 

 

Instead is more fun to dumb down the whole thing and say "play online, so we don't have to care too much about AI". I recognize that it is a good game but the AI is still at the level of a 10 year old soccer player in some cases.

R2C25
R2C25

 @kellerj18 You are right. And the career mode is a joke. I just play it because PES animation is so ridiculous that wouldn't allow me to immerse in the game.

MJS88
MJS88

 @marshalmathers2 I agree... I noticed that Ronaldinho in 12' is lifelike. The way he shoots. Using finesse shot with him does trigger his real life technique. All others seem quite generic though. Would be great to buy a top player and be able to take advantage of their real life technique.

razorkaos
razorkaos

 @nickfitz_99 they should fix the stamina too. people use high pressure for 90 minutes, exploiting the game's flaws knowing the ref don't call a single foul while you see your players being tackled like in a rugby game, and they don't get tired NEVER!

Mehrdadmaskull
Mehrdadmaskull

 @TimeFrame Same here...thinking about FIFA 2004 and FIFA 06, u didn't need to learn all the dribbling abilities to score, u'd use ur brain to create space for ur squad and lots of chances u had to score...but now it's got harder to controll the ball

waffles89
waffles89

 @TimeFrame it became too realistic most people would argue thats what the developers should be aiming for and that realism in football games is a good thing to have rather than still playing games like italia 94 where all you done was get the ball and punt it.

bambrek
bambrek

 @immortalassasin  c ronaldo is a lousy free kick taker. no skill, no technique, no curl and pretty low accuracy. just power... only bad and naive keepers let in ronaldo free kicks. for real free kicks i suggest seeing juninho p, mihajlovic, del piero, beckham, nakamura etc

upstateNY
upstateNY

 @u2i_l0ver of course dumbass...you think it would be worse ....if they have another year to improve it of course it will better...

Dan7aylor
Dan7aylor

 @u2i_l0ver well it would make sense as it would be the newest in the series you idiot.

razorkaos
razorkaos

 @danyjr well, the assisted passing is really overpowered and unrealistic, and it's the same for shots and crossing. playing with manual controls, the game feels less mechanical, and the success depends of your skills with the controls. yeah, i know, manual is not the answer for all the problems, but they solve many of these problems , especially when all the players looks "cyborg-like" and can't miss a pass... 

Kregenmmor
Kregenmmor

 @darshie76  @Shadow_Xboxer Agreed about the AI. The CPU controlled players rarely make the optimum runs, and it's infuriating when defenders stray from their marked men leaving them open on goal. As far as manual goes, I honestly don't consider assisted FIFA to be much of a game, and assisted players are severely limiting how much they're getting out of FIFA by ignoring it. If the developers pushed for more manual play (which I think they're doing gradually with first touch, tac. defending etc), the FIFA meta and online community could be huge.

u2i_l0ver
u2i_l0ver

 @Dan7aylor 

 

Yes, because newest automatically equates to 'best'. Don't call me an idiot, because you clearly are a mental midget.