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Review

FIFA Soccer 13 Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed: September 27, 2012
  • X360

FIFA Soccer 13 isn't all that different from last year's outing, but it still remains the most in-depth, entertaining, and compelling football game out there.

'

From the moment you first set foot in one of FIFA Soccer 13's beautifully detailed stadiums, it's clear that EA's latest football outing isn't the revelation that its predecessor was. Sure, it's still feature-packed and entertaining, but where FIFA Soccer 12 revolutionised and updated the classic FIFA formula in some wonderfully inventive ways, FIFA 13 merely maintains it. Its long list of improvements--enhanced physics, AI, player physicality, a better defending system, a tweaked Ultimate Team mode, and a new Skill Games mode--are welcome and well-implemented changes. But on the pitch, it's hard to tell that you're playing a dramatically different or better game than FIFA 12.

Indeed, some of FIFA 13's new marquee features are mere tweaks of those introduced in FIFA 12, one of which is the infamous player impact engine. It has been overhauled in an attempt to reduce those odd, fumbling, and sometimes-hilarious collisions that players made as they bounced over each other on the pitch like rag dolls. But while there's certainly a noticeable improvement in the physics system, with far less slipups, it's not infallible; there's still the odd glitch here and there as players do inhuman backflips over others and flop along the pitch like weird anthropomorphic fish.

Better are the changes to the dribbling system, which have been inspired by the work done on FIFA Street. Now you can swirl the ball around a player's feet using the analogue stick, teasing defenders with cheeky dummies, stops, and skilful flicks. Pulling off such manoeuvres is so very satisfying, and this system works great with another tweak that means players no longer have to face the direction in which you want them to dribble. This makes play look and feel much more natural, letting you actively shield the ball or ensure that you're always facing the goal when zipping around defenders for the perfect strike.

Getting a first touch on the ball also has an added air of realism, thanks to a new system that attempts to stop the uncannily skilful control that players had when receiving a ball. Now factors such as the height of the pass, its speed, and the statistics of the players themselves are taken into account when players receive the ball. Without the guarantee of player control, you're forced to rethink passes and strategies in order to keep possession. A fast long ball into free space might seem like the best option, but when there's a strong chance the ball could pop up, be a miss-hit, or simply run away from a player, it's suddenly far less attractive.

The on-pitch action is some of the smoothest and most enjoyable the FIFA series has created; the AI makes better, more intelligent runs, and the tactical defending system now takes into account player size, meaning larger players can strong-arm the ball from weaker ones, or fight off defenders better. It all makes containing, jockeying, and whipping a leg out for a tackle feel much more fluid than before. Silky manoeuvres and swift runs down the pitch are much more realistic, while goals look spectacular, thanks to some great visuals and highly stylised replays that replicate the magic of watching a match on TV.

FIFA 13's smoothness comes at a price, though: it's difficult to shake the feeling that you're not always directly in control of the action. Players race across the pitch like a finely tuned machine, creating spectacular-looking goals that sail into the back of the net with ease--too much ease. It's still all too easy to make quick runs down the centre of the pitch past reams of defenders, or score from a devastating volley off a set piece. Yes, this smoothness results in some great-looking plays. But it stands in stark contrast to the gameplay in this year's much improved Pro Evolution Soccer 2013, which makes you work harder to put one in the back of the net, and satisfyingly so.

When it comes to the action off the pitch, FIFA 13 sticks to what it knows, improving on existing game modes. The majorly addictive Ultimate Team mode--FIFA's mix of role-playing-game-like card trading, Top Trumps, and football management--has seen numerous tweaks that make it even more compelling than before. In addition to the usual trading and swapping of cards, there are new seasons to compete in and devilish manager tasks to complete, all of which unlock new items for your team, as well as give you access to bigger and better players.

Modes like Head to Head Seasons, Online Friendlies, Virtual Pro, and Manager all return largely untouched. There are some additions, though, including presentational tweaks that make menus easier to navigate, the ability to get international jobs in Manager mode, and a refined transfer system that's more competitive and gives you much more freedom to sign new players. The biggest and best change is the inclusion of up-to-date real-world statistics for teams, which are updated weekly, and can be taken into account before the start of each match. Wins and losses in the real world are displayed, along with increased or decreased attack, midfield, and defensive stats, depending on the team's performance and injuries. Even the commentary is tweaked to coincide with any changes--albeit with generic phrases--highlighting injuries and your team's recent performance.

Tying the whole thing together is EA Sports Football Club, which keeps track of any experience points earned and ties them to a real-world team of your choosing. It's exciting to see your favourite team rise up the online leaderboards thanks to your efforts and those of fellow fans, and there are numerous challenges based on real-world events for you to complete, which also help boost your team's standing. This year's addition to Football Club comes in the form of a shop, where you can use money earned from playing the game to purchase vanity items like new boots, kits, and goal celebrations. As with most vanity items, their value isn't immediately apparent. But when you take your team to compete online, those little things that make them stand out from the crowd suddenly become a big deal.

Even more of a big deal are the new skill games, which replace the old keeper-vs.-player loading screens of the past, and are accessible via the practice hub too. You're now treated to bite-sized challenges, such as having to score as many goals as possible in two minutes in various scenarios and places on the pitch, or kick a lob pass into a certain zone. These quick challenges are lots of fun and help to teach you some of the fundamentals of the game. They get very tricky too, which makes them addictive, and you may find yourself spending more time completing the challenges than playing on the pitch.

While the skill games are an excellent addition--barring some flaky Kinect implementation that lets you change your tactics with voice commands--they're also the only major one. FIFA 13 is mostly a collection of subtle tweaks and ideas that, while an improvement, aren't all that essential, particularly for casual players. And there's no getting away from the fact that PES has made serious strides in its gameplay this year, offering up a very credible alternative to EA's footballing juggernaut. But until PES can get the rest of its act together, FIFA Soccer 13 remains the best football game on the market--beautifully presented, in-depth, and a hell of a lot of fun.

'
The Good
Impressive player AI
New skill games are devilishly addictive
Slick presentation
Loads of modes to dig into
The Bad
Not a vast improvement over last year's game
Automated feel can make scoring goals too easy
8
Great
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0 comments
NnethKe
NnethKe

for PC it sucks i can't configure my keyboard the way I'm use to in FIFA12.

chocomatrix
chocomatrix

Not having the camp nou is a big fail. What I really hate of this game is that they improve the physics and all that crap. But what about the enviroment? that is the key for this games success. I mean, the crowd is the same from fifa 10 if not earlier cause i didnt play earlier fifas, the stadiums are always full, the crowd doesnt respond properly. They did a great job chaning el perro bermudez, that guy really wanted to make me hear the game in english always, now with Fernando Palomo I feel i am watching Fox Sports. I really think they should put more up to the crowd and stadium ambience.

bpool
bpool

Great review Mark. I think this is the most overrated sports game out there. Its fun but only for so long. UT is a rip off!

stylechyld
stylechyld

gamespot given this shit game 8.0..is complete nonsense.. the whole reason  to play this game is take it online..no one play against the computer...and if you only do..that's because you suck and afraid to go online.

N-bellic
N-bellic

is anyone else having serious glitches with this game?

soo disappointed:( my manager mode is corrupted and i have to start agian:(

king-geoffrey
king-geoffrey

Such a bad review. I have been playing football games for about 12 years. Went from Fifa to Pes, back to Fifa. And i have to say that this is the most perfect football game ever.

The physics are incredibly realistic, all complaints about the pace in 2012 is gone.

This game is as close as it gets. Real football fans will recognize it .

It has various modes, like ultimate team and be a pro wich are more extensive ever.

The only point where they could improve would be the graphics. Wich did not improve much.

xrald
xrald

Hater PES fans gonna h"8"... lol

nyran125
nyran125

2K get into football games please. Neither FIFA or Pro Evo is realistic as it can be yet. Both are still just games.

 

 If i played a 90 minute game of FIFA or PRO Evo no way would i get a realistic score. (regardless if you think that would be boring or not) it would be something stupid like 10-8 or 15-22, i should be FIGHTING for 1 goal for 45 minutes. Like a game of Starcraft with its strategy on the field that lasts 45 minutes. that has yet to happen in football games, accept Football manager on PC.

 

EA will never make it truly realistic,they never do. So we need another company to start bending the rules of how we see a football game as a complete strategy game...

 

2K Sports ever thought of football?

bpool
bpool

Good game, I agree with the rating. Ultimate team is a speed fest which is so sad. Their is so much potential. I think for online all controls should be set to semi. This would slow the game down a lot and make the overall experience better.

buffaloblitz85
buffaloblitz85

The Bad- Not a vast improvement over last years game? Ahh what about COD of which gamespot gives a 9ish year in and out when nothing changes. Not to mention a sports game you are quite limited to changing an awful lot.  Give me a break just make sure when BLOPS comes out you give it an 8 or less then for not being a 'vast improvement' LOL what a joke.

cliche99
cliche99

Not to drag up the debate but it isn't entirely fair to criticize the "automated feel" when you have the ability to set the controls to manual.   

Zonno
Zonno

Fifa started with a good formula, but since this game has to be released annually for some reason, there's little room for innovation, which is a shame. Sure it's a good game, but how much better is it than the game I bought one year ago?

 

A new standard in game quality would be interesting.

mimsoo
mimsoo

Meh.. i'll continue play Fifa 99 and 07 for now.

WarpedCore
WarpedCore

So I should continue to play Fifa 11. . . . . I never got 12 because I didn't like it. I still play 11 continuously.

dsd27
dsd27

fifa 13 has some similar gameplay problems of pes 12

PseudoElite
PseudoElite

Thank you for the honest review

 

I love football/soccer in general and have been a big fan of the FIFA series but I'll wait until it's on sale before i get FIFA 13.

MarceloRamalho
MarceloRamalho

Great review, for these reasons the gamespot reviews are the best and most reliables, congratulations for the impartiality.

RussellGorall
RussellGorall

Glad to see someone still has some journalistic integrity. I noted on Metacritic there is a huge blitz on this game. The AAA franchise every year that remains the same every year then doesn't get downgraded for it. 

 

You just got a brownie point, Gamespot.

alenth
alenth

One of the reasons i bought was because of the new spanish commentators for latin america :P

lionheartssj1
lionheartssj1

Can it be the most compelling when it's the only one?

lowerpass
lowerpass

Gamespot has lost some credibility due to the reviewers ignorance. I am sorry but how in the world can you give pes 13 and fifa 13 the same score. This is pathetic.

I think mark should go back to mobile games and let the Real reviewers deal with the AAA titles.

Count_Hesley
Count_Hesley

Obligatory FIFA sux PES rules! Gameplay is king.

FalconerX
FalconerX

This review is pretty poor to be honest. And seems nothing more then wanting to get website hits.

Gamespot know Fifa is one of the biggest selling games on the planet and giving it a poor review when everyone else has praised it will make people visit the site.

 

The review itself seems odd as if it was written by someone who doesn't watch football or more importantly doesn't watch football outside of the US.

 

You complain about the speed of the game when its actually the same as last year. The game id modelled on the English Premier League which is probably the best league in the world. It is played at a fast pace. You can't compare it with MLS....

 

It annoys me when reviewers slate games for being more of the same. Where you expecting to play a fighting game when you picked up your football game copy?

Sports games are about refinement and adding in little features to make the game improve. The first touch system changes the game totally.

Fifa 13 is the best football gamer ever made as it is better then fifa 12 which was at the time the best football game ever made.

 

As I said review is designed to annoy people and generate hits. Which is sad.

Eurogamer are the best website for reviews and this one shows just how bad Gamespot has become with theirs.

Victorious_Fize
Victorious_Fize

The rage... THE RAGE... THE RAAAAAAAAAAAAGE

 

This review is fraud. Hai Gelugon.

azurik15
azurik15

Ahhh football;most important thing of the world....

Xero1246
Xero1246

 @nyran125 oh my word....this is a brilliant suggestion if 2k gets into football that would be amazing

nyran125
nyran125

come on man..Pro Evo owned FIFA, you cant deny that, right up to Pro Evo 2008.

alien33
alien33

 @mimsoo Fifa 99?? LOL! I believe I still have it here somewhere...

RussellGorall
RussellGorall

 @Telekenesis123 Sounds like just about every EA franchise out there. I tried the Madden 13 demo and it is the same exact thing as last year, even with a new game engine and commentators. 

AudioSoldier
AudioSoldier

 @FalconerX Well Mark Walton is British so your comment about watching outside the US is wrong. He's right, as far as I'm concerned. It's not a major overhaul, but it's still an excellent game. 

cOldBloOd_
cOldBloOd_

 @FalconerX First of all, Premier League is not the best league in the world. It is probably the toughest, but not the best. Regarding the review, if you can't see a lot of improvement from Fifa12, then the game hasn't changed that much, and that was what I read in this review, it didn't strike me as an attempt to get visits. But hey, it's just an opinion...

FalconerX
FalconerX

 @cOldBloOd_

 The Premier league is the best league in the world as it is voted the top league by coefficient. Add to that it has the current European Champions who beat all the spanish teams.

I am curious to know which league you consider the best though? And did that league roll down to the final day of the final minute to be decided or was it just about two teams and was sorted months before the league ended?

xXMMMMXx
xXMMMMXx

 @Victorious_FizeBrB i love PES but this last 2 years FIFA is much better.I only want a giid game and this moment compare FIFA whith PES is the same compare Sega Rally Whith Colin or WRC

dsd27
dsd27

 @uk_friday yes, that is also true, but the gameplay was the best thet ever existed.

saadomar90
saadomar90

@FalconerX @cOldBloOd_ Soooo...how did the premier league teams do in the champions league this year? All of them got knocked out by the round of 8. Shut up with the "premier leagues is better" crap already. German and Spanish teams are way more entertaining to watch these days. 

cOldBloOd_
cOldBloOd_

 @FalconerX You're kidding right? You think because Chelsea won the Champions they're a good team? Chelsea was handled by At. Madrid in the Supercup like amateurs, and At.Madrid was 5th last season in the spanish league... Just because the Premier was decided in the last game doesn't mean it is the best league, it just means there was a smaller difference between the first and the 3rd or 4th contender, because the difference in points between the 3rd in Premier and La Liga was 3 or 4 points, and the same happened till the 6th or 7th team... You should really check your statistics...

FIFA Soccer 13 More Info

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  • First Released
    • 3DS
    • iPhone/iPod
    • + 8 more
    • PC
    • PlayStation Vita
    • PS2
    • PS3
    • PSP
    • Wii
    • Wii U
    • Xbox 360
    FIFA 13 is the 2012 release of EA's soccer game franchise and is driven by five innovations involving artificial intelligence, dribbling, ball control and physical play.
    7.7
    Average User RatingOut of 1173 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate FIFA Soccer 13
    Developed by:
    Electronic Arts
    Published by:
    EA Sports, Electronic Arts
    Genres:
    Sports, Soccer, Simulation, Team-Based
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    Everyone
    All Platforms
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