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Review

FIFA Soccer 13 Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed: September 27, 2012
  • PS3

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 throwaway Move implementation that lets you aim passes passes and paint runs for teammates using the Move Controller--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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Discussion

2 comments
archueque
archueque

This is the worst game I've played, there is a disadvantage in terms of the team, not based on the player's ability, but on the team you choosed.

WillyWynn
WillyWynn

Fifa is better then PES since fifa 10, pes players get over it! Pes was the king of soccer games from pes 2 until pes 6, when the game change to third generation konami fail hard! Because both fifa and pes 2007, 2008, 2009 are really awful, New pes games until this version 2013 are slow, few licences, awful commentary, few mods, loads of bugs and glitches the game is always update like 3 4 times or more to resolve that,  all player look the same running, players feel like robots, the game have only 8 ways to run unlike fifa, the defenses from the teams still stupid, suffer goals always in the same ways, or stay like robots and don't move, or you have like 5 players vs 1 and that one scores goals because the other 5 are really stupid and dont go try to take the ball lol or even worst! They copy the mods and the tricks from fifa and even that fail! pes 2010 2011 2012 and 2013 are a bit better then the 3 versions before them, but fifa still better then pes! Playstion 2 pes still better and more fun to play and that kinda impressive lol! I have some friends they still play the playstation 2 versions and don't buy the new ones because they are awful lol!  And I agreed with that, i prefer to play downgrade version from pes because still awesome. Konami dont understand graphics is not everything, if the game dont change anything and have even more problems! That what EA after 10 versions from FIFA understand that! They make FIFA 10 a awesome game! FIFA 11 even better, FIFA 12 even more better, and FIFA 13 is like DLC from Fifa 12. But even FIFA 13 is away better then pes anyway... 

megaspiderweb09
megaspiderweb09

The Career mode keeps freezing, which ruined my experience of the game, i traded it in for another game

rez_1kabir
rez_1kabir

I have been playing the game in Career mode continuously over the last two weeks...maybe its just me, but I've found that the scoring has become a little easier while the defending has become more uncompromising (defending in FIFA 12 was better)...

 

However since you can customize almost all aspects of the AI to uniquely suit your style of play (irrespective of the actual game level)...you can, if you are a little patient on customizing the settings, make a game that you can personally enjoy... ... ...but then when you play with friends it can be a little tiresome to reset the settings...

 

Overall a decent game...but nothing substantially new...(maybe going with Pro Evo might have been better...but I don't want to spark that old debate here)

 

Cheers...and continue on having the same fun!

sgmullins
sgmullins

Wow some major fifa fanboys in here. I reckon an 8 is pretty much spot on. I mean it's the same game as last year and the two years before it. The guy who mentioned getting a 7 3 result on pes on default settings, well give yourself a a round of applause.

You must be a fifa fully assisted player eh ?, get pes 2013 on everything manual and see how many goals you score. My 4 year old would get similar scores on assisted settings.

The fact is fifa 13 does not bring anything new to the table, no matter how hard you try to convince yourselves otherwise, after a couple of weeks playing , it's deja vu again.

 

It's typical easports, now pes 2013 is a whole different animal, you need to put in the time to learn it's magic and once it clicks , your hooked.

 

Pes 2012 was great, i was still seeing new stuff nearly a year after it's release,

MarceloRamalho
MarceloRamalho

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

ayaankhan99
ayaankhan99

hey...8 is not a fair rating 4 fifa 13,if u can give fifa 12 a 9 then y not fifa 13.i hav the game and it is amazing.it allows us to attack with freedom and the gama works so well..........fifa 13 is much better than a 8.

 

sekon51
sekon51

Rubbish review and wrong imo on so many points . At least a 9.....at least.............oh whos got any ideas on best online formation for man u

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

I think the crowds in stadiums in all soccer games always look pathetic and flat and the same. I am much more impressed with PES 2013 is much better than this Fifa this time round

alien33
alien33

How come that PS3 section has 12 comments and XBOX 360 has 200+ comments?

coold_steam
coold_steam

this game is amazing, i like the defence sytem, player movment and scoring style. i have to dissagree with the review as scoring in this game is not easy. i have played several games and the highest score for me was 3-1. this is in world class mode.

TheKeef
TheKeef

Saying PES is harder to score on is an outright mistake. First game I played on default settings in master league was 7-3.

Please, just because you are new to the control scheme and can't score in PES2013 don't base another game's score on that. That's just apples and oranges.

imranbecks
imranbecks

8.0? This game deserves a better score. This game is at least a 9.0 for me.

gurkagunner
gurkagunner

Your entitled to your opinion Mark Walton because thats what a review is but I have to disagree with a few points.

 

The fact that you say not much has changed its pretty hard to live up to the defensive system change which I feel you are directly comparing it to, that along with the impact engine were the two biggest changes to FIFA since the new engine in 2010.

 

Fundamentally the gameplay is much better as a result of the changes, defending is sharp and they are much smarter and organised, the AI also plays a lot more like the actual teams do, for example I played QPR they sent a million long balls into the box I played Swansea and they passed it around and kept possession the whole game, I definately didn't think I would see this in 13.

 

There are many other little tweaks that make the game so much better then the previous edition in gameplay alone but I will move on to your other comment.

 

Goals are easy to score & it feels cheap is the general feeling I gathered, are you serious? the shot system has been tweaked to make it more realistic, I know for a fact that in some other reviews the euro one for example was on semi pro or professional where goals are quite easy to score, world class and legendary are the real tests where it can be quite tough to score.

ovoke
ovoke

Booooooo!!!!! Seriously?8.0 and pes 2013 gets same score?I rarely go against gamespot's review but this time around I think I definitely will,FIFA has better presentation smooth game play and loads of modes to dig in to you said so yourself,now if you have a problem slowing down attackers stick to the lowest difficulty or better yet play PES where the competition is as easy as taking a candy from a baby. For me 9.5

Nuno50Nuno
Nuno50Nuno

"Same as last year" lol,  what differences where you expecting? its funny because the call of duty games don't have that emblem.

 

- "Not a vast improvement over last year's game" , well if you follow the fifa series you would know this year its more about refinement not Big Improvements.

     -fifa 08 - improvements

    - fifa 09 - refinements

    - fifa 10 - improvements

    ... you get the point 

 

-"Automated feel can make scoring goals too easy." - just go to the menu and turn the manual controls ON

Venom_Raptor
Venom_Raptor

How can this score an 8/10 when both FIFA 11 and FIFA 12 are 9/10? Surely this should be getting exactly the same score...

dnguyen3
dnguyen3

 @MarceloRamalho I agree with you, but from other comments for other games I read, they would be hating on you like crazy. 

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

 @imranbecks Really..despite the minor difference compared to the last game.. 8.0 is and has been justified for this score perfectly. 

darksonic140
darksonic140

 @Venom_Raptor Simple, When FIFA 12 was out it was more different than FIFA 11 (Like Impact engine, gameplay etc.). FIFA 13 looks just like FIFA 12 but with new menu/gui, celebrations and skill games. FIFA 12 was even in National Geoghrapic!

glez13
glez13

 @Venom_Raptor 

I can only suppose they are doing this with the premise that since this is a yearly release game you are expected to buy it every year, and  it doesn't offer so much value if you bought last years game.

Venom_Raptor
Venom_Raptor

 @glez13 But if the quality is still the same as last year, it shouldn't suffer a drop to 8 purely because there aren't many improvements.

TheVMF
TheVMF

Metacritic scores are an average based upon a number of critics opinions. Gamespots scores are based only on Gamespots opinion. By that very nature they are never going to agree.

 

thorn3000
thorn3000

 @TheVMF  @Venom_Raptor lol, did you write the exactly same comment with Sonic in the Xbox discussion as well? cos' somebody did...anyway, it's not a valid argument, you are right games are scored depending on the time came out, but they should also be score comparatively to games released at that tim, and well, look at metacritics 90/100 fifa 13 aggregation, so fifa 13 should be a 9, not an 8.....you can't except a sports games released every year to have the vast changes every time, if it would be so, no mechanics would never ever be refined, what they did in 13 was to refine 12...this is the expected process, if they went beyond and made it superb it should have gotten a 9.5, they have not, they sticked to the process, but they have sticked to it very very good, as the reviewer noted....the minus side its that it is another year and its becoming overly familiar, the plus side are all the improvements he lists, to me that equals out one another and the game should have gotten a 9.......

NOTE: I am speaking purely statistical and basing on reviews and comments read, on GS, on other sides, on Fifa 12 and 13, I have not actually played the games, I hate football, I just like speaking statistics and wordplay....

TheVMF
TheVMF

 @Venom_Raptor  

 

Games are scored on their relative merits at the time of release. Which is why if Sonic were released today it would not get the 10/10s it received in 1991.

 

 

FIFA Soccer 13 More Info

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  • First Released
    • 3DS
    • iPhone/iPod
    • + 8 more
    • PC
    • PlayStation Vita
    • PS2
    • PS3
    • PSP
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    • Wii U
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    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
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    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.
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