It's nothing new, but FIFA 13's minor nuances make it much smoother than last year's outing.
Despite my unabashed love for series rival Pro Evolution Soccer, FIFA has long been the go-to game for football fans, especially since the current generation began. While Konami's series has been constantly trying to get it right with each iteration, EA Sports have created their established formula and run with it. This year, another football game is on the horizon. FIFA 13 is another solid effort that retains the fun, fluid gameplay expected from a FIFA game. With some new changes, such as a re-designed Career mode and a new first-touch physics system, FIFA 13 delivers again as a football game. However, the formula isn't profound, meaning this is "another" FIFA game, and nothing more.
FIFA 13's greatest strength is in the always-reliable presentation. Slick, direct menus and superb all-round production values create an unparalleled "broadcast"-like look that always pulls you into the pre-match coverage. The commentary is just as great as last around, this time implemented more dialogue, which sounds great and is varied. The visuals are as good as they were in FIFA 12 without any standout nuances, and the soundtrack is awesome. FIFA 13 delivers on the presentation front in every way.
FIFA 13 bases its core gameplay on the fluidity established in its last installment, FIFA 12. Here, passing and shooting feel good and scoring goals is a great feeling. There is a new feature that EA have brought to the table this time round, and its a First-touch system. Here, players can overtouch the ball and lose it to the opposition, or perfectly place weight on the ball and charge toward the goal. This system makes each match more realistic and natural, without it feeling predictable and artificial. The animations are improved too, making this an impressive-looking (and playing) experience.
Career mode has seen improvements, too, for better or worse. There are still a few predictable signings by repetitive teams in the main leagues, but the layout looks a lot more slicker. There are issues with this mode, though. The pacing of the mode is agonizing most of the time. It can take around 2 hours if you wanted to simulate the entire season, which is ridiculous. It is also annoying to receive constant international management offers from teams. I wish there was an option to turn this occurrence off, as it certainly mars the presentation. Menus can sometimes lag, too, and the game crashed on me more than once.
The physics are just as strong as they were in FIFA 12, but the first-touch system introduces some more natural movements. Players collide more often, some slip when being pulled back and many more immersive qualities to the technology. There is still that issue of players avoiding tackles, and continues to bring down the series' quality. As well, just like FIFA 12, it plays near identically. You won't find difficulty picking up the controller for this game.
Difficult also seems inconsistent. Whereas anything from Professional down is an easy challenge, higher difficulties are not. It's annoying because you can win the league by 15 points on professional with Tottenham, but on World class, you'd be lucky to win a game. It's the inconsistency that is most disappointing.
FIFA 13 contains all of the modes – Career, tournaments, Ultimate Team, online modes – that were present in its predecessor, and there is the welcomed introduction of Skill Games. These are arena challenges where you must do things such as chip the ball into bins, score points by smashing lights between cardboard boxes, dribbling through objects and cones and more. They are clever and are really well designed. It doesn't affect the game in the long run, but the skill required for some of these challenges is eye-opening. There are three skill tiers (Bronze, Silver, Gold), with a platinum medal awarded for completing the most demanding challenge. The EA Sports Football Club remains, letting you complete real-world fixtures for XP. Experience points work a little differently this time, too. You can now access a FIFA Store, where you can purchase classic team kits, balls, boots, celebrations and mode-specific luxuries. It's got a lot of replayability that many will enjoy for a long time.
Another new feature to FIFA 13 is Match Day. Here, you can play real-world fixtures with dynamic player ratings that change based on their real-life form, which is impressive. They may also play better or worse depending on their condition, which is cool. This can also be switched on or off at any time, so it isn't mandatory.
FIFA 13 is another great football game that is very similar to FIFA 12. The first-touch inclusion is class, and the game modes and skill challenges are welcome endeavours, as well as the cool Match Day feature, yet some issues hold it back from greatness. Despite that, FIFA 13 is still a solid football game that will give everyone a good time.
Overall – 8.5/10