Like a pushy parent, FIFA 13 urges and goads you into wanting to win. However, unlike previous FIFA entries, the players you control do not possess any super-human abilities when it comes to running onto passes or bringing a ball down into play. Here, EA introduces a system called first-touch controls, and if you don’t use the new system, you’re more than likely going to fumble as you run onto a through pass and lose possession.
Being somewhat familiar with the players you’re controlling helps a great deal; for example, if a player doesn’t have strong technical abilities, there’s much less chance of him taking a great first touch on the ball compared to a more technically ‘talented’ player. This makes you think about what you’re doing before you decide you want a realistically mediocre player attempting something that, in truth, wouldn’t be possible. Whereas a more ‘creative’ player may be able to pull it off.
This is where FIFA 13 will lose the more casual gamer, as it makes it far less accessible when it comes to friends who may only like the odd game over a few drinks; but, it does add realistic depth to the title. When you’re on a stunning run, connecting to passes smoothly; then, at the last moment, you take a heavy touch when attempting to shoot; you moan, you complain—but you get over it.
These things happen all the time in real soccer (or, football as we Europeans call it) and it makes the whole experience far more realistic. If you play, ultimately, you will learn to improve with first-touch controls, making things slightly easier. But only just.
Support during attack has been improved, with AI teammates actually making intelligent runs, calling out for a pass, and trying their hardest to keep the ball in play, but mostly, it helps you score goals that you maybe couldn’t in the previous entries for lack of clever AI. The Player Impact Engine from last year’s FIFA has been tidied up and now actually makes certain players give off more of a brawn and weightier physicality than others, but, this also comes down to the fact that the ball now doesn’t feel like it’s stuck to the player’s feet.
Graphically, the title is okay, but only just better than FIFA 12. Character models do benefit from the additional contextual animations, making them far more believable, but the beauty is in how FIFA 13 gives the player a far deeper and purer soccer experience if you choose to give it a chance.
The modes on offer here are pretty varied, with the return of Career, Pro Club Seasons, the online mode EA Sports Football Club, and Ultimate Team (the virtual card-based twist on fantasy drafts), along with Seasons, where you and a friend can now team up in an attempt to ascend to Division 1. One of the new modes is Skill Games, and whilst these are basically mini-games, they do offer a nice diversion from traditional gameplay, plus, as expected, help you improve your skill; allowing you to better your passing, shooting, penalty kick, and free kick skills.
Those looking for a quick kick-about will no doubt be put off by the accessibility of the game, but for those looking for more than that and who appreciate the dynamics EA have poured into it, then FIFA 13 is for you.
FIFA 13 is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB. This game can also be found on: PC, PS Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360 and Mobile Phone.