One of the key elements of the FIFA series has always been iterative improvements. Taking the core gameplay elements and making tweaks to them – but always with realism in mind.
FIFA Soccer 13 is no different this year: but the series may be in need of something new and fresh in the coming years to keep an upgrade relevant.
Prior to this current installment, fine tuning your skills wasn’t really a necessity. You would get to a point in FIFA where the controls had enough of a crutch that being perfect in passes and pitches wasn’t required. If the ball made it from point A to point B you were in the clear. The receiver would always end up having perfect control. Some found this to be a much more accessible approach to the game of soccer but it was never realistic.
FIFA Soccer 13 introduces a feature called First Touch Control which makes every part of on the field play a much more methodical, thought provoking experience. Dozens of factors now come into play when a player first touches the ball. Perfecting this new feature will not be easy but the payoff makes it more than worth it.
While First Touch Control is a welcome addition to the series, it will definitely be the most controversial. Hardcore FIFA players may find it frustrating to have to relearn the game from the ground up.
With so many factors that can come into play it can definitely start out as a challenging change. But if you sit down, jump head first into the rabbit hole, and take advantage of the Skill Games, you will widen the skill gap between you and other players more than ever before.
Given the addition of First Touch Control and Complete Dribbling – which allows you to have complete control of your dribbling while maintaining your facing angle – there has never been more of a need to give gamers the opportunity to fine tune their skills. With 32 mini-games in Skill Games mode you will be able to improve your play while having some fun at the same time.
I cannot stress enough how important this mode is to the series. The learning curve in FIFA games has always been high and the lack of such a mode in the past made it tough for newcomers. Skill Games is not only challenging and rewarding but will undoubtedly be the root cause of your soon to be FIFA addiction.
The last improvement to the core gameplay is the improved AI. In years past it was a bit difficult to get a play together between yourself and an AI controlled teammate. The positioning of other players as well as their movement rarely resulted in fluid movement and offensive attacking. Thankfully this is a thing of the past as players do a much better job of opening up the field and providing opportunities to make plays. Moving the ball down the field is a lot less frustrating which is an absolute pleasure given that my mind is often off in ten different directions making sure my control is perfect.
As if FIFA wasn’t addicting enough, the changes made to EA Sports Football Club will surely keep you playing. In FIFA Soccer 12, the addition of EA Sports Football Club rewarded experience points for everything you did in the game. These experience points then allowed you to level up and compare yourself to your friends.
This year you will also be rewarded with currency as you play which will allow you to buy items such as kits, player boosts, and goal celebrations. Seeing a long list of all the items in the shop and the level required to purchase them will undoubtedly be another carrot on a stick to keep you playing.
While all of these features are great, the most disappointing part of FIFA Soccer 13 is the fact that game modes only saw minor improvements that fail to set them apart from last year’s installment. Career mode has seen additions with improved player transfers and negotiations as well as the inclusion of internationals but I honestly don’t feel that it is enough.
Ultimate Team still remains as addicting as ever and has seen some welcome user interface changes as well as an interactive walkthrough which does a great job of transitioning newcomers into the mode. Despite this though, there is no denying that FIFA Soccer 13 is chock-full of content and has dozens of hours of gameplay at your disposal.
In the end, FIFA Soccer 13 does a fantastic job of iterating on the core gameplay mechanics and providing a fun, realistic experience. First Touch Control and Complete Dribbling have completely shaken up the controls and will require a lot of getting used to, but once perfected the payoff is unparalleled. If on the field play isn’t as important to you as new and drastically improved game modes, you may find yourself disappointed. Everyone else, do yourself a favor and pickup FIFA Soccer 13.
This review is based on a physical copy of FIFA Soccer 13 for the PlayStation 3.