Most people will agree with me that FIFA 13 has positioned itself as not just the best football game on the market, but the whole of the sports game genre. The past few versions of the game, especially last year’s, have included groundbreaking features and improvements like Tactical Defending and the infamous Player Impact Engine. While FIFA 13 doesn’t have the major game changers like last year, there are still small changes here that show why FIFA is currently the best in the business.
Several of the new features this year improve the way the game is played on the field. These new features are the First Touch Control, Complete Dribbling and improved AI when a team is on the attack.
The First Touch Control is probably the feature that affects the game the most. Basically, what this feature does is simulate realistically how a player receives the ball, or their first touch. So rather than the ball automatically sticking to the feet of the player, whether it be a good or bad pass, or one with a heavy touch, the First Touch Control feature will factor in the speed, the pressure the player is under and the how and where the ball is passed, so you’ll see the player’s skill levels come into effect. Good players will be able to control the pass and ball better, than a player with lower skill sets who’ll have the ball bounce off their legs and lose all momentum of the attack. The first touch is an important aspect of football, as it dictates the flow of an attacking movement, and FIFA captures the importance well.
Another area of improvement is the aforementioned AI when on the attack. You’ll notice that players will play smarter, as they make runs into boxes or position themselves for better attacking raids. You’ll notice that players will gesture frantically for the ball as they get themselves into position.
The Complete Dribbling feature complements the attack, as now you’ll have greater control over the ball. You’ll be able to hold the ball up, and keep defenders at bay before you choose to burst past them. With this new dribbling feature, as the attacking team you now have the control over the speed and flow of the match. Combine the improved attacking intelligence with the Complete Dribbling feature, where you have far greater control over the ball than before, you’ll be able to create some fluid and fast-paced attacking raids that won’t look out of place on an actual playing field.
I previously mentioned the Player Impact Engine from FIFA 12. In FIFA 13, Player Impact Engine version 2 is unveiled. I was a fan of the idea of the original Player Impact Engine; using physics to replicate the play of real matches is a fantastic idea. It was unfortunate that it wasn’t quite up to scratch and resulted in some unpredictable results as many of you probably experienced or saw on YouTube. Version number 2 fixes up a lot of the issues, and physical battles between defenders and attackers enhances the gameplay, and also leads to more fouls. Playing the Career mode, I got fouled more in one game than during my whole playing time in FIFA 12.
The Career mode stays relatively the same as last year, with the exception of small changes like the player accomplishments being more accessible than before, and not being restricted to difficulty levels. There are also changes to transfers and how they are negotiated, as well as having the option to ask for a loan out to another club if you’re playing as a player. The biggest feature is the return of the option to play or manage your country. It was a personal favourite feature of mine until it was removed a few FIFAs ago, so I’m glad that it’s back -- nothing better than wearing your national colours.
The most fun new feature has to go to the new Skill Games, these fun little games will have you trying to master skills such as free kicks and dribbling via a series of mini games like kicking the ball into a bucket. These games replace the loading practice arena from the previous games. You can also continue to play and master these skills outside of the loading screens, as it has its own mode. The beauty is that you can earn XP which can then be used to purchase items such as goal celebrations, attributes and shoes in the new EAS Football Club store.
FIFA 13 does its job as an exciting and fun-to-play sports title, and keeps the momentum of the FIFA franchise moving forward.