Over the last few years, Electronic Arts (EA) has been introducing some truly game-changing features into its FIFA series. While they were ambitious, they weren’t quite implemented as well as they could have been. FIFA 13 doesn’t include too many major additions, but the changes it has made makes
it the best-playing FIFA game in years.
Screenshot of a work in progress 'FIFA 13'. Photo: AFP
Thanks to the new ‘Matchday’ feature, FIFA does more to bring the game closer to the real thing. You have the option to play through your chosen club’s current and future real-life fixtures, and have form changes and injuries being reflected within the game. Also included is an in-match presentation, where commentators talk about real-life player form and league positions.
On the gameplay front, most changes are subtle and serve to fine-tune existing mechanics. Lobbed passes are effective; off-the-ball runs more dynamic and headers on goal more difficult. The finesse shot has been nerfed (softened); and tactical defending is more forgiving. The one noticeable change in FIFA 13’s gameplay is in first touch. Sprinting while making or receiving a pass now almost results in a heavy and unfavourable touch, and the same applies to shots on goal. Initially, this seemed a bit restrictive, but the correct use of the close control buttons actually opens avenues of gameplay.
To help out newcomers, there are the brilliant new skill games. These well-designed mini games are a great way to come to grips with the game’s controls and nuances.
These aside, there aren’t too many drastic changes. The ‘Career’ feature has been done away with. To compensate, you now have the option to start a career as a player and turn manager on retirement.
There’s tons to do offline, but you’d only be scratching the surface if you didn’t take your game online. Both regular and head-to-head seasons return, as do ‘Clubs’.
With detailed stat-tracking, an autolog-like system tracking your friends’ activities, and near-instant match-making, FIFA 13 is as seamless an online experience as you’ll find.
Much like its arch rival PES 2013, FIFA 13 has upped its game by doing the little things right. Sure, there isn’t anything drastic, but there is a balance to FIFA 13 that has been missing since FIFA 09. It is an absolute must-buy.
(The writer is an editor at IndianVideoGamer.com)