FIFA Soccer 13 Review

FIFA Soccer 13

Perfection is a funny thing. For a sports franchise, flawlessness is a fool’s errand. While each annual iteration attempts to mend the blemishes of its predecessor, new features often usher in a collection of unforeseen faults. Given that any new elements are assessed by tens of testers before becoming securitized by a plethora of annual purchasers, deficiencies become an inevitability. Ironically, imperfection is also one of the best elements of FIFA Soccer 13; it’s just one invigorating inclusion which helps push this year’s title into the pantheon of prodigious footie sims.

Typically, predictability is the scourge of any sports game. Whether it’s the discovery of a weakness in goaltender AI, or through pre-canned tackling animations that lead to the same outcome, certainty leads to tedium.  Cleverly, FIFA 13’s First Touch Control is much more than a mere marketing addition, incorporating a pleasing dose of organic variability into the passing game. Most soccer titles exhibit an unmistakable sense of magnetism, allowing athletes to effortlessly take control of slipshod transfers. This season, FIFA calculates elements such as defensive pressure, player position and ability, as well as ball trajectory, speed, and spin, making mid and long passes delightfully tense. Not only does First Touch closely simulate the challenge of a skillful trap, but it also opens up the possibility for changes in possession, increasing the fervency of every match. The sole drawback is that crosses- a habitually thorny scoring prospect in past years, become even more demanding with FIFA 13.

FIFA Soccer 13

Last season’s inclusion of the Player Impact Engine brought flexibility to physical play, although sporadic contact would result in a pile of errantly tripped up teammates or a muddle of impossibly contorted bodies outside the goalmouth. This year, the component still articulates the physicality of the sport with the title now having a better read on who is dominating each collision, closely examining the strength and agility of each athlete. Pleasingly, defenders display a bit more aptitude on the pitch, jostling opponents about to trap the ball and generally displaying a bit more mutability.

On offense, attackers display an augmented sense of intelligence and aggression, locating holes, striving to stay onside, and signaling enthusiastically for the pass. Gone is the need to issue to micro-manage your teammates through directional pad commands; now your squad reacts perceptively to the defense, mirroring the tactics of an actual match. Although AI improvement seems like a relatively trivial change, the improvement exponentially raises FIFA’s fun factor. It’s undeniably gratifying to play with teammates who want to win as much as you do.

FIFA Soccer 13

Echoing one of FIFA Street’s mechanics, this year’s iteration allows ball handlers to move and face in separate directions thanks to Complete Dribbling. Pressing both triggers still squares off against a defender, but FIFA 13 increases the fluidity of darts and dodges, endowing virtual strikers with the skills of professional athletes as they streak past befuddled opponents. Agreeably, Complete Dribbling won’t instantly turn any neophyte player into Pele; there’s a substantial learning curve waiting to be mastered before gamers are able to shake off multiple opponents.

The title’s recurrent time (and money) sink, FIFA Ultimate Team returns, challenging participants to build a superlative squad from a pool of over 8,000 players. Beyond receiving a spiffy visual overhaul, the mode is now based around seasons, adding a sense of urgency to the proceedings. Regretfully, data hacking with previous FIFA iterations means that a persistent online connect in required. Even a temporary hiccup from either Xbox Live or EA servers can throw players out an event as innocuous as a single player tournament.

FIFA Soccer 13

Meanwhile, a handful of alterations have been made to the game’s Career and Be a Pro modes. Now, players can manage international teams, which convey the added anxiety of play at the uppermost echelon of competition. As an athlete, the dream of representing your country exists as a long-term goal, complementing club play. Off-pitch intrigue plays a bigger role now, with events such as press conferences and mid-season manager terminations testing a player’s spirit.

Aesthetically, FIFA Soccer 13 is the spotless star of the EA Sports line, flaunting a seamlessly fluid game, broadcast-quality delivery, and stylish replays. Two additional stadiums extend this year’s selection of sports venues, offering recreations of Tottenham Hotspur’s White Hart Lane and Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd International Stadium. While each of the game’s 69 arenas are immanently rendered, purists will likely want to see an increase in authentic locales, such as the addition of MLS’s selection of pitches or FC Barcelona’s famed Camp Nou. Martin Tyler and Alan Smith’s auditory contribution has been some of the finest work in the sports genre, so it’s little surprise that the duo’s commentary is accurate, lively, and engaging. With FIFA 13’s incorporation of Match Day- a mode which follows the statistical streaks of teams and players, players can even expect frequent additions to the play-by-play and color commentary, further extending the variety.

FIFA Soccer 13

Although filled with the requisite inventory of improvements, annual updates to sports games often deliver additions stymied by the unforeseen bug. Save for the Ultimate Team mode’s need for an incessant internet connection, FIFA Soccer 13 is the rare game which provides ample polish to the game’s returning as well as new features. Elevated by a substantial inventory of engaging play modes and options, this year’s FIFA is a must for any footie fan.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

31 comments

  1. Epic Review. One question, did you use the Kinect controls at all?

  2. Already picked it up at midnight which I do every year.

    This year FIFA 13 is really amazing. 13 isn’t unlucky for EA. Simple the best game ever.

  3. I loved 12 and really didn’t think FIFA could get any better.

    13 is. EA Canada really did an incredible job this year.

  4. I’m really glad they fixed the wonky animation. The take out sessions in the middle of the game were a little distracting.

  5. No exaggeration- first touch totally changes the game. You play offense and D much differently now. I wouldn’t have believed it until I actually got the chance to play the full game this week.

    BTW- I noticed that Polygon thought the same thing about imperfection.

  6. I could spend $60 on this version or play FIFA 12 on my Android tablet that I got for 25 cents. Let me think about that.

  7. I would have though DEagle would be playing Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy or something with a little penguin this week. But what do you know, they guy actually likes soccer!?!

  8. If anyone surprised by the score, you might have overlooking FIFA. Many critics consider it one of the best sports games out there along with NBA 2K and NHL. In the US, soccer doesn’t seem to get it’s due.

  9. Good review. Too bad that you have to look at Messi on the front page now.

  10. I’m curious about how Kinect works with FIFA.

  11. If you guys want a good laugh, check out EGM’s 4/10 review for FIFA 13:

    http://www.egmnow.com/articles/reviews/egm-review-fifa-13/

    JRPG loving Andrew Fitch tries tackling the sports game. Hilarity ensues.

    • If you’re still reading any site that pays HipHopGamer for hits you need to look harder. EGM is trash now. They’ve ruined the name.

      • how does HHG have a following? His videos are amateurish, his commentary doesn’t make sense and his writing is elementary school level. Whats the draw? Train wreck curiosity?

        Back to FIFA 13, if you like the sport, it’s still the best. I played a bit of PES and Konami’s really getting close, but EA’s game is still superior and more enjoyable to play.

    • I was just looking at Metacritic. 36 sites have given FIFA 13 a 8 or better. EGM isn’t on there, but 4/10 seems like a Jim Sterling dick move.

    • Does everyone review score HAVE to jive? There can only be a 2.0 range for reviews these days?

      C’mon, I’d rather read a dissenting opinion that something that came from the hive mind.

  12. Good review. Better than some of the bigger names, like Joystiq. They barely went into any detail.

  13. After playing the demo five time, I really like the first touch mechanic. Like the review said, it makes the game less predictable, and like real soccer/football/futball you have to think on the fly. I wish more sports would do this.

    Also glad they fixed the player collision modeling. I loved the physics in 12, but yeah… it was too comical.

  14. Great review.

    I’m planning on picking this up today. I was busy with work and school and missed the launch.

    BTW- FUT was like that in FIFA 12. They shouldn’t be as strict for people with net dropouts.

  15. The golden rule is never trust a Yank who calls the game “soccer”.

  16. How come my replays never quite look at cool at EA’s screens?

    Still, that’s my biggest complaint, but maybe I’ll get back to you in a month with 20 more.

  17. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEcH-BzY61E&hd=1

    This links Soccer and the author all together quite nicely.

  18. no one cares about soccer. Its a boring sport. Football and basketball is where its at.

  19. Deagle, how the hell do you review so many games so quickly?

  20. I was worried that FIFA 13 wouldn’t be much better than 12. I’m glad to say that EA Canada created a amazing game this year. Probably one of the best football sims ever.

  21. I’dd give the demo a try, but I’m not enough of a soccer fan to drop more than $20.

  22. I’m curious, how many people can play online at the same time? How’s the netcode?

  23. Decent enough review. Do you plan on covering the PS Vita version?

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