Another year goes by, we all get more wrinkles and FIFA comes out again with next year’s number on the box. This time FIFA 13 also has a new cover star in the way of Lionel Messi and that gives you some clue as to how the gameplay’s been tweaked, but we’ll come to that later.
So what’s new in the front end before you get on the pitch? Well, there are a few tweaks and additions. Back once again are EA Sports Football Club, Ultimate Team, Challenges and the usual single and multiplayer modes you’d expect but the main addition you’ll notice is Match Day. If you’re connected to the EA servers you’ll get real life fixtures thrown your way to play through as well as weekly form updates of individual players and teams depending on how they’re doing. Liverpool of course are shown to have a bit of a dip.
Commentary will also reflect what’s going on in the real world – at the moment Martin Tyler and Alan Smith keep berating Borini for lacking form which is fair and you even get Alan McInally phoning in fictitious scores happening at the same time which add to the feeling that other games are being played at the same time. There’s even touchline commentary when it comes to things like injuries.
You’ll also notice Skill Games you can play whilst you wait for a match to start which can also be selected to play in your own time. These range from dribbling and passing, to shooting practice and penalties and you’ll earn XP for everything you do which can then be used in the new Catalogue to buy new classic shirts, celebrations and boots in the shop.
So what’s the game like? Well it’s another improvement. Not only do players now not just run in straight lines, you’ll also get more attacking options thanks to better attacking AI. Through balls connect more often and the Player Impact engine has been refined to stop comedy moments where players hump each other on the floor. Part of the control system from FIFA Street has also been borrowed meaning if you hold down both triggers you can do all sorts of fancy moves that not only look good but help you confuse your opponent as well.
There’s also an element of unpredictability in there too thanks to the first touch control. Serve up a ball that’s bouncing strangely or skidding on a wet surface and it may kick up off a player’s foot strangely leading to a break down in attack. This may annoy some people who want their passes to always connect if a player is in space but I think it just adds to the fun and may be more of a leveller if players’ skill sets aren’t the same.
They’ve even put bespoke controls in there PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Whilst I’m never going to play FIFA on the Move, the Kinect however does offer a useful voice control where you can shout tactics instead of selecting them on the d-pad which is welcome when you’re in the middle of attack or defence.
Add to the refined gameplay some great player likenesses and a convincing Sky Sports style graphical package and you definitely have the best looking, sounding and playing football game ever made. It really is close to perfection so I’m giving it 9.5 out of 10.
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