There are many battles between gamers; PS3 versus Xbox, Halo versus Call of Duty, Forza versus Grand Turismo, and FIFA versus Pro Evo. The latter debate has been kickstarted again with the release of FIFA 13. The series has in the past put many university assignments in danger, and I’m afraid to say, that trend has continued with this iteration of the series. For example the demo was downloaded nearly 2 million times in its first three days of release, and so on with the review.
This latest entry in the series has been touted by EA as “the most authentic football game on the planet” featuring 31 playable leagues from across the world, with all the leagues from FIFA 12 having been carried over and welcoming for the first time ever the Saudi Arabian professional football league, this capture alone shows how far reaching the FIFA series has become. Furthermore there is the addition of the ‘MLS All Stars’ in the Rest of the World category, and another five international teams. It also features updates to the stadiums in which teams can play, with White Hart Lane and the Saudi King Fahd International Stadium being added to the plethora of stadiums that you can play games in, however the exception of the Nou Camp due to licensing issues is notable, but there is an unlicensed version that is a passable replica. The game also features support for Kinect and Playstation Move with the current trends in gaming but according to the box requires a controller for Kinect.
The game retains continuity with FIFA 12 in numerous ways, it retains the services of Martin Tyler and Alan Smith as the main commentary team and Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend for tournament games, however it expands on this by employing Geoff Shreeves as a touchline reporter bringing insight into the types of injuries players receive during the game and also adding Alan McInally to keep the player up to date with the scores of other games. These updates make the player feel that they are watching a game on the T.V. especially with the fact that the scoreboard changes depending on the league and competition you are playing in. Another addition to this feeling of watching a match continues with the pre-match presentation giving out information about the top scorers in a league or tournament, especially within career mode.
Speaking of career mode there have been some interesting tweaks to the presentation and also the underlying system, for example there is a greater input from players during a season, with messages popping up from players who are in form and want to play more games or from players who feel that they aren’t getting the right amount of playing time. Another addition to the career mode is the ability to manage not only a club team but also an international team, with various offers coming to the player throughout the season as their reputation within the management world increases.
There are further ways in which this game is an improvement on earlier FIFA games, for example the graphical quality is far superior to earlier games, with massive improvements being made on what players look like and how the clothing reacts to the players movements, there have also been tweaks and improvements to the collision engine enabling, near true to life incidents when players compete for the ball with bigger, stronger players being able to have an affect on smaller or weaker ones. For example small, quick wingers such asLiverpool’s Raheem Sterling can easily be knocked off the ball and even knocked over by a bigger, stronger defender like Vincent Kompany or Nemanja Vidic. However despite tweaks to make this system less glitchy than it was in FIFA 12 there are still incidents where players go flying away from a collision, which breaks with the realism, however the effects are not as noticeable as seen in the infamous Youtube videos of Per Mertesacker.
Whilst the game is for the most part excellent, and continues the tradition of excellent FIFA games, there are some places where it falls down. The removal of the arena that appears before the menus and as a pre-match loading system is a loss, as the mini-games that have replaced it can be extremely difficult to master leading to players becoming frustrated. Although they do help in strengthening play, they do at times feel less accurate or polished than the rest of the game. Another place where the game is let down is in the creation centre, the system doesn’t seem to have changed at all since FIFA 11 or even before that with created players having the same haircuts as they have or had since the system was redesigned. It would have been nice to perhaps see some of the more extravagant or up to date hairstyles worn by players this season. The only part of the creation centre that has continually been updated has been the boot choices but this is another place where perhaps the game could have been improved as there was a lot of focus on players wearing the boots they wore during the European championships throughout the advertising for FIFA 13 and the only boots that have made the transition to the game are made by Adidas, and it would have been nice to have seen some of the Nike boots released for the tournament represented.
All in all, whilst the game has some small flaws that could have been ironed out before release it is otherwise another excellent release in the premier football series and features a number of improvements over its predecessor and also over its rivals meaning that its legion of fans will be kept happy and that also the debate over which is better FIFA or Pro Evo will continue for another year yet.