FIFA 13: The Return from ’99

FIFA is a great game to kill 15 minutes of free time. I first picked it up in 1999 (when Bergkamp was on the box). Played almost every revision until 2009 when I had time for only 1 game (WoW). Fast forward to FIFA 13, I preordered after trying the demo and here’s a first look.

FIFA 99 to FIFA13: Much has changed.

FIFA 99 to FIFA13: Much has changed.

Game Modes

Back in the day, FIFA had very few modes. The most popular was to play a full season with some transfer market options. There were also cup tournaments and friendlies. Online play was basically just friendly matches via direct IP. FIFA 13 has improved that by leaps and bounds. Most of these modes are not new if you kept up with FIFA 10, 11 and 12 but for me, they are brand new and exciting.

FIFA 13: One time matches now more meaningful

FIFA 13: One time matches now more meaningful

Friendly matches are now tuned so they follow actual fixture lists and final line ups. This is done via Live Fixtures and Game of the Week. As you play, concurrent games take place as well and the commentary is tuned to provide the background of the team. I took City on and the commentators were talking about 3rd vs. 4th in that fixture which were the positions of the teams before that round of matches. Such details appeal greatly to football fans.

 

Such details appeal greatly to football fans.

 

Careers: Huge changes with audio based news.

Careers: Huge changes with audio based news.

Season mode is now Career with visual news lists and features plus audio based results. It was pretty interesting to listen to radio styled news talking about results and table placements. On top of that, players often talk to you – asking for a chance in the starting line up / bench or even asking you to improve their contracts. Poldi asked to be paid more just 3 games after signing. Heh.

Careers: Transfers have greater flexibility.

Careers: Transfers have greater flexibility.

Transfer day deadline has been spruced up with by-the-hour countdown for negotiations. Also you can bargain, set roles and do player plus cash exchanges. It is not on par on FM but its a pretty huge step up from previous FIFA experiences.

Ultimate Team: It's a game within a game. And a lot of money for EA.

Ultimate Team: It’s a game within a game. And a lot of money for EA.

The biggest one is the Ultimate Team mode. It’s basically a game within a game here. It’s a mash between a trading card game and various game modes. Brilliant move by EA. This would earn a lot of cash for them via add-ons (think: buying trading cards). I can see this being the mainstay of FIFA after finishing a few seasons. I pre-ordered FIFA 13 to get the 24 gold packs deal. It seems to be a good move looking at how this game mode plays out. I read that in FIFA 12, this mode was compromised by hackers and abused. Hope the same doesn’t occur this time.

 

I pre-ordered FIFA 13 to get the 24 gold packs deal.

 

Other modes have been improved as well. Seasons offer a season based only play system. Be A Pro expands from just single matches as a outfield player or a ‘keeper into one as a multiplayer team. That is pretty exciting but you do need 10 other friends to form a team. It’s a great idea but I’m not sure if finding 11 to play together is really feasible. Tournaments are the same but Practice Modes have been updated to have Bronze, Silver and Gold challenges for executing things like free kicks, passes, etc. This is a great for new players like me because the new controls are ridiculously complex.

 

Controls

Talking about controls, FIFA 13 is a huge shock for me. The controls require a wiki. It is insane. Have a look at over 20 options just for a direct free kick. I’m not even scratching the dribbling moves yet.

Controls: Have 20+ options just for a direct free kick.

Controls: Have 20+ options just for a direct free kick.

If you’re new like me, get into the practice modes or read the manual. It’s going to take a long time getting up to speed at this rate. FIFA did this to improve the realism of the game. It’s so complex, the controls are probably trying too hard to pull off the realism that EA has been pushing for a long time

 

It’s so complex, the controls are probably trying too hard to pull off the realism that EA has been pushing for a long time

 

I’ve also realized that EA doesn’t put the official manual up so here it is. It’s just a manual, I wonder why they hide it behind Origin for. You can download it here: FIFA 13 Manual / Controls.

 

Realism

In every release of FIFA, they try to make players look real. I think nothing much has improved since 2009. Popular players get well crafted looks, others simply use generic models that are moulded to match them as far as possible.

If you ain't popular, you ain't gonna look real.

If you ain’t popular, you ain’t gonna look real.

I barely played FIFA 12 but the physics felt rather beta-ish. FIFA 13 has polished that up but comical collisions still occur. In general, the game has really pushed itself on. To make a perfect pass, you have to judge the strides of the player and that of the receiving player on top of their attributes. You need to know your players to pull off this game well.

 

To make a perfect pass, you have to judge the strides of the player and that of the receiving player on top of their attributes. You need to know your players to pull off this game well.

 

This may be over the top for casual players but hard core players will love it.

 

Bugs

FIFA 13 has one glaring bug for PC users. PC owners who run surround sound setups will not have audio unless they change to a 2.1 setup or use headphones. I read that FIFA 12 had this problem as well and it is happening to me in FIFA 13. It’s a good thing I have a pretty solid Plantronics headset but this would not be great when family and friends come over to play. Audio bugs do not stop there. Some commentary stuttering also occurs during scene switches. EA has lots to do to fix audio bugs in this game.

 

EA has lots to do to fix audio bugs in this game.

 

At times, FIFA 13 also runs into trouble because of their servers. This game only shines with its online components. Unfortunately, servers seem shakey at times. This could be simply early launch issues as the servers are hit with high demand. Besides that, the game is stable and playable.

 

Conclusion

FIFA 13 is an excellent experience especially for one who has not really played since 2009. It is feature packed and hits the right notes at the right places. If you are thinking of pirating this game, don’t. This game is not worth it without its online components.

I look forward to playing it the way I want to – in short bursts during quick breaks. My wireless XBOX Controller for PC is going to get hammered after many years of collecting dust.

I do hope to play online competitively during the holidays but at the rate FIFA has changed, it’s going to be insane matching up to seasoned players.



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