Another year, another FIFA. Does FIFA 13 do enough to warrant you upgrading? We strapped our boots on to find out.

EA have announced that FIFA 13 has broken the record becoming the fast selling sports game of all time with over 4.5 million copies being sold in the first 5 days. We take a look at the all new FIFA to help you decide whether it’s worth your hard earned cash.

Gameplay

The FIFA franchise has always been about gameplay, continually striving for the most realistic football experience possible. FIFA 13 is no different, they have built on the innovations from last year’s game and improved the overall experience significantly.

FIFA 13 does an excellent job of capturing the unpredictability of real world football, providing a real battle for possession across the field and the ability to change the game at any moment. The clearest example of this is through the all new first-touch control system. The ball doesn’t just stick to your footballers boots, you need to have the skill to control a pass. There are a range of factors that influence your first touch; your player’s body position, the speed he is running at, the speed of the pass and of course your players ball control skills. This takes a bit of getting used to, at first you will feel frustrated (similar to the defensive changes in FIFA 12) but when you get it right, its game changing.

fifa 13 review gameplay

This new ball control means that holding onto possession is trickier both on the attack and when defending. Playing the ball into the box with a low cross really creates that moment of fear for the defending team, the ball could all to easily ricochet and end up in the back of the net.

As I mentioned, last year defending was a focus for change with the introduction of ‘Tactical Defending’. FIFA 13 now concentrates on improving your attacking options. EA have incorporated the dribbling mechanic from the recent FIFA Street game, which allows the player to have tighter control of the ball when you hold down both triggers. As always it take some getting used to, but I found the combination of the two trigger dribbling mode and the standard one trigger trick mode provides a great tool for zipping past players up the sidelines. The trick system feels much better than previous FIFA games – where I lost possession 9/10 times that I used them, this year I feel like I have full control of my player.

FIFA 13 worth the upgrade review

In addition to the dribbling, there is now a new and improved attacking AI. When going forward, you’ll have more support with your teammates making intelligent runs off the ball, even curving their runs to stay onside. Building slowly in midfield allows these players to start making runs (both forwards and backwards) opening up new passing options. It again just adds to the realism with your patience in possession paying off when a great gap opens up due to a player making a run. Something I certainly appreciate as an Arsenal fan.

Presentation

When you pick up FIFA 13 the first thing that you will notice is the brand new menu system (plastered with Lionel Messi’s face). The new menu looks good and does a good job of bringing some order to the massive selection of game modes within the new game.

Graphically, FIFA 13 isn’t a huge improvement FIFA 12 and you would be forgiving for not noticing the difference when glancing at the gameplay. There are however a lot of new contextual animations that do a great job of furthering the realism. The main improvements when it comes to presentation are commentary related. Through the Match Day feature the commentators talk about current, real world talking points during your game. For example when playing as Arsenal the commentators were having a discussion about the fact that Olivier Giroud has yet to score since being signed by arsenal and that the pressure is surely building on him.

FIFA 13 menu form team

During career mode you can expect to hear live commentary from other matches while you play, with updates such as goals, penalties and even red cards. This is really useful as you get into the later stages of your season and your rival’s results are crucial to your log position. Another nice touch in the career mode is the introduction of verbal updates. A commentator now reads the recent results, current log positions and upcoming fixtures to you while you dabble with your team management. Combined with yet another phenominal FIFA soundtrack and you have a game with excellent all-round presentation.

Content

FIFA 13 is literally bursting at the seams with content. Be A Pro, Ultimate Team, Tournaments from around the world… It’s still all there, with some brand new modes thrown in this year. Skill Games are a really fun addition, covering all the fundamentals of the game, from crossing to passing to shooting. Each discipline has different bronze, silver, and gold challenges. These games can get very challenging (especially the dribbling) but it provides a great way for you to continually up skill yourself.

fifa 13 skill games

One of my favourite new features this year is Match Day, a service which attempts to keep FIFA 13 in touch with the season as it unfolds. When you start FIFA 13, you can turn it on with a click of a button and a short update will rebalance the stats of teams and individual players according to how they’re faring in the league. For example, if a player hits form and starts scoring every week, his stats will sky rocket, if he is struggling in real life you will see a dip. This works for players as well as for clubs, with the players form being carried over into the clubs Attack/ Defence statistics. It a brilliant addition to the game and make me wonder why it has taken this long to be implemented.

In Career mode you will notice a vastly improved transfer system with the ability to add players to sweeten the deal over and above the cash you are offering. The ability to counter offer provides a great platform to negotiate with clubs and get better deals on players. The tips from your team manager also provides a nice touch to help beginners to get active on the transfer market.