When it comes down to sports video games EA has that genre in the bag and for football (soccer) fans Fifa is a franchise that has been on a pedestal as the top soccer game franchise and with the release of Fifa 13 it is now safe to say that this is the best title in that franchise to date. While the game itself is a more polished and updated Fifa 12 rather than trying a bunch of new things this year they have instead took what was great last year and tweaked and made the gameplay mechanics better.

Last year Fifa 12 saw the inclusion of the physics based Impact Engine which made the game feel more like you were really playing a soccer game with more control and skill needed to play like the pros would in a game, also with the addition of the new way to play on defense called Tactical Defending. And with Fifa 13 those two things that made Fifa 12 go to the next level of a soccer video game have returned and have been redefined so the controls and style of gameplay is even better. Another thing that should be noted is that the AI in the game is the best I’ve seen it over the years, no longer are the games one sided if you are a seasoned player of the Fifa franchise and when playing a game at the high AI settings most matches will seem like a mirror match as it will test your skill and abilities to win.

That’s quite the ultimate team they’ve build.

One of the main attractions in Fifa 13 is the Ultimate Team, where players can build and create their own club and collect player cards via an auction or from completing goals in a season. This mode is where most of my time was spent after creating my own pro and making it through a couple of years in a season. FUT (Fifa Ultimate Team) mode can be played both online and offline if you are not ready to take your created team online you can compete in an offline season as well as various tournaments that increase with difficulty based on your teams overall level, which is based on a five star level. You can buy new players from card packs of if there is a specific player you want you can head into the auction where everyone sells the cards they don’t want for the FUT coin currency, you can also put your players up on the auction as well to make some extra coins to help you build your ultimate team.

There is more to collecting and building the ultimate team in FUT mode, there is a managerial aspect to it as well since the players you put on the team have limited contracts that can be extended by using contract cards you get in packs, some players can even suffer injuries during a game, get fatigued and they can also lose morale too, but just like with their contracts there are cards you can obtain and use to fix these things. As you start off with a very basic squad you don’t really have to worry about contracts and injuries but as your ultimate team is improved so does your opposing teams which will make things like injuries happen and fatigue since you will have to be playing more aggressive in the game. Another thing to take note of is your team’s chemistry, having a team with players from the same teams, countries or league will provide increase the team’s overall chemistry and allow them to bonuses for your teams rank. Another way to get bonuses to your teams overall rating is to make sure you keep players in their preferred positions for the team, sure you can put a goalie as a midfielder or defender but why not play to their individual strengths?

Just one of the tougher challenges in the skill mode.

The amount of online gameplay modes and types is apparent in Fifa 13  you can play in a quick friendly match online against a random opponent, you can also challenge teams with money, points and prizes up for grabs or even set up your own custom event. There’s even an online World Cup mode that allows players to choose their home contry and by winning games can show the world leaderboard to see which country is leading overall in Fifa 13 online. The ‘Be A Pro’ offline mode also has an online version as well where just like in it’s offline counterpart you can take your created player online and join a game with up to 21 other people, where each player is controlling just their created pro. The one hinderence of the various online modes is the lag, which has been an issue with Fifa games for a few years now, because soccer is such a world wide sport you can play against other soccer fans from anywhere, my first game was against a kid in Manchester and the game had some lag which we both agreed was annoying and we played a second game afterwards and the connection was perfectly fine. But, if you are going to play Be A Pro online with a full game of people (that’s 22 total counting yourself) just be warned there is a big chance that it will be a very lagging experience for everyone playing.

So if you want to get better at shooting, dribbling and all the other indeth skills you can use online to defeat your opponents there is one more mode that is a lot of fun yet frustrating called Skills Games. In Skill Games you can choose from eight different challenges to test and learn new skills in which include passing, shooting, free kicks and penalties. Each challenge starts at the bronze level which is equivalent to a tutorial, and as you complete each level they go up in difficulty ranging from silver to gold. Once you complete the gold level for a challenge you are put to the ultimate test by taking on the legendary challenge for that skill, it is not a cake walk let me tell you. It’s a great mode to go through as by the time you finish everything you will not only have all the basics down but you will also be at the level of gameplay skill and knowledge to be able to hold you own in every gameplay mode and even online.

The in game graphics look cleaner and better this year.

As much as I have enjoyed playing every mode and countless games in Fifa 13, the game is not without it’s issues. First off, I have had countless issues during games ranging from an invisible ball for an entire game, and I should add that restarting the game and quitting out to the main menu did not fix it I actually had to turn off the PlayStation 3. There are also quick little cutscenes during matches that you cannot skip and sometimes they hang up and freeze for a few seconds, I mean this issue isn’t a deal break on whether or not to buy the game but it is annoying enough to not be able to shrug off after a while. And while the AI has improved immensely this time around it seems like the other team always knows how to take the ball away from you and your team seems to have a sort of slow reaction time to passes and set ups for some greatly timed goals. And the last issue that honestly was disheartening to go through was the game actually freezing, I’m not sure if it’s because I have a tendency to play Fifa games religiously for hours on end but I did notice that about 2 out of every 5 times I played the game (in general not 5 in-game matches) the game would freeze. But, like I said there are no real issues that would make me not pick this game up or even refuse to recommend it to soccer fans out there.

With all this being said Fifa 13 is once again this years number one choice for a soccer game, between all the online modes you can play and the countless hours you can put into Fifa Ultimate Team this game does not lack replay value at all. The grass even looks good in this game, now that says a lot. So if you haven’t checked out Fifa 13 yet and you are a soccer fan trust me you want to go out and get this game now, EA has put out one hell of a game and it’s more than enough to hold me over until Fifa 14 comes out next year.



About the Author

Owner of ThoseGamingNerds, I've been in the gaming journalism scene now for 7 years and other than that it's all comic books and movies for me.