FIFA Soccer 13 Review for Xbox 360

FIFA Soccer 13 Review for Xbox 360

New And Improved!

It’s that time of year again. The change in seasons brings with it experiences old and new. The leaves are turning, children are returning to school, and this year’s newest offerings from our favorite game publishers are hitting the shelves. Electronic Arts has joined the fray by updating their latest football sim, FIFA 13, and we tested it out.

Developer EA Canada set out to address a number of complaints about last year’s game. Dribble controls have been refined, allowing for more precise ball control in difficult situations. Skill Moves have also made a return, and players already familiar with the system won’t find any unpleasant surprises. The tactical options now available for Free Kicks are sure to excite veterans of the series as well. Move and Kinect functionality has been included to enhance the experience. (Though if you speak Spanish, Kinect won’t understand you.)

FIFA Soccer 13 Screenshot

On top of that, a whole new system for fine-tuned control over a player’s first touch has been added, giving the player even more attack options to choose from. If this sounds like a ridiculous amount of unnecessary “stuff” to worry about or bother remembering, it really isn’t. The fact is that you can simply jump right in and play the game like you have been ’til now for the most part.

Players won’t be able to ignore the tweaks that have been made to the artificial intelligence, though. Playing against the A.I. is a much more involved affair. What EA is dubbing “Attacking Intelligence” makes devising plays to break down opponents’ defenses makes matches just that bit more exciting at both ends of the field.

FIFA Soccer 13 Screenshot

The Player Impact Engine is back as well. While it has been refined, players will still find that some *ahem* compromising situations can’t be completely avoided. It’s also used to calculate injuries resulting from player contact, though all anyone seemed to do was twist their knee. (They’re probably descendants of Skyrim guards.) The system works pretty well when it’s working, but it could definitely use some refinement.

Gamers who are familiar with PES’ Football Life game mode will probably take note of some of the changes to career mode. While you will still be able to play for your club of choice, chances are you’ll probably be loaned to a club of much lesser prestige where you’ll have to prove yourself before coming back. I personally find this to be a welcome addition. It always felt a bit unrealistic to be able to play at, say, a forward position for a multi-million dollar football club for a full 90 minutes in your rookie year. Having to play for Serie B for a year before returning to Serie A felt like a step in the right direction.

FIFA Soccer 13 Screenshot

In addition, players will have training objectives set by the manager, which, if reached, will increase a player’s chances of earning a higher salary or being noticed by other teams in a given league. New to FIFA 13 is the chance to be called up to a national team, depending on the player’s nationality.

The result of additions like these on the field is a game that is substantially better than last year’s FIFA. It plays a tiny bit more like Pro Evolution Soccer, if we’re honest, and that’s not exactly a bad thing.

Returning for this iteration of FIFA is the EA Sports Football Club, where players will be able to support their favorite team, complete challenges, and brag about their accomplishments on Facebook. New to the EAS FC this year is a marketplace of sorts where players will be able to purchase a variety of items to customize the appearance of their avatar, purchase new traits such as goal celebrations, and earn new abilities. And if you prefer to play through career mode as a manager you can even purchase a “Win,” redeemable for three points if you find yourself in a tight spot during a tournament. While you play the game you earn points that can be used here, which creates an incentive to keep playing.

FIFA Soccer 13 Screenshot

Visually, FIFA 13 is a cut above FIFA 12, but I can’t put my finger on why exactly. The lighting looks just a touch more vibrant, player models are the same in most cases but don’t look as “dead” as they previously did. Even the stadiums look better. The pregame festivities do well to create a proper game day atmosphere. Sadly, quite a few animations were reused, complete with bugs and wonky movements. It’s a shame too, because changing the camera placement for things like replays can make a big difference. Real interaction between teammates during post-goal bragging would have gone a long way to maintain the illusion as well.

Alan Smith, Martin Tyler, and the rest have also recorded a few new lines, and their commentary is always lively. The crowds seemed to have a sharper, more in-tune response to the events on the field too, heightening the stress of already tense moments.

All things considered, FIFA 13 is a good football game. It’s much better than FIFA 12. It feels more fluid, and in turn a bit more like an actual match. Whether it’s on par with PES 2013 remains to be seen (review incoming), but if FIFA’s your cup of tea you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you skip this version. EA is on the road toward making this a better football sim.

Good lighting and believable players for the most part. 3.8 Control
Adequate for the uninitiated and rewarding to explore. 4.2 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Good soundtrack and authentic crowd interaction. 4.5 Play Value
The EAS FC features will keep players coming until FIFA 14 is released. 4.1 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Attacking Intelligence—All-new positioning intelligence infuses attacking players with the ability to analyze plays and to better position themselves to create new attacking opportunities. Players will work harder and smarter to break down defenses, make runs that pull defenders out of position, and open passing channels for teammates. Plus, players possess an off-the-ball vision and the ability to think two plays ahead to create, curve, or alter runs to capitalize on openings as they occur.
  • Complete Dribbling— Make every touch matter with complete control of the ball. Take on defenders with the freedom to be more creative in attack. Players are more explosive accelerating with the ball, and utilize precise dribble touches with true 360° mobility with the ball while facing a defender. Face an opponent to threaten attack while moving with the ball in any direction to dodge tackles, or turn and shield the ball, maintaining position, and holding off defenders for longer stretches.
  • FIFA 13 1st-Touch Control—A new system eliminates near-perfect control for every player by creating uncertainty when receiving difficult balls. Poor passes are harder to control, enabling defenders to capitalize on errant balls and poor touches. Factors such as defensive pressure, trajectory of the ball, and velocity of the pass all factor into a player’s success. Players with better control and skill stand out. Fewer perfect touches, the potential to over hit passes, more opportunity for loose balls, and greater balance between defending and attacking.
  • Player Impact Engine—The second generation of the award-winning physics engine expands physical play from just collisions to off-the-ball battles, giving defenders more tools to win back possession. Defenders can use their body to win possession, push and pull for position, and utilize their size and strength to force opponents into poor touches and decisions before the ball arrives.
  • FIFA 13 Tactical Free Kicks—Create dangerous and unpredictable free kicks. Position up to three attacking players over the ball and confuse opponents with dummy runs, more passing options, and more elaborate free kicks. Opponents can counter by adding or subtracting players to the wall, creeping the wall forward, or sending a bullet man to intercept the pass or block the shot.
  • Voice Commands – Administer your squad the way real-world managers organize their clubs during a match. Use voice commands to instantly activate tactics, change formations, or initiate substitutions and enjoy the strategic advantage of managing your club without pausing the game.
  • On Pitch Commands – Think, react and play like a professional footballer utilizing voice commands on the pitch in Be A Pro mode. Shout for a pass, send a teammate on a run or call for a shot the way real footballers communicate on the pitch.
  • Referee Feedback – Referees and linesmen are influenced by what they hear. Coarse language directed towards an official may be mentioned by commentators or influence a referee’s strictness and decision-making around fouls and bookings, the same way it does in real life. Plus, storylines will develop in Career Mode when players and managers let their emotions get the better of them.

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