|System: PC, PS3*, Xbox 360|
|Dev: EA Sports Canada|
|Pub: EA Sports|
|Release: September 25, 2012|
|Players: Offline 1-7, Online 2-22|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Patriel Manning
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.)
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.
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.
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.