The battle between the Fifa and Pro Evolution Soccer circles seems to be one that will continue until either one or both of EA or Konami cease to exist. The fanbase of each of these games is so strongly entrenched in their support and love for the game that the chance of them switching to the opposing side is almost zero. It seems that amongst virtual football crowds everywhere, however, that FIFA – with its official licences and hugely refined and polished appearance – is the game that seems to come out on top year after year.
The FIFA series usually follows a pattern of consistent yet incremental improvement from year to year, with breakthrough features only really making debuts on occasion. Fifa 2013 from the mighty EA stands firmly in incremental change camp, with the developers forgoing the drastic changes in favour of the more subtle tweaks and alterations to the gameplay, making the experience more entertaining than the last. The question really is how much better is it than its predecessor?
Because FIFA 2012 involved a significant overhaul of the defending process, players of FIFA 2013 may be disappointed to find some more gentle touches to this year’s release. The dribbling aspects of the game have been given the most attention this time around, with first touch also being tweaked. EA have attempted to drill more realism into the game by making the passing less forgiving, encouraging you to be more skilful and refined in your approach since blasting the ball with force (which you could previous get away with) simply won’t work anymore. You also have considerably more control when dribbling the ball as well, with the whole thing being more responsive and affording you greater responsiveness to the ball’ movements. The first touch feature really makes all the difference in the game since it determines your player’s reaction to receiving a ball depending on his rating and positioning.
Improvements to tactical defending also serve to slow the pace down but in a manner that allows you to concentrate on the finer details of skill whereas before, the pace was quicker but the whole thing felt less demanding of true skill or strategic manoeuvring across the field because the ball moved so quickly across the pitch. Players that are new to the game will likely not notice the level of difficulty of the game compared to its predecessor, though skills can be refined with skills practice during the loading screens, which takes the place of simply kicking the ball back and forth as was the situation in previous versions of FIFA.
Other more significant changes involve he Ultimate Team, which has always been the almost RPG-like facet of the game where you get to swap out your dream players, auction them off, and now in FIFA 2013 play through entire seasons that lead to you unlocking even more players of better standing – hopefully this will remain in place for the games. The commentary has improved but can still be very repetitive, though Career Mode is of course back and has more detail than ever before. In all, Fifa 13 as fans expected, with tweaks and improvements from the last but nothing revolutionary, though the changes that are present make moments on the ball feel more realistic and demanding of true skill than ever before.