FIFA 13 Review
It’s that time of year again when EA Sports come out with their annual upgrade to their FIFA franchise and this year is no difference as they release FIFA 13, their 13th iteration of the world wide soccer game. (Yes I’m calling it soccer, the whole world plays the game now and it’s just easier this way).
While previous versions of the FIFA franchise on iOS have sometimes seen minimal improvements outside of improved graphics and/or new features FIFA 13 has brought something to their iOS offering that people have been asking for for a long time and that’s the ability to play against other players over the Internet and not just those based locally.
While the old rivalries will continue to rage between the FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer fans, you generally either love or hate one or the other, the competition is clearly good for the players of each as they continue to push and innovate the graphics, gameplay and features and this continues to be the case.
Graphics ones again receive a boost that defies the size of the devices that you can play these games on. Player likenesses improve as FIFA continues to enjoy fully licensed players, teams and leagues from all around the world and the smoothness of the gameplay remains unaffected especially on the iPhone 5 that this was reviewed on and which is fully supported in full screen mode.
Controls have been tweaked in this release quite significantly however the new features don’t affect the core controls and instead the add and enhance what is an already well established control system.
A virtual d-pad on the left of the screen continues to provide directional control of your players while action buttons on the right side of the screen control the specific action that your chosen player will attempt, (I say attempt as based on your your skill and timing they don’t always come off), to complete.
It’s these action buttons that now include new features, firstly the ‘skill move’ button has been improved to provide more skill moves using a nine point grid around the button. Tapping the skill button and then making gestures up, down, left, right and around the skill move button will produce a variety of skill moves. And based on how you make the gesture will control whether you complete the skill to the left or two the right of the oncoming player.
While most players will be happy just to jump in a test the controls for themselves I would highly recommend reviewing the inbuilt help videos that will show you what all the gestures are and how they are activated to make the full benefit of them.
You can also control you whole teams gameplay via in game gestures too, want to make your team play more defensively? Then swipe two fingers towards the end you are defending. Want to play a more attacking style? Then swipe two fingers toward the goal you are attacking. The ability to do this without having to stop the game and make the selections in the options menu makes for a much more fluid gaming experience.
Another new feature is the ability to call in a 2nd defender when we feel that you need it. While holding down the tackle button will automatically make your selected player attempted to tackle the opposing player pressing the ‘call 2nd defender’ button will automatically bring over additional help should you find yourself trying to defend Messi, Ronaldo or any other tricky player.
These additional features add confirm able depth to the playing options for players to take advantage of while still ensuring that the game is easy to pickup and play for the newcomer to the franchise. And it needs to be said again that there are two many of these options to list here and you should view the in game help to learn them all.
The four game modes are still present, you can jump into a quick match, complete a league or cup from around the world in tournament mode, test your hand at club management in manager mode or play online.
Tournament mode continues to provide great value with even lower leagues from around the world being available, so if you want to play as lowly Southend United in the nPower League 2 in England you can. In total there are 67 trophies to be won in tournament mode and so to get a full trophy cabinet you’re going to have to play a lot of games.
Manager Mode adds additional depth to the game as you now have the ability to not only control the players but manager the whole club. From players contracts and club finances to keeping the board and supporters happy you are going to be juggling a lot of balls.
While this level of depth isn’t for everyone it does work well and provides a valid alternative to the management style games of Football Manager while providing the ability it take control of matters on the pitch too.
It also has to be said that EA have provided the ability to sync both Manager and Tournament modes using iCloud. This means that if you have this universal app running on multiple devices you can pick up on one device where you left off on another, that’s awesome.
We then come to the newly added online mode which has the potential of providing endless hours of game-play if done right. There are two ways to play online, 1 is in a quick match against a random opponent, the other is in a friendly against one of your friends.
Game-play is the same for both but if you play against a friend you win, draw, loss stats will be recorded against them so that you can prove who has the bragging rights.
I’ve played numerous times online and for the most part it’s been a great experience. I’ve never failed to be matched up with an opponent which suggests that there are a lot of people playing the game and while there have been a couple of disconnected games there is no way of telling whether that’s due to my opponent, network issues or a problem with the game itself.
The graphics appear a little toned down when playing online but it’s not something you notice in the thick of the action and games can be decided based on both players agreeing on the outcome. For example, it the game ends in a tie then you get to choose between ending the game in tie, extra-time or going straight to penalties.
Many hours could be lost in this mode especially if you have lots of friends who play the game too. It would be nice to have online leagues or tournaments to compete in but at this point that’s not available.
Both on and offline games provide a whole plethora of achievements, 79 to be exact, and they range from receiving no bookings during a match and scoring from long range to scoring a goal with your goal keeper and having a player score both an own goal and a goal in the correct goal!
While it’s great to have this number of achievements in the game it’s disappointing that EA continue not to link to Apples Game Centre achievements, continuing it use their own Origin network instead. Other games offer the option to link to both their own social gaming network as well as Game Centre and it would be nice to see EA do the same.
The daily challenges are a nice addition though were you get the opportunity to relive real matches, earn XP points to climb the social leader-boards.
FIFA 13 also enables you to share your greatest moments of skill and goals with the world via in-game integration with YouTube. Anytime you view a replay you will also get the opportunity to upload it to YouTube and given that the video is limited to just 9 seconds once you’ve authenticated your account once the sharing happens really quickly.
While some people may balk at the $6.99/4.99 price, this monster franchise continues to set the standard that other titles must aspire too and it’s worth every penny.
What we like
- Online multi-player
- Sparkling graphics
- New control options
- Multiple achievements
- Daily challenges
- Replay uploads to YouTube
What to know
- No GameCentre integration
- No online leagues or tournaments
FIFA 13 for iPhone – Gallery