Product Type: Electronic Arts Xbox 360 games
Newest Review: ... rated very closely together which I do not believe is realistic as there are teams which are a lot stronger than others in real life but ... more
Rushed, Pushed and Untested, but Rectified and Redeemed
FIFA 13 (Xbox 360)
Member Name: he6rt6gr6m
FIFA 13 (Xbox 360)
Date: 06/11/12, updated on 15/01/13 (41 review reads)
Advantages: Improved shooting, passing and general game play, Pro Clubs search options.
Disadvantages: Coding errors resulting in invisible ball, coins and purchased players going missing.
The same old FIFA menus are back. Straight forward and simple to use, with a boxed design. It flows well when sliding across to select something, but when selected, the menu still pauses for a moment, while your selected player runs off into the distance to continue a completely irrelevent animation. During this time, the game will communicate with the servers for seemingly no reason whatsoever.
Access to the EASC (EA Sports Club) feature has been improved. A simple 'X' on your Xbox 360 pad will take you there, and from here, you can see where your favourite team is in the league standings of FIFA players, while also being able to purchase items from the shop which will help you along your FIFA path. Be it Pro improvements, extra coins in Ultimate Team or a free pass for the next match, it's all in there, and the purchase can be made with EASC Credits (bronze in colour, to help separate it from the gold coins you use in Ultimate Team) which can be earned match-by-match, or bought using Microsoft Points and/or cash from a Credit/Debit card. This is essentially another money-making scheme from EA for those who want to get ahead of the game quickly, and are willing to pay through the nose to do it, which is majorly frustrating when playing against them online.
All major leagues, bar the Italian Serie A league, are licensed, and an update brought about Napoli's kit change, as the stock game had a generic strip listed due to licensing disagreements. The Saudi Professional League makes its debut alongside the familiar leagues of FIFA 12, while recently-relegated Glasgow Rangers are included despite their current place in the Scottish Divison 3.
International additions this year include India, Paraguay and Venezuela (who have fictional players in the default starting XI, but this is editable), and, surprisingly, the Czech Republic
Comparisons with Pro Evolution Soccer are usually made here, with FIFA again having most of the correct lettering and numbering, as official licensed vendors of the teams/leagues. This means that Premier League numbering has the Barclay's lion on it. A small, yet satisfying point that makes the experience feel more in depth.
Stadiums are also, once again, excellent. All developed to the specific scale of their real-life counterparts. Player faces, however, still lack that customisation at "smaller" teams, meaning even the most recognisable player that team has, will be generic footballer number four. Sad that EA don't do a new round of faces during the year that they develop the next game, instead electing to carry the last ones over with minor adjustments and additions.
The cosmetic side of the game has once again improved, as well as the additional control of 'RB+A' for the passing player to make a run. The goalkeepers are slightly better and more aware of the "sweaty" (read: Barcelona) goals that were scored on FIFA 12. Finesse shooting has been made less reliable, but is still there if the player doesn't power up as much as they would if they wanted to place it in the top corner, instead placing it under the keeper. Passing is also a little more manual, and the tackling has been made easier. Also included are mini-games (also available in the menu under 'Skill Games'), which you can earn medals for. These include free kick taking, penalty taking, chip shots, volleys, and so on. Scoring a set number of points for hitting/clearing targets will unlock the medals, unlocking achievements, XP and EASC Credits (remember, the bronze ones to buy things with!) to improve your playability. It's just a shame you can't buy a "turn all players into Dolphins" one once you've done it, because that would make my day.
Negatively, there are serious issues with the game's coding. One of the major problems is the lack of a visible ball in certain games. Yes. The ball disappears and doesn't come back.
EA claim that this is rare, however there are enough videos on the internet to tell you otherwise. And as of writing, I have not seen it patched, almost two months after the game was released.
Off-the-ball-player intelligence also seems to have nose-dived. Once upon a time, just looking at the player would have him setting off to run, either taking the defender with him to give you space, or for them to find space while the defender comes out to tackle you, by which point you will have put the ball into the runner. Now, the players make the run, but will stop randomly - usually as you're about to play the ball - like they believe themselves to be offside. In my opinion, it is down to the player to play the perfect ball. The runner should just keep running until he KNOWS he's offside, at which point he can wait for play to catch up, or run back onside.
The ability to control the runner was a feature added to Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 this year, and has opened a new dimension to how a manager should be able to control the team he's managing. FIFA will need something to combat this, as currently this surpasses FIFA's "Artificial Intelligence".
Online is the key player for FIFA 13 this year. EASC, as explained, is all server-based, meaning that the EA Servers know how much you have, how much you will earn and what you can and cannot buy from the shop. Along with that, Pro Clubs makes its triumphant return, only this time in a season format, where you can claim promotion as champions, or be relegated from your division. There's also an occasional cup window that opens and closes during points of the real-life months, allowing you to compete in something different and try and fill your trophy cabinet.
After much hassling from the FIFA community, EA have given in and implemented a filter to omit clubs that use Be A Pro Goalkeepers or use an 'Any' (control of all players, rather than one) from the search, making it a much more enjoyable experience. However, once again, EA presumably didn't test this feature, as it didn't work at launch. It didn't work weeks after launch, so I gave up on the game mode.
It also continues to pack a simple 1v1 season, which gives you 3pts for a win and 1 for a draw against your opponent in a short season, extending the playability of the online 1v1 mode without it getting tedious.
A note: all online features require an online pass. These cost 800 Microsoft Points (the equivalent of £8), so take this into account when considering buying a pre-owned copy. All BRAND NEW copies come with the pass inside.
Once again, EA Sports' biggest money-spinner is in. Create a club, or carry your club over from FIFA 12 (this should give you a bonus pack or two) and it's all about playing matches with your fantasy team and winning more coins to buy bigger, stronger, better and rarer players from packs or from the market.
Of course, once again, EA allows you to pay cash, or earn coins steadily by completing tasks during matches. Winning by a big margin, avoiding the use of fouls and not being caught offside all contribute to your points tally, so keep it simple, but a word of warning - watch out for addictive behaviour. This is like collecting cards and/or stickers back in the day, and if buying this for your kids, make sure they watch all the time. It's a gamble, buying packs and hoping for a rare card, but they are rare for a reason.
A major issue with this mode has been the disappearance of coins and players purchased with real money. EA have apparently looked into this issue, and patched it.
EAS FC, Ultimate Team, Online Seasons and the Skill Games, you can also play a career as a Player (Pro) or a Manager. This is slightly different, in that you can't be a Player-Manager now, unlike previous titles.
Other Game Modes include Tournaments and Be A Pro Friendlies.
The game is excellent and a clear improvement on the last year in places, but once again falls behind in others. The major issues that EA really should have noticed during the testing period are unacceptable, to the point where the BBC's Watchdog programme actually briefly covered the game on their show. There are still flaws that must be sorted out. Hopefully, before the Christmas rush, EA will have sorted them (on previous experience, you'll probably be waiting until FIFA 14 for them to be fixed) and it will justify its current price of around the £30 mark.
The service from EA lets this game down, as the patches are not forthcoming quick enough, nor are they frequent, however this has been the same for many FIFA games over the years, with the consumer just putting up with it.
If these problems affect you if you purchase the game, be aware of your return rights. Usually, the game cannot be returned once the seal has been broken.
UPDATE: Patches have been issued for the game, which have improved and fixed most issues listed above. Another will presumably come after the January transfer window has shut in the real world of football, updating players with new clubs and fixing other issues that may have been brought to attention.
Star rating improved to reflect these patches. The amount of time it has taken EA to implement these was considerable, however.
Summary: It will take some getting used to, but can be a thoroughly enjoyable game now that it's been patched