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FIFA Soccer 13 PS3 Review

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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FIFA Soccer 13

FIFA Soccer 13

Image © EA Sports
I am truly awful at the award-winning line of "FIFA Soccer" games. Just as in the real world, we all have the sports in which we excel and the ones in which we should be riding the bench. In real life, I used to be a reasonable baseball, tennis, and hockey player in my younger days. Soccer never worked for me. And, guess what? I'm equally unimpressive at fake soccer as well. Most hardcore sports game players have similar strengths and weaknesses. I'll take on any challenger in "Madden NFL 13" or "MLB 12 The Show" but to say I struggle with strategy and execution in "FIFA Soccer 13" would be an understatement. And so perhaps the biggest compliment I can pay this sure-to-be-hit is that I still think it's a stellar game even if I would never claim to take on any challengers in it.

Game Details

  • Publisher: EA Sports
  • Developer: EA Canada
  • ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
  • Genre: Sports
  • Pros: Fluid Animation, Deep Modes, Nice Learning Curve
  • Cons: Unlikely to Convert Those Not in Love with Soccer

EA Sports has mastered the art of not rocking the boat when it comes to their hit franchises. In other words, "FIFA Soccer 13" is not going to startle those who love "FIFA Soccer 12." You'll be able to pick up and play just as you did last year and most of the changes in this edition will come upon you slowly. If your mom or roommate catches you playing, they may not even notice a difference. These games are like annual releases of car models -- they may often cosmetically look the same and it takes getting behind the wheel to really sense the differences in handling and overall performance. Once you do start "driving" the new edition of "FIFA," you can feel the improvements and enhancements in what is arguably the most realistic soccer simulation ever produced.

Gameplay

FIFA Soccer 13

FIFA Soccer 13

Image © EA Sports

Electronic Arts loves to come up with catchy, scientific-sounding names for their new sports game mechanics. This time it's something called "First Touch Control," which gives the game an even-more fluid sense of motion and response to things like momentum and ball movement. There's also a new degree of A.I. in that players on both sides of the field behave more organically and naturally than in past editions. And they also stick to position much more than they have in soccer games in the past. There's a clear emphasis on increasing the A.I. in such a way that makes it feel like the players are working together and thinking a few moves ahead instead of just responding when they have the ball.

These enhancements are most notable in the spectacular "Career Mode," which allows you to take one player and build them into a superstar. I think "FIFA" is at its best in this mode, when you're controlling one player and seeing how seamlessly your avatar is working with his teammates and how your opponents are working against you. I didn't really get the love for "FIFA" in team mode and I'll admit that a lot of that is probably based on my lack of expertise in the sport of soccer to a degree that shows itself more prominently when I'm being asked to control an entire team. When it's just me working in and out of offense and defense, the realism of "FIFA Soccer 13" really shines. And scoring in "Career Mode"? It's one of the most satisfying experiences in simulated sports.

As with all modern EA Sports games, "FIFA Soccer 13" comes with a wide variety of modes. You can just pick up and play or you can get deeper in a variety of modes. There are standards like "Career" and "Season" and EA has now standardized the "Ultimate Team" mode across most of its games. "FIFA" includes something called "EA SPORTS Football Club" which uses real-life headlines and events in the sport to feed a community of sports fans with new challenges and updated player abilities. "FIFA" wants you to be able to play along with the actual events of your favorite sport.

There's a deep degree of authenticity in terms of the options given to players of "FIFA Soccer 13" as the game includes a stunning 30 leagues, 500 officially licensed clubs, and more than 15,000 players. You could never play them all. But it's the devotion to the sport that separates the best sports games from the lackluster ones. At every beat, it feels like the developers of "FIFA Soccer 13" know and love their sport. They definitely know it better than I do.

Graphics & Sound

"NHL 13" is still the most fluid sports game of the years in terms of graphics but "FIFA Soccer 13" is a very close second. You never see players that look out of position, run through other players, or do anything that doesn't seem physically possible. (Even the great "NCAA Football 13" and "Madden NFL 13" had moments that simply couldn't happen in the real world). There's an increased degree of realism to the graphics in "FIFA Soccer 13" that is something only EA Sports could accomplish. And, of course, the audio matches it at every turn. I played "FIFA Soccer 13" for hours across multiple modes and never saw a noticeable glitch or a graphics decision that didn't seem of a piece with this remarkable-looking game.

Overall

FIFA Soccer 13

FIFA Soccer 13

Image © EA Sports
I have to be honest with my response to all video games and I will say that you have to LOVE soccer to really love "FIFA Soccer 13." The incredible degree of realism both in an actual game and with the depth of modes and available players make for a title that is not as much for newcomers or amateurs as it is for the diehards. However, that's how it should be. One would hate a "FIFA" game that played down to the true fans of the sport in the hope of bringing in new ones. Those who truly love this franchise will find no reason to ignore this year's model.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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