The first and most obvious change has to do with each players’ first-touch capabilities. In the past, players could receive a lobbed pass as though the ball was glued to their foot. Now, the ball bounces and weaves realistically in the air, and a player’s ability to control it is dictated by their overall score – Cesc Fabregas can pluck a ball out of the air easier than, say, Joey Barton.
This opens up both defensive and offensive rethinks; a defender who is struggling to control a ball is easy picking for a decent attacking striker, for example.
The new physicality in on-the-pitch action is further helped by players being able to push and pull one another and their new ability to block other players running into space. The game’s impact engine has also been tweaked, so tackles no longer lead to unintentionally hilarious animations – instead, they look eye-wateringly painful.
FIFA 13: Gameplay
Players are also gifted a newfound agency with the ball through FIFA 13’s new dribbling controls. Built off the back of this year’s FIFA Street engine, FIFA 13 allows players to control the ball with amazing precision, and incredibly, the interface for this is breathtakingly simple – pull both triggers, toggle the left stick and you’re away.
EA Sports has also done a lot of work in the game’s Free-Kick mechanics. In the past, players were faced with only a couple of options – play the ball off to a nearby player or blast it towards goal. Now, attackers have a whole host of options, which include adding fake kick-takers, playing the ball into space and lobbing the ball forward for players to header it in.
Defenders also have a new set of choices when squaring up to a free kick. They can add players to a wall, shimmy their wall forward, mark potential header threats or storm towards the kick-taker once the whistle goes.
FIFA 13: Verdict
EA hasn’t revealed any features or modes beyond the new gameplay mechanics, but in truth, at this stage it doesn’t need to. The basics for their game are in place and the on-the-pitch experience feels rock solid. FIFA 13 is a giant stride on from its predecessor, to the point where FIFA 12 feels like an arcade game by comparison.
If the rest of FIFA 13 matches the quality of its new in-game experience, EA’s dominance of the football sim market is practically assured.
FIFA 13 plays like the best iteration of EA’s footie sim thus far. If the rest of the package matches the quality of the on-pitch action, football fans are in for a treat.
By T3 Magazine.