From the EUROs to the Olympics, it’s safe to say that this summer has been irrevocably important for the world of sport. While many kids have opted to drop the controller in order to pick up a pair of shinpads, the FIFA franchise remains a constant source of entertainment all around the world not just for gamers, but for tacticians and players alike. As each year progresses, FIFA excels in providing deeper, more intuitive gameplay alongside a net-load of nifty features that effortlessly extend its limitless shelf life – and yet despite its global reputation and all its success, gamers undoubtedly question the rationality of shelling out for full-priced annual releases. So with all that said, how far does the FIFA 13 demo push the next-gen envelope in preparation for the games’ full release on the 28th?
Graphically, you’d have to be one of the games’ developers in order to tell the difference between 12 and 13. The kits are naturally different and some player likenesses have improved (particularly Messi’s – but that is probably down to the fact he’s been the face of FIFA since 2012’s FIFA Street) but on the whole it’s the same old glossy FIFA graphics engine that we all know and love. Player injuries stand out more realistically now, with an arm-related injury being represented by a player falling violently to the floor and grasping their elbow like they’re doing step 3 of the Macarena. The menu system is virtually identical to that of FIFA 12’s; clear and classy with a nice white finish used to allow players to distinguish kit clashes far easier.
You may be happy to know that sound is back at its brilliant best, with the roar of the crowds perfectly complimenting the wonderful commentary that is provided as always by the FIFA faithful. Martin Tyler, Alan Smith, Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend are all back again to provide us with some in-depth analysis and background information on players, possession stats and their own footballing careers. The more hardcore veterans that live and breathe football may also be interested to know that Geoff Shreeves features this time round as Tyler and Tyldesley’s pitchside reporter – usually commentating on the status of a player’s injury. While this sounds like it adds more authenticity and entertainment to the overall experience, I’m afraid to say it falls flat on its knees and just sounds downright hilarious. My first game as Arsenal had Gervinho taken injured with a fractured wrist and with all of Jeff’s experience in the industry I was chuffed to hear him say “Ooh yeah, no it looks like he’s really hurt himself. I think it’s his arm.” Nice one Jeff.
Gameplay has seen another significant leap this year; a leap that seeks to iron out some of the kinks from the previous iterations whilst simultaneously adding a shed load of new ones in the process. I imagine the main “talking point” of FIFA 13 will be its refinement of the players’ first touch. Depending on how good the initial pass is, or indeed the skill of the player receiving the pass is – the first touch can now assist and hinder gamers looking to mount an attack. With a bit of refinement, hard work and elbow grease, I do believe that this new mechanism will work subtle wonders in beating defenders and setting up half-volleys – but that really does remain to be seen. On a similar note, attacking in general seems more difficult than usual. Scorelines (at least when playing on a higher difficulty) are now realistically low, with victory usually taking place with a one or two goal margin. Whilst the demo doesn’t allow you to play online, adjustments seem to have been promised for the better in all aspects of online play. The race to division one can now be experienced with a friend, playing split-screen or virally as a two-man team and the fan favourite “Ultimate Team” seems to have inherited some serious boosts as a result of its huge success in FIFA 12.
So what do you think – are you as excited as ever for this one? Or do you believe that this is the year which PES dominates?
Stay tuned for our full review on the 28th.