Review by bionicman_3090

"Disaster!"

Over the past couple of years, EA have edged out Konami's PES game in terms of practically everything. That's what everyone says. But the game play aspect kept both games in contention as to which one of them was the most realistic. EA introduced a few new features but the game play was always lacking, though enjoyable UNTIL FIFA 12. That game ruined practically everything with massively scripted outcomes of each match. PES on the other hand went the Arcade way to an extent, or so they said, to expand the fanbase and ended up alienating their hardcore fans. PES 12 got the formula right but the execution was off. PES 2013, in terms of actual game play, is almost perfect. EA's FIFA 13 on the other hand is a complete DISASTER! Read on and you'll see why.

Let's the get obvious out of the way. FIFA is miles ahead of PES when it comes to animations and graphics. Even the presentation has improved with FIFA while PES stood still. The game modes are better in FIFA than PES but Become A Legend mode, which is similar to FIFA's Be A Pro, is hands down better. The online features are better in FIFA whereas PES has run out of ideas to spice things up. That much is obvious.

Looking at the advertising, FIFA is supposed to be the Most Realistic ever. I say that's a grand lie. The game play is no where near realistic. Moreover, EA have blatantly COPIED some features of PES's game play and I'm not saying this 'cause that was big news before both games were released. I have both games, I've played them extensively and I've come to this conclusion. Point-by-point, I'll explain them to you....

1. First-Touch Controls:- PES has 1st-Touch controls where you have to manually trap the ball and bring it under control. You have 3 different ways of doing it. In the past, every player in FIFA had great first touch. But seeing as how FIFA 12 was nothing but pace-abusing garbage with atrocious AI, EA decided to steal this idea but like always, implemented it half-assedly. The 1st-Touch is very random and there is no sure-fire way to control it. Moreover, if you spend the time stringing 10 passes together, you're guaranteed that your player will miss-control the ball for the very next pass or a couple down the line. What's worse is the illogical thinking behind it. You see, if you can miss-control the ball while trying to bring it under control, you will screw up when passing the ball the first time, too. But this doesn't happen. For e.g., I play a long diagonal pass from my RB to LW. I have a possible chance of miss-controlling the ball with my LW if I try to bring it down. But if I play it on to my other team mate who's close to my LW or cross it on a volley, I have 100% success rate ALL THE TIME. How does this make sense?

2. Attacking AI:- PES, since a year or so ago, has had great AI which responds equally well in both, attack and defense. FIFA 12 had atrocious AI regardless of what you were doing. You had 90% chance that you'd be let down by your Dodos... I mean, team mates. This year, EA copied PES's attacking AI design of running into space when the chance arrives. But, yes you guessed it, EA has screwed it up. Now, don't get me wrong. The attacking AI is good when it comes to exploiting space but seriously, that is all they ever do without even responding to what my tactics are. For e.g., in a 4-2-3-1 formation, I use two CDM with Low Attack and High Defensive work-rate. I set the mentality to Ultra Defensive and still, those two CDM's charge into the opposition's box like madmen, leaving me completely vulnerable to counter-attacks, which I'll explain later. In PES, you can control where your players run, you can specify which players that you want to join in with the attack and so on. In FIFA, there's no such option. If there's space, your players will run into it. I'm surprised that the GK doesn't do this as well given how much thought EA has put into this. Sarcasm aside, here's another problem. Since you can't control where your player must go when he makes an off-the-ball run and this combined with super bad AI, almost all the time your player will make a run where he leaves the opposing defender enough space to intercept your pass 'cause unlike PES. In FIFA your player runs in a straight line and doesn't get in front of the defender to make it easy for you to play your pass.

3. Tactics and Response:- This is a very important aspect of the game as your players should respond to what tactics you've set. This doesn't happen in FIFA. Like I've said earlier, all your players care about is running blindly into space the moment you gain possession of the ball, even when you've set the mentality to Ultra Defensive. As a result, every game plays the same way. You press high up the pitch and start a speedy counter-attack. That's all you need to do in this game. If you set to any other tactic, your players still behave like they're going to spring a counter-attack EVEN WHEN YOU'VE SLOWED DOWN THE TEMPO and don't want to attack.

4. Player ID: EA advertised a lot about how the player ID resembles the real-life counter-parts. Well, after having played enough of both FIFA 12 and FIFA 13, EA's claims is a straight-up bluff. Maybe I'm being too hard. Let me re-phrase.. EA don't know what they're talking about. I tell you, go play PES and see how each player behaves on the field based on his traits and compare that to FIFA. You'll instantly know what I'm talking about. In PES, the players are unique and play their own game based on their specialties. For e.g., let's take a team like Southampton into consideration here. In real-life, Lallana acts like a dynamo, linking the midfield with the forwards, Schneiderlin sits in the centre and does the donkey work while passing the ball around, Rickie Lambert is a dynamite in the opposition's box but is quite ineffective when the ball isn't fed to him. The same is completely true in PES. Southampton's players behave like their real-life counter-parts and as a result, the team plays like the real-life one. The same is true with well known names like Juve, Barca, etc. This, as a result, gives each team its own brand of football.

This doesn't happen in FIFA. Every team, I mean EVERY TEAM, regardless of whether it's AZ Alkmaar or Shrewsbury, plays the same type of football. They pass the ball around and play it through the centre as if they're Barcelona. How stupid is that! Of all the time that I've spent playing this game, I've not counted more than 5 times where a team like Man Utd hasn't used the wings like they do in real-life. The ball goes through Cleverley, then it goes to Rooney who shoots from outside the box every time.

5. Manager and Player Mode:- This year, Player-Manager mode has been omitted 'cause "It doesn't happen too often in real life". What I think happened is since FIFA 12 screwed up by not having you as a Player-Manager when you changed clubs, EA couldn't fix this within this deadline and thus, you don't have this game mode anymore.

The Manager Mode however has included option of managing national teams as well and this is welcome. But you get to manage both the Club as well as a National team. Egad! This does happen all the time, doesn't it? There is a vast collection of available National Teams as well. But this mode isn't without problems as the save game gets corrupted for no reason. This is apart for the Free-Agents bug. Another thing to worry about here is the job offers. You get them before the transfer window of a new season and towards the end of the season. But if you apply for a new job during the month of February or even later, you're expected to drop your current club and move to the new one. For e.g., I was managing FC Twente and browsing through potential job offers showed that Liverpool was available. So I applied. I had only the CL final remaining and Liverpool accepted me to be their manager. But I had to choose right there. I stalled the agreement and forwarded the date and saw that Liverpool were no longer available. So, I reloaded the save, accepted Liverpool's offer and the next option for me is ditch Twente's final match and move to Liverpool right away. EA Logic.

Player Mode or Be A Pro has now been divided into Offline and Online parts 'cause of all the exploits. But EA have complete butchered the offline component. Yes, you still have achievements, yes the achievements aren't ridiculously grindy in nature and they make sense but you can't carry over the unlocked achievements to another play-through. Each unlock is saved to the current Pro. I can't use that Pro in Manager Mode either. So, if I want to start a new Be A Pro mode, I have to create a new a Pro and start from scratch. More EA Logic.

6. More stupidity:- This will require sub-sections...
(a) The scripting in this is even worse than before. At least in FIFA 12, the stupid Momentum feature would kick in when a team would start playing well. In FIFA 13, the momentum swings away from you the moment you score a goal. Due to this, the opposition come flying at you and your AI team mates go to sleep. So, the moment you score, you get scored on. If, by a miracle, you prevent this from happening, then that momentum swings back into your favor and you suddenly find yourself facing road-kill. You dance over the opposition, score, make it 2-0 and try to compensate for your team mates' lack of intelligence by bracing yourself against the opposition who again, come flying at you. It's predictable, it isn't fresh and it's childish.

(b) In FIFA 12, using Finesse shots meant that you never failed at scoring. Due to all the complaints, EA decided to nerf it but, guess what? They made Long Ranged shots more effective than before. So now you have an easier way to score. Just have someone in your team who has great Long Shot ability, give him the ball and drive it towards the goal from 25 yards out. Hallelujah! You've scored. Now, let's prepare ourselves for the onslaught from the opposition 'cause my team mates want a break from Intelligence and repeat the long range shot trick again.

(c) The GK has super-human ability but ONLY when you shoot with a lot of power. The GK can make miraculous saves regardless of where you aim your shot but if you apply barely enough power over your shot, then the GK will struggle to even parry the ball away regardless of whether it is moving towards the far post or next to his feet. So remember, folks. Powerful, well-aimed shots => BAD. Low, driven shots moving at snail's pace => GOAL!

(d) There are a whole bunch of online features but what's the point when you have so much trouble maintaining connection over the course of 2 hours? Worse yet, sometimes you can't even connect to the server.

(e) EA released a patch recently and stated that "Half of the issues have been solved by this patch alone". But what about the other, more important, game-breaking half of the bugs? EA have no answer, nor should you expect one. Remember back in FIFA 11 where keyboard+Mouse compatibility patch was released but in turn caused havoc in Manager Mode by duplicating teams and that was never fixed?

(f) Game-Speed is another major issue with this game. Who thought that increasing the game speed would be a good thing? No, you can't fix it 'cause Slow game speed in FIFA 13 is like Normal speed of FIFA 12 and even that was unrealistic. In FIFA 13, the game speed is so fast that everything is twitchy, passing feels hurried, the ball flies along the ground, the AI react super-humanly and the game feels like Table Tennis.

(g) Attacking AI has been given a boost but since EA always work towards a dead-line, they don't care if their game is garbage as long as they sell. As a result, the Defensive AI has been completely over-looked. What they've done is increase the effectiveness of the automatic, hold-down-the-contain-button game play and taken the "Intelligence" out of AI for the defenders. So now, you can end up scorelines like 5-3, 6-5, etc more often than a 1-1 or 2-0. In fact, it's almost impossible NOT to score with every attack. The only thing to worry about is the opposing AI defenders having near perfect tackling accuracy. Don't be surprised when FIFA 14 is released with a feature mentioning "Defensive AI" or some crap.

Final Thoughts :- I have more complaints to list out and these definitely out-weight ALL the small, tiny and marginal improvements that FIFA 13 has seen. This is by far, not only the worst football game ever made but the worst game ever made. Stay away from this buggy, uninspired, collection-of-stolen-ideas-but-implemented-without-thought farce. I've been a fan of the FIFA series and bought every copy since 1999. I've always stuck by this franchise but over the last couple of years, I've grown tired of all the nonsense. I bought PES 2013 this year after having the played the demo and apart for the lack of a whole lot of game modes, the game play alone has made it a worth while investment. I'm still wondering why I gave EA a chance and bought FIFA 13. Again, stay away from this game.


Reviewer's Score: 2/10 | Originally Posted: 11/05/12

Game Release: FIFA Soccer 13 (US, 09/25/12)


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