Thursday, 22 November 2012

Review: FIFA 13 (360, PS3)

As the fidelity of gaming hardware continues to ramp up and be exploited to its full potential, the further sports games seem to be going afield to be even more authentic in an attempt to capture the feel and look of the game. For both the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of FIFA 13 the incredible production values and attention to detail are more or less astounding but because of that the game will more than likely baffle players that aren't already acclimated to the FIFA experience.

Case in point: Me.

It has taken me an inordinate amount of time to review both the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of FIFA for this very reason.

Even taking into account the waist deep number of sliders and options to turn things on and off, the first dozen (or so) hours was spent just trying to accomplish the most basic functions: passing and shooting.

There's no laser guidance system here. Even the simplest of passes can result in a turnover (and a goal) if one isn't paying attention. FIFA 13 isn't on the same level as a dedicated flight sim in its adherence to realism, but in the early going it certainly felt like it. As a result, the ebb and flow, and motion of a game played by pros -- and me, eventually, though not professionally -- really does capture the look and "ambience" of a television broadcast.

Getting to that level, acquiring some mastery of the game mechanics, will take some time for new player. And if I wasn't playing this for review purposes, I think I would have abandoned the game long before achieving that level of comfort and expertise. Once at that level, I started to feel like I was having fun with the game, but I also felt much more satisfied with my play because I wasn't whiffing on shots and corner kicks actually meant something.

Even with all that time poured into the game, I'm still freshman when it comes to the reality of the "real world" game, in that I don't know the names of players; if entire teams were missing from the roster of playable teams I wouldn't notice; sometimes a penalty would come up and I didn't know if it was justified or if the refs just suck; stats were absolutely meaningless to me for the most part but players that take this information seriously may take issue with some of the stats. Ignorance is bliss, I suppose.

During my play time with both the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 versions I didn't net some of the truly atrocious-sounding glitches and bugs reported by some players, especially online. I did run across a few crashes -- more on the 360 -- and instances of stuttering during matches, which can get in the way of the necessary anticipation and precision of setting up plays while running down the field. The crashing/freezing is more of a problem especially with the number of statistics being tracked and when this happened, I always anticipated that my save data would somehow be corrupted. In Career mode, a corrupted save file would be enough to break some people.

While it's not a pick-up and play title, FIFA 13 is a good couch game to play with friends, whether they are soccer/football fans or not. They may not appreciate what's happening in the background of the game, the ball physics, or even understand the nuances of the game (not just FIFA 13, but soccer in general), but it still manages to be fun. And if they're not playing, watching is almost like catching a match on TV.

- D.D. Nunavut

The Good:
- Very good looking game
- Ebb and flow, and physics of a televised game
- Lots of different modes to take advantage of

The Bad:
- You really have to dedicate some serious time to learning how to play
- More technical issues than you'd think

Score: 8.0 / 10