FIFA 13 review for Xbox 360, PS3

Platform: Xbox 360
Also On: PS3
Publisher: EA
Developer: EA Canada
Medium: DVD-ROM
Players: 1-22
Online: Yes

Year in and year out, the FIFA series continues to win many ?best of? awards in sports gaming by publications. This is all well deserved as it is the most vastly improved, solid, consistently satisfying and gratifying sports game on the market. Even fans who don?t like to watch the sport find themselves falling in love with the accomplishments EA has delivered. This year is no different as EA Sports has taken the best of what fans love, and has not only improved the visuals, audio, and game play, but added new and innovative ways for gamers to play the game as well. While it?s hard to keep recreating yourself year after year, or sometimes every 6 months due to World Cup series, the FIFA series never fails on delivering something new to fans that have been loyal to the series for many years.

While FIFA 13 adds so much to the series, there is one place the game did not take a step forward in, and this is the visuals as far a player models and stadiums go. Sure there is a new physics engine that implements better contact points from the ball to player on player contact, but minus a new introduction set up to your games, the games on the pitch look very similar to last year?s game, which still looks fantastic mind you, just not the ?face lift? other EA Sports franchises have undergone recently. The commentary still is fantastic, but as I mentioned in my NHL review, I think this series also needs to change up the team, as while they say new play by play commentary remarks, the fact we have had these two calling the games for many years is starting to grow stale and you will quickly tune them out.

Now that I have gotten what little ?negative Nancy? things I have to say, here is why FIFA 13 is a must buy whether you are a long time follower, first time footballer, or just a casual sports fan, and that is accessibility. You have tons of teams, modes, online and offline features, and a new and improved A.I. that adapts very well to how you play. This will keep you on your toes and force you to break up the predictability. Another reason this can be possible is a new physics system that is so real that the trajectory of shots, passes, and bounces off players and cross bars are not canned, pre set, or controlled to keep things on the pitch but flow as if the ball actually has to obey Newton?s laws of gravity. Want more ground-breaking game play additions? How would you feel about true and complete dribbling control on the pitch that allows you to become more creative when setting up attack plays or just making your way up the field to get into better position? It is the immersive and full 360 degree controls that allow you to attack and defend better than you have in any edition of the FIFA series. This goes all without even bringing up the game?s new A.I. that will work harder and smarter to break down defenses, make runs to pull players out of position, open up passing channels for team mates, and attacking on the pitch as if they are thinking two steps ahead of the play. So you must be on your toes and really outthink the CPU if you are going to be successful in FIFA 13.

While all your favorite modes have returned, from exhibition to Ultimate Team, the implantation of a new Career mode has to be the most addicting single player mode the developers have featured in this series since the day it was conceived. It is your job to compete for cup and country as you begin by choosing your team that you wish to become the ?next big thing?. What?s important is you have to perform well game-in and game-out as all eyes are on you to bring a franchise to winning form. If you are successful, you obviously reap the fruits of your rewards, but if you are lacking in progress, you may be shifted to another position, pulled from the starting lineup, or worse, be offered up for dibs from other teams around the league.

So whether you are playing a friendly or a cup game, you must always be the best that you can be since you are ranked on your play that day, and in the end, that can make you a hero or zero in the eyes of your franchise. Of course you can upgrade your player by earning skill points with game play and successful games, as well as using Game Face to put your own face in the game?for better or worse. The drama from game to game and the pressure to impress makes this mode the most addicting mode I?ve experienced in all my years with this franchise. While the series has implemented something like this before, the complete interaction that you receive between games, providing you with the initiative to improve, just makes this year?s version unsurpassed.

If you are all about the online, FIFA has all the modes you would hope for and even has a new Football Club that allows you to unlock and purchase new rewards as well as reliving real world storylines and even a play of the day that are ripped straight from the headlines around the world. This all goes without getting back into the fan-favorite Online Franchise and Ultimate Team modes that will keep you playing far into the season?or at least until FIFA 14 is released.

All in all you can?t go wrong picking up this year?s FIFA edition, even if you have played for years or this is your first time with the series. This is the pinnacle year to dive into as it is the most complete package yet with great visuals, commentary, deep game play modes for online and offline players, and a wealth of customization options that will keep you firmly planted in your favorite gaming chair for many many hours on end. While the NFL is America?s football, fans of the FIFA franchise will scoff and say, there is only one game of football for the world?and that?s soccer.

Grade: B+