Today after work I got home and downloaded the new FIFA 13 Demo. I was very excited about it. I reviewed the demo of PES 2013 on here before which you may remember. In said review I explained I went in with the notion that many old school beleaguered Pro Evo fans have…”Just don’t embarrass yourselves” but it turned out to be excellent! A real return to form. I rediscovered my love for Pro Evo (I refuse to call it ‘PES’) and stated it was back. Epic, really really great demo.
I went in to the FIFA 13 demo today with the exact opposite mindset. I booted up the demo once it downloaded, selected my team and bombed straight in. I cared not for any bullshit flim-flam menu options or modes that are obviously locked until the final disc version. Why bother with stuff I cannot use yet? This review of a demo, like the Pro Evo one, is about gameplay.
It’s brilliant. It is absolutely brilliant. I went in expecting sweeping changes and huge overhauls based on FIFA 12 and it’s basic errors – they are all there folks. I loved FIFA 12 and played it to death if I’m honest. But when you play something that much you eventually find issues. There were very exploitable gameplay issues in FIFA 12 that led to me developing a system that ruined peoples minds online… I call it The Steve System.
From what I can tell from playing the demo for a few hours all of these issues have been fixed or at least looked at. The collective AI of a team is less predictable and that will also work whole you’re playing your mates. Defenders are less dimwitted and hold their ground while also picking the right point to intercept a pass, works well so far.
I cannot find any glaring bugs, there are some that have worked once or twice but nothing as massive as last year. Let’s move on to the actual attacking side of it. It genuinely is worlds ahead of FIFA 12. Picking up the ball in midfield with 5 yards of space to stroll in to leaves you with a multitude of options due to the new “Attacking Intelligence” feature. I have never been one to go in for what I call Dev-Speak, so let’s just refer to it as “Forwards actually run…intelligence” shall we? For the purposes of this demo I played as Man City as they were the best of the four teams available. I picked up the ball with Yaya Toure countless times with a few yards of space on front of me just in the centre circle. In FIFA 12 you would look at the wings for a pass to play or ever a forward to bounce the ball off to create a forward run then a sly through ball fooling the fuckwitted defense. In FIFA 13 the second you pick up a ball in that position players will visibly call for the ball. Rather than raising their hands pointlessly like in 12 they will angle their bodies to an area of space they can run in to. A lot of the time I wouldn’t even need to plan out an attack as a player would make the call for me based on what he is very visibly showing me on screen. If I picked the ball up with Yaya Toure I had the option of Tevez, Aguero, Nasri and Silva…all screaming for the ball and all looking like viable options after a few plays (or cleansing of FIFA 12 ideas). The trick is to spot the one perfect pass which is always there. Huge improvement.
These sort of situations in FIFA 12 were multiple but, admit it, you gave up on them after being burned many many many times. Players would show for the ball but never make an effort once you played it. This is thankfully gone. If a player motions for a run he is going to work his digital balls off to get there ahead of a defender or goalkeeper. Believe your forwards. This may sound like another AI failure but it is not. The AI teammate has analyzed the chance of success and indicated to you that the chance is on. Sure, you’ll need to work hard to get to the ball once played but it works wonderfully. That comes down to the Physical Impact Engine 2.0 but il come back to that. Remind me won’t you?
I decided to test this new attacker intelligence out. I picked up the ball with Toure again and motioned toward the goal. Once again Tevez, Aguero, Nasri and Silva all presented options for a cutting through ball. I decided to take a few strides to the left wing to see what would happen. The second I pulled that direction Nasri stopped his run directly toward goal and went out left to offer a pass to the wing. In the same vein Tevez curled his run to pull up at the edge of box offering a quick 1-2 or a chance at goal while Aguero peeled off to the back post to show for a deep cross. This gave me a few options but the most interesting change in attack based on a slight change in my direction was the movement of Silva, the player playing on the right. I moved left and Nasri reacts pulling further left to give me a crossing option. Both Strikers react offering short and long options but what about the player running on the right which was at the top of the screen? The second I passed the ball to Nasri on the left Silva moved more central outside the box. This means that he is there for a loose ball after a cross that both strikers have anticipated. Should the ball spill to him he’s in prime position to smack it home. I cannot wait to try this with Man United to see Paul Scholes bury a ball from 25 yards. But you know me…I tested it a bit further. I passed to Nasri and played a one two with him. I got the ball back with Toure and Silva is now free in his now picked up edge of the box position. I squared it to him and the two strikers reacted, changed their runs for short through balls. Both on. I gave it Aguero on the right and buried it top corner near post. It’s brilliant if you can think past FIFA 12, test it and you will be rewarded with time and space. They clearly have ripped this engine out and changed it dramatically. So many options and too little time. Perfect.
So the runs are perfect and the defense is better, it’s confusing to comment on it but it works so well. A little thought goes a long way. Your tried and tested FIFA methods will not work here. Make no mistake, this is a vastly different game. I could go into a lot more detail but I will just touch on the three biggest and game altering changes to this FIFA from the last. These will be presented in a gathering level of importance.
First Touch Control
Finally. Guys playing for Scunthorpe United will not trap the ball like Messi. First touch completely changes the approach you take. You really need to think about the player you are passing to. Will he control this pass from distance in enough time to take it past a defender? It is a trial and error thing. Know your team folks. Short slow passes in good conditions are fine but if you were to play a 40 yard bullet from Scholes to somebody useless like say …Nani…in the rain…you’re gonna have a little bit of an issue. The player will need a second to control it usually losing whatever advantage in space they had.
On the flip side if you give it to somebody like Tevez he will control it instantly and realistically, burn a defender and if the pass was right you’re in on goal sir…tap it home, it is it’s home, send him home. Tapa Tapa Tapa.
Once again there are a few things that really shine here. Say you play a quick through ball across a 10 yard space to Tevez who is in full flight running forward. The new AI rules kick in. This produces an air of unpredictability. Take the control of Tevez, the pace of the pass on the ground and the speed he is moving…this is great. If turn your run across the ball at that combined pace of ball and man he’s going to knock it on and maybe not do too well depending on the positioning of the defenders. He could burn them all and go in at the near post or completely fall over the ball. Iv seen both using different players! However, if you slow down just before you recieve it, turn the player towards the direction the ball is traveling you will have a better chance at containing it. Often I have dealt with a drilled pass doing this, and depending on the pace of the ball, it skipped up beautifully while i was moving past a defender leaving me open to bury a volley into the near corner…from 25 yards. It’s awesome.
Physical Impact Engine 2.0
Let’s face it. It was a bit shit last year wasn’t it? The newer refined engine is far better. If you take in the first touch system it is leagues ahead of it’s glitchy predecessor. A player fails to control a ball and your defender pounces…his ball. It works superbly.
In terms of attack it works even better in crossing situations. Bigger stronger strikers will destroy defenders if they are deemed as being able to out muscle them or have a better jump rating. It’s so perfect it hurts.
My number one complaint about last years FIFA was the ball mixed with the poor passing lanes. So the passing lanes have been fixed and are better than ever…has the ball been sorted? Yip!
The trajectory of lofted through balls is the biggest change from the last one. Previously if you tried to lob a through ball over a line of defenders it would completely mess up. Either the defenders would get there or the ball would skip on the ground to the goalkeeper. Not every time but most of the time. Now they have a little back spin on them and a higher trajectory. Mix that with the new first touch system and the new player run AI you’ve got a potent mix of splendiferousness. Yes, that is a word, I invented it.
FIFA 13 is leagues ahead of FIFA 12, certainly worth spending your sweet cash to get it. This is the best FIFA ever made and should be marketed as such. Speaking of marketing I think EA have missed an opportunity here. This game is wildly unpredictable due to all of the new features, in a good way. I played about twenty games and no two were the same. Heed my words EA! Change strategies!
So PES 2013 or FIFA 13 you ask? The quick answer is buy both of them. This is the first time since 1999 that both games have been excellent. They are launching a week apart which won’t help PES grab customers but I will be singing it praises to my customers on it’s behalf…you’re welcome Konami. Hire me please, I hate my life!
So which is better you ask? Let’s just put it this way. Lionel Messi is on the cover of FIFA 13 while Cristiano Ronaldo is on the cover of PES 2013. Messi is the better player but not by much. The same goes for FIFA. It is the better game…but not by much.
To the ManCave!