The freight train that is the FIFA franchise continues to barrel down the tracks, and FIFA 13 looks like it's showing no signs of slowing down. Some of the additions this year might end up being more of a novelty, such as the Kinect-based profanity detection, but there are some genuinely good ideas being implemented to help players improve some of their peripheral skills as well as have more options when on the pitch.
First-Touch Control, AI Tweaks and Career Mode
With first-touch control, FIFA 13 aims to remove the ball from being locked to a player's foot. The developers have stated how the ball will react independently, and it may bounce around or up against a player's chest. The speed and direction will dictate how the ball behaves, but it apparently isn't random. This should create more separation between the player and the ball, and the developers hope that this will result in more variety in the ball interaction and open up new scoring opportunities.
According to the developers, there have been other AI tweaks as well, creating new offensive and defensive opportunities. In particular, Nick Channon, producer at EA Canada, says that there will be an increased emphasis on runs during gameplay, whether that be up the middle of the pitch or on the outside. He claims that AI will be able to execute curved runs around the defense, getting on their back shoulder and putting them off balance. It's also said that defensive AI will track opposing runners more effectively, but skilled human opposition will be the only way to see if this is actually true.
The biggest addition to the career mode is the inclusion of international competition, allowing you play and manage international tournaments and events. There is even a separate hub for this international activity, and you can field job offers for various countries in the middle of your existing club career mode. Squad selection for the international competition will be focused on heavily, and you'll be able to take place in all of the qualifying rounds for the Euros, the World Cup and the Confederations Cup. Other notable features include an overhauled “Soccer Saturday” presentation between matches, a reworked transfer system, and freak injuries for players occurring off the pitch.
One of the more subtle but possibly meaningful changes this year is the inclusion of skill games. The cool thing is that these aren't just for new players, though, as FIFA veterans will be able to sharpen their skills in some of the more advanced ball-handling and shot-placing areas of the game. I've always thought FIFA (and many other games, for that matter) needed a mode like this. It's important to give people context on how many of the nuances of the controls work. It's one thing to say: “Set up for a volley!”; it's another to actually show someone where they should be standing to actually perfect the technique.
There will be skill games that allow you to improve your dribbling, especially on the outside of the pitch. This will be helpful for teaching players how to create runs on the outside or control the ball in the proverbial phone booth. Just the same, there's a neat ball-control exercise in the middle of the field that encourages manual passing — a really cool way of introducing this control concept. There are tons of shooting drills that allow you to practice hitting targets or garbage bins as well, with specific exercises tasking you with shooting around an actual wall or hitting specific targets in the net with chips and finesse shots.
Kinect / Move Support
Maybe the FIFA13 development team realized that the Kinect camera wouldn't allow for much in the way of actual gameplay control, as they've elected to focus solely on voice support (however, the Playstation Move will allow for full gameplay control). While kind of amusing, it is a bit gimmicky that the game will detect how often you swear and what you say, complete with localized curses and profanity. The devs aren't saying which words are going to be included, for obvious reasons, but the referee might treat you more severely if you pipe up too much, or the post-game recap may comment on your mood.
What's more intriguing is the inclusion of voice support for tactics, formations and menu control. It could be very helpful, especially online, to be able to call out different camera controls so that you can switch between “Be A Pro” and “broadcast” on the fly. Just the same, calling out player strategies and formations without having to go into menus could actually enhance the experience that much more, removing the annoyance of having to pause the game and apply all of the changes. Certain strategies will also change all associated sliders and settings as well, not requiring you to set each option individually. This voice support is heavily customizable as well.
Here's what some of you are saying about FIFA 13 on the boards.
In regards to skill games, user “MrGameW1nner” says this:
|“That is absolutely beautiful. This means more people can learn how to play real soccer. This benefits everyone especially people who play online. More games in general should adopt this mentality. They are not hiding anything. They have opened the whole game up.”|
User “ImaGamer_OS” sounds excited in general:
|“I cannot wait for FIFA13 to drop. From all reports it's going to be their best release yet. I have pre-ordered the Collector's Edition anticipating that this game will be talked about like NCAA 2005 was/is back in the day.”|
User “ZoneBlitz” has some reservations about a nagging problem with the FIFA franchise:
|“This is, every year, what stops me from buying FIFA and sends me to PES. These improvements are awesome, but they are utterly meaningless since all the teams play the same. It is shocking to see them ignore this year after year. FIFA would be nirvana if all teams played like they do in real life. I am hoping they are working on something and just not telling us.”|
Finally, user “Yeats” says this:
|“FIFA 12 is the only game I play these days, and that's been going on for months now. That said, I won't be buying FIFA 13 until at least next spring when the price comes down, and when modders like Fidel have perfected gameplay mods for it. These sports games are all just too similar to be forking out money for them on an annual basis, and usually don't amount to much more than roster updates. Plus I'm just now starting to perfect FIFA 12's gameplay via edits and tweaks. It'll definitely keep me happy for a long time to come.”|
There are certainly some cool additions to this year's game, with first-touch control and skill games seeming like actual useful additions that will allow players to have better control and teach them a thing or two about the techniques at their disposal. Hopefully a lot of the subtle gameplay tweaks and fixes that the OS community has been asking about are addressed so that the overall product delivers on all fronts, without compromise.