This game is suitable for Little Gamers
Football, the beautiful game. The national game which both unites and divides and a sport which probably has the most passionate fans. I should say now, I am not one of them. Don't get me wrong, I like football and every two years I sit down for the World Cup or Euro's and watch as many matches that I can. It's just I can't get into supporting a team week in, week out. This may be down to the fact that my family team was Norwich City (and I was the only kid in school with a bright yellow and green football kit).
So, when it comes to taking this loved sport and pastime and making it into a video game, you better have thick skin. Nothing enrages gamers quicker than seeing their sport not being treated right and their rage can spread across forums quicker than fire.
The Fifa franchise is no stranger to criticism. After the transition to 3D engines, the FIFA franchise was always second place to the almighty Pro Evolution Soccer. Although, recently the balance of power has shifted and FIFA has reigned for the last few years. So when the Vita was released boasting PS3 quality gaming, the expectations for a FIFA game were high. FIFA Football didn't deliver the experience the fans of the series wanted. With frame rate issues, gameplay based on FIFA 11 not FIFA 12 and with many of the single and multiplayer modes missing, the first FIFA title on the Vita was a rushed launch title.
Now FIFA 13 has been released and the internet was full of fury. The backlash was so much that it made me doubt purchasing the it at all. In the end I did pick it up and having spent a few weeks playing it, I think it is only fair to present both sides of the FIFA 13 debate.
FIFA 13 - The case against:
The feeling across the gaming forums all rang the same tune. FIFA 13 is a roster update posing as a new game. The game engine is still based on FIFA 11 and it would appear the EA have done the dirty and Vita fans wanting the full on FIFA experience they have on their home consoles. Whilst online modes are now better, complaints of incredible lag making the game not playable.
Many people felt EA was charging £40 for little more than a patch to FIFA Soccer boxed up with a new titles and a roster and kit update. No Ultimate Team, no Create a Club options and no Head to Head Seasons online. A quick look at Metacritic shows the user reaction to FIFA 13 on the Vita and it isn't pretty.
FIFA 13 - The case for:
Although the case against is pretty damning it should be said that there are improvements to the game. The first thing to mention is the improved frame rate and smoother player animations. The impact engine does appear to be there, although in a very cut down form. The career mode has been improved and the new online modes are better than the previous offering. The AI is better, the passing, first touch and dribbling is better. Oh and Saudi Arabian teams have been added.
So there you have it, the cases for and against. Personally, for me, FIFA 13 is everything I want from a portable football game. Having spent a lot time on trains recently, I have been getting to grips with the career mode. The game plays beautifully and the controls are really responsive. Passing and shooting are done via the buttons or via the touch screen and rear touch pad. While it is nice feature, thankfully you can turn the rear touch controls off. The graphics are sharp and although the frame rate can dip in places, overall the game runs smoothly. The presentation is all done with the usual slick EA Sports style, although lacking in music over previous efforts. Not a big thing for a football game, I know, but there is only so many times I can listen to that Reverend & The Makers track. The online matches I have played have been ok and thankfully fairly lag free. I still lost all of them though.
FIFA 13 is the best handheld football package I have played and whilst it is not up to the standards of the current home versions, it is getting there. Maybe FIFA 14 will be the answer to the fans prayers. In the meantime though, If you don't already have a football game on your Vita yet, give FIFA 13 a go.
Verdict - 6 out of 10