FIFA 13 Soccer|
Iíve played soccer in one form or another for most of my life. Iíve played soccer videogames since we had a PC and an Atari 2600 and every system we got from then on. So having that many years of playing, I can honestly say that FIFA 13 on the Xbox 360 and PS3 are by far my favorite sports games of all time. Mobile soccer games have been a mixed bag. Sonyís PSP and Nintendoís DS were pretty nice, but phone based games have mostly been a real step backwards. They really had to be since the processing power of phones hasnít been very good until recently. Last year really started to see some major changes. The release of Appleís iPhone 4 put graphic intense games in the palm of every gamer.
Of course that meant soccer games were abundant. There are tons of soccer games on the Apple Marketplace, but only 3 that most people would consider serious contenders. Last year Gameloft's Real Soccer 2012, EA Sportsí FIFA 12, and Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) 2012 were all top notch. They all have slightly different strengths, but FIFA 12 was the winner on my iPhone. It had the best graphics and most licensed teams.
When I started playing soccer on the iOS, I of course assumed the gameplay would suffer. I was used to the Xbox 360 and the mountain of features to explore. When you move from disc based games to downloaded games, there is certainly a price to pay for mobilityÖ and in this case the price is storage space. FIFA 13 for iOS weighs in at 1.36GB. Thatís a pretty big investment for people with 8GB or 16GB iPhones. But the 1GB also holds the enhanced graphics for the iPad in the package. Itís a bit of a tradeoff. The fun of playing FIFA Soccer with the mobility of the iPhone means you have to sacrifice controls and a few features. But surprisingly, the core of FIFA 13 is alive and well on iOS.
FIFA 12 was a big leap for graphics. FIFA 13 is an even bigger leap. The textures and shading has greatly improvedÖ so much that I would put FIFA 13 far above a PS2 game. Everything from hair to specific player models has improved. But all that eye candy has a price to it. Playing FIFA 13 on an iPhone 4 is slightly slower than last year. The processor just canít keep up. It seems to have the most problems with wider camera angles when more players are visible. It gets a little frustrating when the CPU bogs down just about the time Iím winding up to shoot. The iPhone 4s improves rendering a great deal. FIFA 13 was optimized for iPhone 5 so of course it shines.
The mobile version of FIFA 13 Manager Mode has improved a great deal from last year. Not only is the interface much better, but there are many more options for improving your club including 10 levels for coaches, scouts and stadium manager. Each upgrade costs money and you have a limited budget. English Premier League teams have a much higher budget than MLS teams so pick your club wisely. One nice thing about playing in MLS in FIFA 13 is they donít mess with Eastern and Western conferences Ė they use one table as MLS should be but in reality isnít.
Controls have also improved a great deal. You now have options for left handed players, large buttons, large joystick, auto tackle, first touch, skill move grid and others. What that means for the average user is a lot more control over your player during the game. When you have the ball you now have a 4th button for skill moves. You press it and slide to a grid to pick the move. When on defense that button changes to call in a 2nd defender. Additionally, FIFA 13 includes the ďgamepadĒ control so you can use your iPhone as a controller on your iPad for FIFA 13. Gamepad was previously only a separate app. With the inclusion of this function it really puts FIFA 13 iOS in a class all by itself.
The improved graphics on iPad surpasses old generation consoles like the popular PS2 and is rapidly approaching recent consoles. Itís not there yet, but this basically has placed the iPhone and iPad on any travelers Ďmust haveí list. All thatís missing is a link to your consoles Ultimate Team mode. Maybe next year. FIFA 13 also includes linking to your YouTube account so you can upload your highlights or howlers. You can also update your squads with the latest trades and acquisitions via quick download from EA.
The detail level has improved throughout FIFA 13. There are over 40 stadiums included ranging from generic stadiums of different size to the renovated Wembley Stadium. The depth of features in FIFA 13 far exceeds what Iíve seen in other games and previous years. FIFA 13 now includes over 40 different stadiums, 22 officially licensed leagues, over 500 teams and over 15,000 licensed players.
EA has added the Saudi Pro League to its massive list of licensed leagues with the full list including: A-League (Australia), A. Bundesliga (Austria), Airtricity League (Republic of Ireland), Allsvenskan (Sweden), Barclays Premier League, npower Championship, league 1 & 2 (England), Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 (Germany), Eredivisie (Netherlands), K-League (Korea Republic), Liga Adelante & Liga BBVA (Spain), Liga MX (Mexico), Liga Portuguesa (Portugal), Liga do Brasil (Brazil), Ligue 1 & 2 (France), Major League Soccer (USA), Polska Liga (Poland), Pro League (Belgium), Raiffeisen Super League (Switzerland), Russian League (Russia), SPL (Scotland), Saudi Pro League (Saudi Arabia), Serie A & B (Italy), Superliga (Denmark), Tippeligaen (Norway). In addition there is the ďRest of the WorldĒ which now has 11 teams. Where most people want to play is the international teams which include 44 teams (up 2 from last year). The only teams I found missing compared to console versions are the MLS All-Star team and FIFAís Classic IX.
FIFA 13 once again has Clive Tyldesley with Andy Townsend providing commentary. While the commentary has less variety than consoles, just having it on there is a step up from previous years with just the crowd noise and occasional chants.
So what are you missing from the console version? Quite a bit actually. The core gameplay is there, as are the licensed teams. But missing are the creation centre, great skill games and Ultimate Team. Creation Centre basically lets you create your own teams and would require a lot of file transfers so that likely isnít going to come to FIFA on iOS, though it could be a separate app for use with the console. But the big missing pieces are the skill games and Ultimate Team. Skill games were introduced a few years ago on PSP and proved to be very addictive. They can be simple juggling to specific tactical games. Ultimate team is a trading card style game where you build your team by purchasing packs of cards. Itís horribly addictive. While EA does have a separate iOS app that links to your console account on Origin, it doesnít allow you to play games as your team on iOS devices. At least not yet.
Konami and Gameloft have yet to release updates to their soccer games on the iPhone so I can really only judge FIFA 13 against my favorite mobile soccer game from last year, FIFA 12. Given that, FIFA 13 is the best soccer game on iOS. The improved graphics and controls make it a necessity when Iím travelling. If it included Ultimate Team, I would be playing FIFA 13 in one form or another for an embarrassing number of hours every day.