FIFA Soccer 13|
Okay…we’re going to keep this simple. Since you are reading this review I’ll assume you own a Vita so continue reading…
Do you own FIFA Soccer that released earlier this year when the PS Vita launched? If YES, stop reading and I’ll see you next year. If NO, continue reading…
There was a bit of déjà vu with this review as it was six months ago I joined the team here at Game Chronicles and FIFA Soccer was my debut review. Not only was it my first review, it was also one of the first games I played on my new Vita. As mentioned in that review, I’m not the biggest soccer fan out there, but I am the only soccer fan with a Vita here at GCM, and I do know enough about the sport to know what makes a good soccer game. Sadly, FIFA Soccer 13 is not a good game. It’s not really a bad game either, but more of a lazy update of the game you likely played six months ago and is probably collecting dust on your shelf right now.
Despite the big red “13” on the cover, this game has virtually none of the features that made the console version one of the best-selling sports titles in EA’s history. It had been 4-5 months since I had played FIFA Soccer, but even out of the box FIFA 13 smacked of repurposed assets and game code. Even during my review I was popping my old copy in and out of the Vita to compare ames, and the improvements, both graphically and in gameplay are marginal at best, with some elements still dating back to FIFA 11 code. I had a wishlist of things I wanted to see in FIFA 13 when I did my previous review and none of those items made it in – not even the easy-to-implement ones.
The outstanding multiplayer aspects of the console version are still limited to a two-player infrastructure mode that suffers from horrible lag and framerate issues, which ultimately leaves you with a stunted single-player experience where you can create your Pro and take him on a 15-year Career, or do the same with any real-life pro. If you prefer a hands-off experience you can assume the role of manager and handle all the boring paperwork and backroom deals associated with the sport. For those looking for casual soccer, you have quick matches and various tournaments that can be completed in the time it takes to ride the train to work (or whatever it is you do when you play your Vita). And of course there are all sorts of Trophies to collect for playing and performing well in these various modes.
While gameplay is functional and fun it is nearly identical to what we played six months ago, and you can buy that game for $20 or less now. We still have no EA Sports Football Club for online and no Ultimate Team – seriously EA – what better platform for a “trading card” system than a portable Vita with NEAR functionality where you can trade players/cards as you pass other Vita owners on the street, on a bus, or at a game con. It’s almost as if EA has no faith in the Vita, and if they continue to dis the system this way, I have my doubts about the Vita’s lifespan. No system can survive on just first-party releases.
If you can get the online mode to work well enough to finish a game you can enjoy ranked and unranked matches with leaderboards, but it’s all with your own friends. There is nothing close to the organized tournament structure we’re seeing on the console releases. Perhaps the most ridiculous omission is the complete absence of the highly addictive skill games from the console. These are the very types of short arcade-style games that are best suited for handheld gaming, and they are inexplicably gone. I'm guessing that if EA had included them most people would play nothing but the mini-games.
I wasn’t all that enthused with the Vita functionality six months ago as far as touch screen and rear pad controls, and as you might expect from the tone of this review, those have not changed, meaning no updates and no improvements, so they are just as worthless as the last game. Taking your hands off of two perfectly good analog sticks to fiddle with some gimmicky touch screen is ludicrous and the rear touch pad is just an accidental input waiting to happen - why can't I turn this off?. And since this game is so far removed from the PS3 version of FIFA 13 I was not surprised to find there is still no cross-play or cloud save integration between Vita and PS3. How could there be?
FIFA 13 looks just as good; perhaps a tad better than the game I played in March, with nice attention to detail in the stadiums, player models, animations, and even the presentation and menus. It has that classic look and style of any EA Sports title. The text can still be a bit too small to read, even for those with 20/20. They really need to up that font size. The sound is also good with commentary from the broadcast booth and cool stadium sounds and chants. The licensed music tracks are also quite good, but the playlist is disappointingly short.
I’m going to have to give FIFA Soccer 13 a pretty low score. Diehard soccer fans with a Vita probably already own FIFA Soccer and if so, I can’t think of a single reason to upgrade to this barely-enhanced sequel unless you really want those roster updates. And if you don’t own a soccer game for your Vita, I’d have a hard time recommending you reward EA for this pathetic effort at what can only be described as a scandalous sequel. Wait for a severe price drop or just get the old game for half the price. We can only hope that EA starts fresh with FIFA 14. If they try to milk the FIFA 11 code next year I may just have to give up on portable soccer forever.