In this week’s Backpage, football journalist and FIFA fan Darren Cross reveals why every game in EA SPORTS FIFA 13 feels unique…
I’ve had an early version of EA SPORTS FIFA 13 for couple of weeks now.
At least, I think it’s a fortnight or so. I’m four seasons into Career Mode and have almost completed a few of the Skill Games, which must have taken me about two weeks considering I have had to do other less important things that have kept me away from the game. Like work. And sleep.
I’m completely addicted.
Now I know everyone feels like this when they get their hands on a new FIFA for the first time, but this is different. I’m not just addicted because of the improved gameplay, new features or updated squads.
FIFA 13 has got me totally gripped because every single match I play feels unique in some way.
Even now, after constant play since I got my hands on the game, I see things in matches that take me completely by surprise. On a small scale that could be a well-timed dribble that moves me between two defenders, a pass that has just enough lift to go over the foot of my opponent and straight to a team-mate, or a poor first touch that actually works to my advantage by wrong-footing my marker. All things that will raise an eyebrow and cause me to nod in appreciation while thinking, ‘That was cool.’
On a bigger scale I’m talking about genuine out-of-my-seat moments. If you’ve ever jumped up and shouted something in admiration that isn’t even a word (think ‘Oooaaaawh!’) after watching a player do something special in a real game, then you know what I’m talking about.
EA SPORTS FIFA 13 is absolutely packed with moments like these.
I clearly remember my first one. I was taking my PSG side into their opening friendly of pre-season in Career Mode, following a busy few in-game weeks of testing the new transfer system by making offers for, well, pretty much everyone.
I’d ambitiously opted to play on World Class difficulty and was being taken to the cleaners by the AI-controlled players, who were picking me apart with clever runs and intelligent passes. Somehow I’d managed to nick a goal on the counter so only found myself 2-1 down with a couple of minutes left on the clock.
The ball dropped to Javier Pastore, who was lurking 25-yards or so from goal and – forgetting for a moment about the need to make sure my first touch was right so I could set myself up and get a shot away – I met the ball while running too fast. The result was a bit of ball control that looked more like something the real-life me would do in that situation. Hint, it was bad.
Fortunately the bad touch caused a bobble that made the ball sit up perfectly for a half volley, which Pastore looped over the keeper and in off both posts to level the score.
At that point I let out a sort of high-pitched scream, flew off the bean bag and ran into the other room to wake my girlfriend up so I could show her what I had achieved using multiple slow-motion replays. It’s fair to say she didn’t share my enthusiasm, which was odd as it really was a great strike.
I then spent the next bunch of games just trying stuff, seeing how inventive and creative I could be with my attacks.
With each game played I started to forget certain things I’d learned from playing FIFA 12, like which positions it was worth shooting from, and which areas it probably wasn’t. 13 was challenging me to come up with new ways of finding a bit of space, new ways of picking a path through a defence and – best of all – new ways of scoring goals.
All of this combined to give me the feeling that matches were unique and unpredictable, especially when attacking, and I still feel exactly the same now after four seasons of Career Mode.
Of course, much of the unpredictably is a result of First Touch Control but I don’t mean that in a random sense, because everything is contextual and logical. My bobble with Pastore that led to an equaliser came about because I was running too fast while attempting to bring the ball down. In this case it was predictable that my touch would be poor because I’d made a bad decision.
The unpredictable bit was that the bobble worked in my favour and actually helped me to score, which is the kind of thing you’ve probably seen happen many times when watching a game on a Saturday afternoon, and exactly the kind of moment that gets you out of your seat.
And the great news is you haven’t got long to wait until you can experience this for yourselves, because we’re not too far away from the demo release on September 11th.
When you do get your hands on the demo, just let loose and try stuff out. I guarantee you’ll soon be out of your seat and shouting for someone to come and watch the replay. Just don’t do that if your girlfriend happens to be asleep. She won’t like that.