FIFA 13 (universal) by Electronic Arts is the yearly iteration of their popular soccer franchise, one which has seen success other sport franchises – even EA’s own juggernauts - can’t compete with. And their latest edition is no different, keeping the franchise miles ahead of its competition in every other sport represented in the App Store.
The difficulty of bringing a full-fledged soccer game to mobile is in the details: the lack of precision in controlling tactics and complex one-on-one movements turn strategic competitions into silly, arcade-like goofiness. The key in FIFA 13′s new controls is how they balance easy function with nuanced movement.
For example, pulling off skill moves or intricate pass types are done with a touch and drag in a specific direction, nullifying the need for extra buttons and giving players lots of freedom within the four virtual button arrangement.
As always, the player animations are smooth, and the game runs without a hitch on newer devices. Players can jump into a quick match on or offline, or play though a variety of different cups, both season and tournament based. The highlight is Manager Mode, a surprisingly deep franchise mode where players run everything from player transfers and lineups, to stadium upgrades and in-game tactics.
With all these things at a player’s disposal, it’s surprisingly easy to navigate the menus and pull off various managerial tasks. There was an obvious philosophy to consolidate and simplify the different things to do in FIFA, and they’ve pulled it off wonderfully – especially on the larger real estate of the iPad, where features like watching replays which can be uploaded to YouTube – really shines.
There are still some goofy AI issues and occasional online hiccups – but when it comes to console-quality sports gaming, there really is no comparison. With some subtle improvements in its controls and under the hood, FIFA 13 is a must-buy for fans of the beautiful game.