Welcome to my annual attempt to play FIFA. I wasn’t going to start FIFA13 in today’s post, but I am now. Place your bets on how soon I’ll be back playing PES. Two weeks has been my average over the past four years.
I really do do this every year. Have done since FIFA09, my last true dalliance with football gaming’s ‘other game’.
I think there’s still a heck of a lot of the PES-playing fanbase that titters behind their hands at the thought of FIFA. Well, lads, it’s not 2002 any more. I’m completely over the whole ‘tabloid’ PES-versus-FIFA thing, and this is the last time I’ll mention it. I do remain interested in it as a psycho-sociological phenomenon. The way it ties into personal identity and group dynamics fascinates me. But I’ll be keeping all that to myself. Promise.
This year, I decided to get FIFA for the PS3. It’s the same console I play PES on—and thus, my reasoning goes, if I’ve got the FIFA13 disc in the PS3, I can’t have the PES2013 disc in there at the same time, and so I’ll be more likely to give FIFA13 a fair crack of the whip.
FIFA13 has a chance. I made myself thoroughly sick of PES2013 by the end there, a bit like Augustus Gloop as he vanished up the pipe.
FIFA13… It’s probably to the game’s benefit that I’m really not too sure about this one.
FIFA12 had sparkle and pazzazz from the outset. But I get more than a little bit of a FIFA11 vibe from FIFA13. FIFA11 was my least-favourite next-gen FIFA of them all, so that feeling doesn’t bode well.
I played some FIFA13 during my Christmas and New Year break from PES2013. I wasn’t impressed overmuch. The game is often far too fast, even on the supposedly Slow setting. And it felt to me that there is something ‘off’ about the gameplay—a relative emptiness compared to FIFA12.
But just as with PES, there’s always the hope that FIFA13 can be more than the sum of its parts. We shall see. As ever, it’s what I do with the game that’ll count.
I’ll doubtless take a look at Career Mode at some point. But I’m most curious about Ultimate Team. This mode has finally got itself an offline component—Seasons—that interests me. I’ve always felt that in Ultimate Team, EA have been criminally squandering the opportunity to create a FIFA version of Master League-style fantasy football.
Before starting Ultimate Team, a few warmup matches—played late last night (Thursday).
For my first match, I played a friendly. As ever, England versus Scotland, the world’s oldest and greatest International football fixture.
I can remember a time when England and Scotland played every year, alternating between Wembley and Hampden. They were always great occasions, and sometimes great matches too. Couldn’t be done now. Society would completely collapse. Rugby manages to stage the fixture every year without any fuss, but football is different, sadly.
I have to content myself with recreating the fixture in my football games.
I changed all the controller settings to my favourites—all semi-assisted, with manual crossing—and played two 10-minute matches on Professional difficulty. I drew the first 0-0, enjoying the game a lot. I won the second 1-0. And here is that goal—my first of this new phase of FIFA. Everybody’s favourite football player, Wayne Rooney, bags the goal:
Monday: Ultimate Team. It’s coming.