Over the weekend I had a great couple of sessions with FIFA13 and Ultimate Team, probably my best time with a FIFA game since the days of FIFA09. History suggests a return to PES, tail between my legs, around about now—two weeks with FIFA being my average over the past few years. Doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. Not yet anyway.
The emptiness I alluded to in Friday’s post has been filled. The game has come alive. It’s gone from feeling like a bit of fun and a nice rest from Master League, to feeling like a serious football game with serious credentials.
It all started when I decided to play the Team of the Week on World Class difficulty. The prospect of a 600 Coins bonus looked too good to miss.
It was one of the best single football computer games I’ve ever played.
The TotW swept over me in exactly the way I wanted them to. I resisted for a while, learning a great secret about Tactical Defending: it’s all about the containment. Charging into the opposition and taking the ball from them isn’t the ‘right’ thing to do. It’s just what we’ve become used to from PES.
I was doing quite well, I thought, when I went 0-1 down to a goal that was rifled in on the break.
Against all odds I brought things back to 1-1 on 70 minutes. I had a half-chance that the keeper fumbled into the path of another striker. (The FIFA13 keepers, good as they otherwise are, fumble the ball a bit too much for my liking.) I took the ball wide, and slotted it home with the keeper scrambling to make up the ground. It looked great, and felt wonderful—my first punch-the-air moment of Ultimate Team.
There are so many touches that make FIFA13 good game. Nudging a CPU player as he’s trying to trap the ball near the touchline, so he runs it out for a throw-in. The keeper releasing the ball INSTANTLY, and being able to control the direction and power of his throw. I even like conceding penalties where I don’t know what they’re for. You can get them for you too. (I have handball turned on in the options.)
I conceded a dodgy penalty that I was fuming about, because I couldn’t see what I’d done wrong. My player jumped with their player, and if anything the foul should have gone my way, and…
Anyway, I ended up conceding another one while pushing for a faint hope of an equaliser. Bang went my 600 Coins bonus.
More than anything, what I took from this match was that FIFA13 is at its most formidable as a football game on World Class and (hopefully) above. Professional is a good game, but not as good.
Perhaps this is the stage I’ve never got to in previous years. I wanted to try Ultimate Team in part to give myself this different experience of FIFA, to let the gameplay sink in.
I’ve also found a camera setting I love. I had been playing with a sort of PS2-era PES-type of camera—remember, the camera panning (1-9!) one where it’s rooted near the halfway line—but the angles made the passing all weird, and prone to break down too easily due to my error.
I now play with the Tele camera. Height: 5. Zoom: 0.
Here are some weekend goals, all scored ‘only’ on Professional difficulty. My favourite first:
The second one was sweetly hit—you really feel that in FIFA13, when you hit it just so. The striker there is Saadi, one of my old Bronze strikers who was only playing because I’d run out of contracts cards for my main striker. That goal won him a place in my Ultimate Team that he still has. Yep, the individuals are starting to emerge. This thing is really starting to take off now.