There is a massive craze for FIFA games amongst my peers. Being 17 years old kind of makes me the prime target for EA and their annual release schedule but I don't mind it. About half of my "friends" on Xbox Live got the game the day it came out... as did I. I've been following the brand for about six years now with my first game on my Xbox 360 being FIFA 09... Good times :')
Throughout the years, there has been a pattern in which one year there's a massive change or "revolution" of how the game is played and the next year is an improvement in which the game is refined or "evolved". This year is an "evolution" year. But don't be put off by that though; it's for the better.
The main new features of this game includes the use of variability of first time touches of the ball, Match Day mode and skill games...
First time touches - Changing this was a good idea; not all players can sponge the power of a shot as easily as Xavi or Messi and, depending on the power, angle, person passing and person receiving, the first time touch can be extremely erratic. I have played as Bristol Rovers, for example, and the way that balls fly everywhere when you try to play a clever pass, unlike division 1 teams, definitely adds to the realism of the game which can only be a good thing, right?
Match Day mode - Attempting to blur the gap between real football and simulated games comes Match Day mode; a game type where you can play current fixtures using current teams that have their ratings adjusted due to how they have been playing in real life. Playing as West Ham United, several players had their ratings adjusted with several defenders having their stats boosted due to a good defencive game the last time they turned out, whereas the injured footballers (Collision, O'Neil etc.) has their overall rating slashed due to a lack of "form" or at least, playing time. I played a few matches using this mode and it does feel good to have beaten the team that last thrashed your favourite side or to add to the victories. In all fairness though, it's not addictive and isn't essential to enjoying the game.
Skill games - Replacing the practise arena comes skill games; the new way that will make you addicted to FIFA for a few hours. Described as "helping beginners improve their game", EA has brought in an assortment of mini challenges that progress from Bronze to Silver to Gold and then to Skill Challenge in which getting Legendary status is what's required. The skill games are based on the basic attributes of players; shooting, short passing, lobbing, penalties etc. And at the point of writing, I have completed all skill games on Gold with one Skill Challenge on Legendary. They are great to waste a bit of time on when you find yet another match tedious but I have completed them quite easily, so maybe more to come? DLC?
In terms of the modes, there's FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT), that allows you to relive some nostalgia due to its collector cards format, Seasons, that lets you play a series of games online against real people to progress to higher leagues and, of course, Career mode.
Career mode has always been my first port of call, as it were. When I a new FIFA game, I play about 50 hours on the Career mode before attempting other modes, just so that I can get used to the game. This time, however, I think I will probably spend more time due to an addition of several new features including internationals, different transfers, more interaction with your "team", the press and scouting.
The internationals part lets you play as an international side if you do well during the previous season. I, for example, played a season at West Ham. I won the league and the FA Cup and was offered to come and manage Peru, Bolivia or Chile... I'm not saying you start big but you don't have to give up your domestic side to manage your international team and I heartily recommend it.
The difference in transfers is not massive but it didn't need to be, anyway. The only real difference is the clubs won't let their star players go without some serious dosh laid out in front of them which can actually lead you to look elsewhere at lesser teams or future stars. This year you can also add players to a bid to secure a new player by offering them as part of the deal which is good for when your money is tight and nobody wants to buy that player anyway.
This FIFA also includes a considerable amount of more interaction and reaction from your players. During the transfer part, you have to say how the player will be used in the squad (crucial 1st team player all the way down to reserve team player) and if you don't keep your promises then the player will get really pissy with you. I bought two strikers due an injury problem. The two that were injured came back from injury. The two that I bought were in form and I enjoyed playing with them and so didn't change the strikers back. The two previously injured attackers got incredibly pissed off and demanded that they be transferred during the transfer period due to a lack of games. I can imagine that's what a real manager's life must be like and if so; I pity you managers because it is very frustrating.
The press is different this time in that rumours spread like wildfire and they seem to have an opinion on anything and everything you as the manager does. A player not scored in the last five games? Must be on the way out. A player refusing a contract? Disloyal. Refusing to take another job? Saint. Very much like real life, most of it is crap. Tread carefully.
Scouting is actually very similar to last year but I wanted to include it as I find it a great way of finding a new generation of stars. Definitely use it at the start of your career if you're planning long term.
The reviews for FIFA 13 are great. The game is, of course, great. If you like football/soccer then it's very, very good with only one negative of a career save that doesn't work due to freezing but it seems like an isolated incident so buy it anyway. Oh, and below my username is some more propaganda for you if you have some free time.
FIFA 13 propaganda - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KTWk2raYh8