FIFA 13 is on the way! It looks like the release date will be September 27th. If you’re not super excited…you should be. Wondering what all the fuss is about? In my humble opinion, FIFA 12 is arguably the best sports video game of ALL-TIME! Will FIFA 13 be even better? FIFA 13 will be similar to 12 with only slight improvments that pale in comparrison to the 11 to 12 evolution. Its hard to imagine EA creating a better game then the masterpiece that is FIFA 12, but if they do it has a chance to be legendary.
I played four sports in high school and none of them were soccer. In fact, I had not played a soccer video game until someone gave me FIFA 2009, which I lightly played. My previous sports game of choice was Madden or NCAA Football. For years I thoroughly enjoyed creating my NCAA dynasties…at home and online, I also cherished franchise mode and the online game play of the latest versions of Madden. Then I discovered the amazing, addictive, fantastic world of FIFA.
I am warning you…this game could ruin your life. At the very least, force you to find a new girl. Here are the Top 10 reasons FIFA is the best sports video game of All-Time:
The ultimate FIFA experience comes after you sign with or create your own club. Imagine playing Madden online with 10 other players, each controlling a player on your team. The left Guard is your buddy from New York, the TE is your brother who live in San Francisco. In the FIFA universe 11 on 11 is reality, and it’s AMAZING! I have run my club (Fros n Hoz) for months now and being the Manager in my opinion is tremendously fun and rewarding. In Club mode you compete against other clubs and receive a world and league ranking. Teams are placed in divisions based on their talent and record, the premier division being Division 1. Every 30 days a new season starts and another opportunity to assert your club dominance arises.
If you are not signed with a Club you are considered a “Free Agent”, which is seen by prospective Club Managers. Being recruited by a club is the greatest complement, as they likely appreciate your game. The best players are “Club Members”, and the most competitive games happen in FIFA Club.
Virtual Pro & Accomplishments
The initial addiction happens when you begin building your Virtual Pro. Much like several other sports games, FIFA offers a way to construct your own Virtual Pro in your likeness. You can customize the look and style of your VP, but most importantly, you can build your VP’s skill level. There are 8 categories with up to 50 unlockable achievements in each to improve your VP rating. Typically (depending on your position) a VP starts out with a rating of around 68. At the highest level after hours of gaming the highest VP I’ve seen is 93. Here are the categories/attributes used in increasing your VP’s skill level:
- The Arena – (30 Accomplishments)
- Ball Skills – (30 Accomplishments)
- Defense – (50 Accomplishments)
- Mental – (30 Accomplishments)
- Passing – (50 Accomplishments)
- Physical – (50 Accomplishments)
- Shooting – (50 Accomplishments)
- Goalkeeper – (50 Accomplishments)
All told, that’s 310 accomplishments that you will undoubtedly be watching YouTube videos on how to unlock. (Here’s one of my favorites) Oh the joy when you figure out a difficult one. All the while your player will become noticeably better.
Online Game Play
FIFA 12’s online game play is phenomenal. There are a few glitches, (e.g. you select a position at the same time as someone else you may be stuck playing with their VP), but overall its magic. Seamless 11 on 11 play makes the beautiful game come to life. With so many options for online game play, the FIFA online experience can be endless. Here are some of the different basic styles of online game play:
- Pro Ranked Match – first come first serve ranked online match
- Club Match – vs opposing Clubs
- Online Friendly – play either another club or friend (unranked)
- Ultimate Team Match – Play in tournaments or vs other Ultimate Teams (Ultimate Team is a mode in which you buy, sell, trade, and auction player cards to create the best head-to-head squad you can)
- Head-to-Head – challenge anyone
The player control is like that I have never seen. Your player moves with a realism and responds to the slightest touch of the analog stick and buttons. After playing for several months I began watching soccer matches and the similarities of player movements were astounding. The player control is spectacular, but is also very complicated. I am still learning several moves and combinations after logging over 700 hours of game time, which in my opinion helps to keep you coming back. Madden and NCAA controls seem simple after playing FIFA for a while. When you see a great player in FIFA who has been playing the series for years, you will wonder how they do what they do.
Example of the controls: hold L2 while making a juke with the left analog, then press and hold R2 to turbo and chip the goal keeper by holding L1 and lightly tapping circle.
Every soccer fan I have spoken with about FIFA (there are plenty playing the game) have stated just how realistic the game is. When the game is played correctly, players stay in their positions and work with one another its beautiful. When people are skatered and don’t mesh you team sucks. This is actually also one of the drawbacks as all it takes is one jackass to ruin the FIFA experience for many. The variation of ways the ball bounce, goals scored, and saves is incredible. Almost every time I play I still see something new.
I have been stuck on games in my time dating back to Tecmo Bowl, RBI Baseball, and Super Mario…and more recently Elder Scrolls IV, NCAA 12, and Infamous. However, I have never been as addicted to a game as I am with FIFA. I feel there’s a combination of reasons this game is so addicting. First, the basic controls are relatively easy so you can get into it right away (it’s the technical moves and tricks that are complicated). Second, playing on a club is an experience like no other; the comradery and competition are unmatched. Lastly, building up you player is addicting in itself, as you advance you learn skills that make the game far more enjoyable. Blowing by some 70 speed rookie when your speed is 91, then scoring on some flashy goalkeeper and busting out a headstand in front of his net to celebrate is just bad ass.
Different Game Features
Everyone loves a game within the game. 1st person shooter games for instance have a “campaign mode” and an “online multiplayer” mode, two games in one. FIFA is laden with several types of games as well, all with their own unique features. There is something for everyone, but eventually you will play them all. Here is a list followed by a short description:
- Pro Ranked Match – Find a full game any time of night any day of the week and slowly build your VP.
- Club – Test your Clubs talent and skill vs opposing Clubs and become a 5 star Div 1 club
- Ultimate Team – Play in tournaments or vs other Ultimate Teams (Ultimate Team is a mode in which you buy, sell, trade, and auction player cards to create the best head-to-head squad you can)
- Head-to-Head – If anyone ever says they are better then you, challenge them to a head-to-head match
- Career Mode – Start out as a rookie and become a star
- Tournaments – Set up your own tourney
- Be a Pro Goalkeeper – Build your pro by playing these matches
- Be a Pro Player – Build your pro by playing these matches
- Live Season – Play with current updated rosters based on player performance
Each Position is a New Game
One of the most unique aspects of FIFA is just how different each position on the field is (by position I mean st, mid, defender, & GK). Playing striker is nothing like playing as a defender. Playing midfield is not close to being a goalkeeper. Each position requires special traits, training, and accomplishments to master. Even if you master the art of scoring goals you can be a terrible defender or GK. It literally feels like you are starting all over when you switch positions, and your VP rating will reflect that. The best video games find a way to create the feeling of starting over and playing again, FIFA hit a home run in this regard.
On my club alone, “FROS v HOZ”, I have players from 4 different countries. It’s fun chatting with these players getting their unique perspectives on the game…and anything else we rap about in chat. FIFA is truly world-wide and is now bursting on the scene due to our increasing interest in soccer in the US.
Scoring a Goal & Celebrations
I can’t think of anything as exhilarating in a sports video game as scoring a goal in FIFA. It is so rare and in most instances so difficult to do, that when it happens it’s a level of satisfaction hard to explain. If you score a 90th minute goal in a tight game to win in any online format you may fist pump, jump up and down, raise a finger, or hug your woman. After you score there are 60 different very realistic celebrations you can do. My favorite of which has to be “the peeing dog”. It’s a blast when your team scores as everyone gets a chance to break out their favorite celebration.
Grab your copy of FIFA 12 or 13 at Amazon.com and join the happily addicted…