Today we have the first of our two SOCCER MANIA weekend reviews on InsideTheBox – FIFA 13. We will be reviewing it’s competitor, PES 2013 tomorrow. So, is the new installment to the annual franchise worth buying? Read on to find out what I thought about this latest entry to the series…

Everything that was rebuilt in FIFA 12’s engine has been further tweaked, improved and added-upon in this season’s new release, however, there are also a few new defining features which makes FIFA 13 a worthy upgrade for fans of the franchise.

The new dribbling system allows players to execute new tricks with give them a tactical advantage over the opposing team. Players have full control of the skills their players use, from the small tips, to the most complicated shoulder flicks. This new feature allows better skillful tackling of the ball, but also makes it more challenging to retain – which is a more realistic system than was previously used.

To counteract this, the defense system has also been improved, allowing defenders to use a more tactical approach and the game doesn’t allow the easy automatic defense system any more, players actually have to think and command players to take their positions to defend against the opposition.

Anybody who is new to the series will find the game difficult as FIFA 13’s new, more realistic system is harder for new players or players who have missed the genre for a couple of years. Thankfully, EA have added a new way to help players get around that by offering new SKILL GAMES which train the player on the tricks and tactical thinking required for FIFA 13. It is different from what you experienced previously and even has something for the advanced players to enjoy – so I urge you check out the skill games system!

The game will be regularly updated with the real-season fixtures, allowing you to play through one of many seasons within the game itself! Of course, players stats in-game will be updated to reflect their on-pitch play and performance in reality.

Online Pro-Clubs seasons, standard SEASONS and many other game modes also make a return to the game, allowing you to play in a huge number of ways – the amount of features and play experiences packed into the one game is outstanding and really will prove valuable as you continue to player the game.

Other features available are Create Your Own Tournament, Pro Player & Goalkeeper, Manager Career, Online Friendlies, Interactive World Cup and a wealth of other small bonuses which really add the finishing touches to a fantastic title.

One of the nice revamped features is the Football Club option which allows you to keep tabs on how your team is faring.. it includes details on the performance of them in online games and includes a virtual league for the teams available. You really need to take a look yourself to see all the detailed stats which are provided in Football Club.

You may have noticed we have neglected to mention one particularly massive feature thus far… FIFA 13 ULTIMATE TEAM. Ultimate Team can probably be called the most popular feature in the game and we decided it was so important, it needs a section of its own…

FUT 13 (Fifa Ultimate Team 13)

FIFA 13 Ultimate Team is the new, updated online mode which allows you to create a team of your own and purchase virtual “packs” which award you with players of varying statistics, power, rarity and auctioning value. You can purchase bronze, silver or gold packs with the quality of players (and price) going up in each tier. These packs can be purchased using coins earned in Ultimate Team games or by using paid FIFA Points.

You assemble a team of your choosing with a customisable formation which affects your team’s overall charisma and strength. You begin with players who come from the lower leagues and do not have as much experience and power as the higher league players. You will not be able to survive the leagues long using only bronze players, so I highly suggest you try and purchase some gold packs using your Microsoft Points/PSN or Steam Wallet.

Another way to purchase or sell players is in the auction house. It allows you to sell any of your own players with a custom set starting bid price and a “Buy Now” price. Players can also send you trade offers for your player using a combination of their own players and coins.

Ultimate Team pits your custom created team against AI Teams in the single player tournaments and seasons, however, the option to play online cups and seasons is also available. TEAM-OF-THE-WEEK games and games against your friends or strangers can also be played in Ultimate Team, providing you with a variety of options in which you can put your hand picked squad into action.

FIFA 13 Ultimate Team is probably the biggest feature in the game and it should be tried by all buyers of the game, please, do not avoid using it! Upon first starting FIFA 13, it can be a bit overwhelming due to the sheer number of features available in the game – players really do not know where to start. In time, these features will all become familiar to you and the variety is a lovely thing to have in the game.

I must admit, FIFA 13 is a fantastic title and deserves the crown of best FIFA game to date, the AI plays excellently and the game really will prove to be a valuable purchase.. I leave you with the final scores…