Fifa Soccer has made a nice home on iOS, and the 2013 version is now available with 30 leagues, 500 licensed teams, and more than 15,000 authentic players including Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Didier Drogba, David Beckham, Xavi, Robin Van Persie, Landon Donovan, and plenty more. You get to play as FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, LA Galaxy, and so many more. EA has all of the connections, and delivers a deluxe feature set including tournament mode, manager mode, and online multiplayer.
The big new additions in Fifa 13 begin with an enhanced graphics engine that really focuses on player design so that they’re identifiable and distinguishable. There’s also an improved physics engine for ball momentum and player collisions, and just an overall fluidity to the action on screen. The on screen virtual controls are nice and precise, and there are new gestures with the multi-faceted skill button, and penalty, goal, and corner kick swipe shots. Fifa 13 also lets you save your favorite goal replays, and you can even upload them to YouTube without leaving the app. The instant replay functionality shows the power of the Fifa engine, and it’s great to relive your goals through multiple angles at your own pace.
Fifa 13 is also made for the iPhone 5 with widescreen support, and a design where the controls feel as through they’re off to the side so that you’re fingers don’t get in the way of the action like on older iPhone models. The game offers deluxe graphics, and everything flows so silky smooth on the newest iPhone, and you can tell it’s capable of much more. EA has also built-in iCloud support to resume tournament or manager mode, and the ability to use the iPhone as a controller when playing on the iPad returns.
When it comes down to it though, the most important aspect is gameplay, and that’s where Fifa 13 truly shines. The game doesn’t rely on any set patterns or static repetitive movement so everything truly flows like a real match. For instance, you can drive down the left side, cross the ball to the middle, and bicycle kick the ball towards the goal which can bounce off the goalie, and be shot in on the rebound. That fluidity of the ball bouncing of other players and crossbar for a frenetic pace around the goal is what makes Fifa 13 such an outstanding experience. The passing and shooting are also much more controlled for far greater precision to truly perform strategy when on the offensive.
Previous versions of Fifa also suffered from a lack of AI intelligence, but that has been rectified in Fifa 13. There are five difficulty modes with two upper level difficulties providing a defensive and offensive mindset, respectively. There’s much greater challenge to get the ball up the field, though there’s always Semi-Pro and Beginner to simply blast your way up the field. There’s never a dull moment in a given soccer match, and it’s great to play authentic league play with such fluid and realistic motion and balance to each match. The online multiplayer was problematic in our testing with some considerable load times, and multiple disconnections from other users.
Fifa 13 ($6.99, Universal) is the best sports game in the App Store, and a top tier iOS title that nails the free flowing nature of the console version, and delivers it on iOS with a great feature set as well. Fifa 13 is an absolute must buy that is as enjoyable as sports games come whether you like Soccer/Futbol or not. Now if only the Fifa engine could be applied to Madden for iOS, which didn’t even receive a 13 version this year.