Soursop manage to stamp every FIFA part as yet another football game with the same content, with the only change being the update of the playable teams. Electronic Arts proved with FIFA 13 that this is definitely not the case. Now this strong footie has also hit Wii U and we can expect a polished version of the original, something we also managed to share in an earlier preview. Little did we know then, however, that the truth is far from this and the end product turned out to be something even those sourpuss couldn’t have seen coming.
Although FIFA 12 introduced the Player Impact Engine, Tactical Defending and a more realistic touch, FIFA 13 managed to perfect these elements. With the addition of First Touch Control, among other things, the football simulator appeared to make many steps towards realism. There is also a lot of improvement in anticipation of your actions, because the players move where there is room and react faster to changes in the game. With the Wii U version, we can embrace these gameplay improvements too, right? Unfortunately this does not appear to be the case.
Porting the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions seemed like an easy task, but Electronic Arts chose to do things differently with FIFA 13 on Wii U. The basis of the gameplay on Nintendo’s new console is much the same as we could experience in FIFA 12, where elements such as the Player Impact Engine, Tactical Defending and more precise dribbling are present, but have not yet gone through the refinement of its successor. Enhanced Attacks and Complete Dribbling, for example, are not in the game. The game is therefore a polished version of FIFA 13 on the Wii and that is not in the least.
Unfortunately, these finer points are not the only parts that we do not find in the Wii U copy of the famous footie, because especially the online functionalities have to forego it. For example, FIFA Sports Football Club, a service similar to RiderNET from SSX and World Tekken Federation, is nowhere to be seen. It is precisely this element that forms the foundation of the online experience of today’s FIFA games, making its absence unacceptable.
Ultimate Team, which has been an inseparable part of the FIFA formula since FIFA 09, is also not included in the Wii U version. In every game of the series, following FIFA 09, this mode was added via DLC or from FIFA 11 on the disc itself. Ultimate Team is most like a trading card game, in which you could create your own team by buying, selling and trading players. It turned out to be a very successful formula and a mode that certainly enjoys popularity. It is therefore very unfortunate to say the least that this essential part cannot be found in this edition either.
GamePad saves the day
Despite the flaws that FIFA 13 has on the Wii U, there is a certain element that still manages to lift this copy a bit. The game makes very good use of the new controls that the GamePad makes possible. The second screen mainly acts as a map showing all players at all times and there are some other added options that allow you to see through the eyes of the player taking a free kick, for example. Where real progress can be found in the FIFA formula, however, is managing your team.
The touchscreen of the Gamepad offers you the possibility to switch players at any time and to adapt setups to the situation. When you consider that the game no longer has to pause for every mistake, then this can only be indicated as progress. You don’t have to wait for your opponent in matches that are fought via the online multiplayer and that works much better.
FIFA 13 doesn’t live up to expectations in the least. The game as it could also be played on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, but with trendy GamePad functionalities? Forget it, because the Wii U edition does things very differently. In terms of content, this version is FIFA 13 as we can play it on the Wii, so you are actually playing FIFA 12. In addition, indispensable options such as Ultimate Team and Football Club are also missing. Nevertheless, the GamePad certainly knows how to give the controls a positive twist, but unfortunately the flaws are not wiped out. This just isn’t FIFA 13. Too bad.