It's always a worry when publishers and developers refuse to give out information about a game, even though its due for release. This happened with FIFA 13 on PS Vita. During Sony's gamescom conference, the football franchise was briefly shown via a logo, with promise that EA would be supporting the handheld. This was obviously great news, after all FIFA is the most popular sports game on the planet and the fact that it was going to be gracing the handheld is surely the best news Sony could have hoped for, you'd think that wouldn't you?
Having tested out FIFA 13 on Vita for the last few days, to be perfectly honest with you, I was quite tempted to paste in my review of FIFA Soccer from six months ago and get on with my weekend; I would have got away with it too, because that's how little this game has changed. We all remember the EA of old, when releasing a new FIFA was simply a case of updating the kits and counting the money - well that's what's happened here. It's basically the same game as six months ago but with different kits, disappointing is an understatement, especially for someone like me who was desperately waiting on this game.
On the positive side, FIFA 13 is the best portable version of the series on the market and while that's no consolation to those who purchase the same game six months ago, at least those new to the series can take comfort in the fact.
Obviously I've got to judge a game on what it is, not what it could have been. Should I be biased because I own the last version of the game and therefore can see the major flaw in this title. Or should I look at it from a new purchasers point of view and see what a brilliant portable version of the game FIFA 13 is? It's a tough one really, but I know which way I'm leaning and that's for the former.
In my honest opinion it's not good enough. FIFA 13 on consoles has improved once more this year, adding in features such as first touch control, push and pull and additions to the game modes, such as the excellent Skill Game mode. None of that is included in FIFA 13 for Vita. What would have been the harm to include some of these features? How brilliant would it be to include Skill Game mode on Vita? In fact it'd be a perfect fit for those on the go. What about Ultimate Team? I'd love to buy cards and improve my team on the go. Cross-play? That would be amazing. Start your career on PS3, continue on the go on Vita, go home and pick up where you left off on your console again. What are EA thinking? Honestly, it's an absolute shambles and I'm very disappointed.
EA is a changed beast, the publisher has strived to improve FIFA on a year on year basis in recent years, FIFA on Vita is backwards step. There is hardly no innovation here just some tweaks that hardly justify spending out another ?40. For instance, there is a new online friends league, the menus load faster and the graphics and player modes seem slightly improved over the previous game. Career mode also seems to have been slightly tweaked and you can now create set pieces within practice mode - that's about all I can find which has changed though. To be honest, it has me wishing that Konami had released PES on Vita this year, because I know they would at least have made an effort.
Let me just stress again, FIFA 13 is THE best portable football game money can buy, maybe that doesn't come across in this review (I'm pretty sure it doesn't), however if you don't own the previous game then you have got to pick this up, because it is quite simply outstanding. It has fantastic graphics, it's packed with real leagues, real players and teams. It has a great career mode and also online play. The touch controls are also fantastic, allowing you to shoot using the rear pad and pass and shoot using the front touch screen - if you are new to this series on Vita, you'll love it.
That's about as positive as I can be I'm afraid, I love FIFA and I love my PS Vita, but EA have let me down. You may agree with me, you may disagree with me. But if you are as big a football fan as I am then you already pay ?40 a year to get a new kit and I for one don't want to make that ?80 because I have to pay for a virtual one too.
Maybe next year EA will realise the true potential of the Vita, because otherwise no-one will be interested and if that happens then it's only the Vita and us football fans that would suffer and that would be a crying shame.
Review Policy (Version tested: PS Vita)