GAME NAME: FIFA 13
DEVELOPER(S): EA Canada
PUBLISHER(S): Electronic Arts
PLATFORM(S): Wii U
RELEASE DATE(S): 30 November 2012
The game is almost over, just 3 minutes of injury time left and the attacking team cranks up the pressure. They need to win the game, “everyone forward” shouts the manager as a corner is awarded, and even the goalkeeper pushes up… Sounds like a case of déjà vu doesn’t it? A while back we couldn’t give the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of FIFA 13 enough praise. Has anything changed our minds with regards to the Wii U version? Is there really a difference at all and is it worth the time and money? In short the answer is ‘yes’ to all of the above but as you might have guessed there’s a little more to it than just that.
On the surface of it all FIFA 13 for the Wii U first comes across as the same title the other consoles have but this couldn’t be further from the truth. The new Wii U features add a new dimension to the series and provides you with a enjoyable overall experience. The Wii U GamePad’s screen can almost be seen as a managerial hub as it allows many different options for controlling your players. On the right hand side of the screen you will find several tabs which allow you to access your substitutes, team formations and everything else you would have to pause your game to view in the original FIFA 13.
These easy to access options streamline the overall flow of the game quite drastically. One cut and dried example is that your substitutions a almost instantaneous as opposed to the frustrating delay found in other versions. When the tabs have been minimized you have a full view of your team – in fact you could probably play the entire match from the gamepad’s screen. In addition to this you can touch the screen and command players to make pin point accurate runs anywhere on the field. This does take some practice though and can be frustrating at times. Set-piece opportunities allow you to hold up the gamepad and aim the ball precisely where you would like it, this makes taking penalties a lot more fun and is probably the standout feature for the Wii U version.
These features do enhance the overall gameplay and are far less of a gimmick than what you might think. As a matter of fact you’ll often find yourself thinking how you managed to play without these features. On the other hand all these new features hardly make up for the lack of other features present in the original version. Remember Ultimate Team? That awesomely addictive gameplay mode that combined trading card styled strategies with a host of FIFA challenges? Well it forget about it, it isn’t available for the Wii U version. This unfortunately only gets worse.
No Match Day or team updates are available and the skill mini games are also nowhere to be seen. These features have become a crucial part of FIFA titles so their absence can’t be ignored. While the Nintendo Network is still in its early stages not having Ultimate Team on the Wii U gamepad seems like a wasted opportunity. Hopefully we’ll see this functionality in the next instalment.
FIFA 13 on the Wii U provides an enjoyable football experience if all you want to do is challenge friends in co-op mode or play the occasional match online. If you are looking for the same online depth and game modes from the original version you will be sorely disappointed. All the same AI issues are present and you can’t help but feel that not enough time was spent on the conversion for Ninty’s new hardware. While this is a solid start to the FIFA series on Nintendo’s new platform we can help but hope that the next instalment will be much, much better. Until then Nintendo Wii U owners can be glad that the Wii U FIFA instalments aren’t nearly as poor as they were on the Wii and that they now at least have a concrete version that holds its own against the competition.