From the first whistle to the last FIFA 13 is an exciting and well-made instalment of the popular football simulator. This version has refined and improved many of the innovative gameplay developments introduced in the previous instalment.

The gameplay has been tuned towards a more realistic football experience and this is most noticeable in the first touch system.

EA have removed the seemingly perfect first touch control from players and replaced it with a system that takes into account player skill, as well as the quality of the pass and whether the player is sprinting.

This means there is a difference between great players and lower league ones, getting the most out of your team will require a lot of skill.

The second noticeable gameplay improvement is to do with the AI. Computer controlled players will make smarter runs, moving quickly into space and not simply running into an offside position.

This could make goal scoring very easy but defenders are also smarter, they are much less likely to leave the striker unmarked and so creating and scoring goals is a real challenge.

What this means is that games are closer and tenser and scoring that winning goal leaves a palpable sense of satisfaction that previous FIFA games lacked.

Along with dribbling improvements this means that it takes skill and patience, not speed, to win every match. FIFA 13 provides the most realistic football simulation around.

Likewise, there are notable improvements to career mode, the inclusion of international management is an exciting feature and the transfer system has also been improved.

Rather than just offering a player large wages you will also have to state how that player will be used, as a first team player or merely a bench warmer. This makes acquiring players a more challenging experience and again this means it is more rewarding when you put pen to paper.

EA have removed the player manager feature so you will no longer be able to use your pro in your manager season, however both “player” and “manager” modes remain.

The inclusion of skill games also provide a more guided and satisfying experience while waiting for games to load. They test your passing, dribbling and shooting abilities across three increasingly difficult levels, they’re great fun and very instructive.

Improvements to ultimate team and the online modes also means that there plenty for you to enjoy, FIFA 13 provides plenty of lasting game modes both offline and on.

It’s hard to find much wrong with this version of the series; there are still some annoying problems with the impact engines, players falling over each other for example. The game also doesn’t have any revolution features unlike FIFA 12 and so this feels for like a refinement rather than a huge leap forward.

Still FIFA 13 is certainly the best footballing simulator on the market and the refinements and improvements still make it a must have game.

4/5