FIFA 13 Features

FeatureThe Eurogamer Christmas Challenge

Can you beat our high scores?

So here it is, Merry Christmas, everybody's having four pints at lunchtime then trying not to be sick while racing round Poundland in search of a last minute Secret Santa present for someone about whom they know nothing except name and gender. And at least one of those is in doubt. Ho ho ho!

FIFA 13 Wii U Preview: Nintendo Gets Parity (At Last!)

The last time there was parity between Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo versions of FIFA, producer Matt Prior reflects, was back in the days of GameCube. The HD era has been enormously successful for EA's series, but the core game's evolution has happened at the expense of similar progress on Nintendo platforms, which have played host to more experimental takes on the beautiful game.

When Wii U launches, the first message EA wants to stress is that early adopters will get the full-fat, full-resolution football experience. Which is broadly correct, although, as a rep notes while I'm giving the Wii U version a run-out at EA Canada, this is "FIFA 12.5" - in the sense that it won't carry every new feature from this year's PS3 and 360 updates, since the team has had so much porting work to do on the new platform.

The other main message, though, is that the GamePad enhances FIFA in ways only possible on Nintendo's new hardware. A sentence you can expect to read in every Wii U press release until you go mad and stab yourself blind with a telescopic 3DS stylus. But in this case, the early signs suggest it could be good news for the hardcore as well as those suspiciously attractive, well-adjusted families you never see outside of a Nintendo TV ad.

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FIFA 13 Preview: "The referee's a w*nker!"

FeatureFIFA 13 Preview: "The referee's a w*nker!"

Kinect and Skill Games make up a FIFA that's all about the unpredictable.

As the end of this console generation approaches, life seems pretty rosy for the FIFA team. Widely regarded as having outplayed its competition not only commercially but also in quality in recent years, building a commanding lead in the process, complacency is as big a threat as whatever Konami comes up with next.

The pressure of maintaining a hard-earned 90 Metacritic rating, always the pet obsession of EA's Peter Moore, ought to be enough to dispel any likelihood of that. And, as is traditional, the team is boasting of more game-changing features for this season's update when I poke my head inside its Vancouver dressing room this month.

They're obliged by the marketing department to peddle that line every year, of course, but there are a few good reasons at this stage to believe FIFA will raise its game again in 13. The focus this year is captured in a Mourinho quote producer Nick Channon flags up: "One of the great things about football is that it is unpredictable".

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FIFA 13 Preview: Your Team-Mates Have Woken Up!

FeatureFIFA 13 Preview: Your Team-Mates Have Woken Up!

Attacking Intelligence feels like the stand-out feature after a dozen matches.

At the time of writing, EA Sports has already unveiled a handful of fairly influential changes to the FIFA formula for this year's iteration, but after playing a dozen or so games of FIFA 13 the one that really stands out is the one with the least exciting name: Attacking Intelligence.

Although FIFA 12 was a wonderful football simulation in a lot of ways (and an even more wonderful platform for synchronised physical comedy), it wasn't without its annoying quirks, one of which was that you would often find yourself short of support from team-mates once you crossed the halfway line, forcing you to hold up play in hope of attracting reinforcements.

The idea was that Attacking Intelligence would bring more players into the attack, allowing you to sweep forward in waves, exploiting space between isolated and retreating defenders, and crash against the opposing penalty area with enough force to hoover up any rebounds or shots spilled by the goalkeeper.

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FIFA 13 Preview: A Final Flourish?

FeatureFIFA 13 Preview: A Final Flourish?

EA Sports offers a conservative update with its latest FIFA.

It's not over until it's over, as those in pale blue who left the Etihad Stadium before full-time on Sunday found out to their own eternal embarrassment. This year's Premier League has seen the title move from one side of Manchester to another, a seismic shift that some five years ago would have seemed improbable.

This console generation's battle of the football titans has, at times, felt equally dramatic, as full of fumbles and moments of flair as anything the Premier League has offered up in the last nine months. It started with Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer as champion elect, but now looks set to end with FIFA in a position of unquestionable supremacy.

"It's been an amazing journey. I think it's been the most exciting journey that I've ever been on. But it's come with plenty of sleepless nights," says EA Sports' executive vice president Andrew Wilson, a fast-talking Australian who's the embodiment of corporate cool.

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