Prior to our FIFA 13 Playtest we asked for your questions and HOLY SHIT did you respond.
We’ve gone through them all, removed the duplicates and cherry picked a few out to answer on the podcast. This is what we were left with.
The new first touch control, is it good?
Dave: Really good, and it makes you realise just how fantastical FIFA 12’s perfect touch system is. As well as providing more variety all over the pitch it just makes the game feel more like real football.
Tom: Yeah it works really well. You notice it immediately and it offers different variety all over the pitch, from creating a little more tension when you’re trying to gather the ball defensively as you might lose it and allow a striker to pick it off you to allowing you to screw up gathering a through ball and missing a goalscoring opportunity. I guess that sounds a little drastic but it’s actually not.
Will the referees have attributes? E.g lower league referees not as good, make more dodgy decisions whereas Howard web would do the big games and is a fairer ref?
Tom: Not sure about attributes like that but they do still have different levels of card strictness and foul strictness which you can see pre game, you can then choose different refs based on that. Same as FIFA 12.
Should we expect new animations for dribbling?
Dave: There are lots of new animations in FIFA 13 across the board, in fact more than we were probably expecting to see. Lots of these are part of the new Complete Dribble system and they add a lot of visual depth.
Tom: Agree with Dave on this, was very surprised to see so many new animations, not just for the dribbling but for other stuff like quick free kicks and a new sort of semi bicycle pass/clearance.
Will there be fouls for off the ball collisions and blocking off?
Toby: Yes, there are. It’s also worth saying that there are far fewer clumsy off the ball collisions – players actively avoid these situations now by curving their runs.
Will the Impact Engine improve since Fifa 12?
Dave: EA have done a lot of work on ironing out all of the Impact Engine’s infamous issues. That’s not to say it’s perfect yet (it isn’t) but it’s massively improved. The changes to Push Pull especially are great with jostling situations now having a definitive outcome one way or the other.
Tom: It’s definitely better. There are some issues with players climbing round each other but nothing extreme. It certainly feels a lot more polished and there were far less issues with collisions and corrections.
Is there proper footplanting?
Toby: Unfortunately there are no major changes to footplanting.
Any changes to the quick throw-ins?
Toby: Yes! One of the rather exciting little features actually. As opposed to the quick throws in FIFA 12 which often failed due to a player not being able to pick up the ball, they now work much better – also, a teammate can kick the ball to the thrower for a quick throw. The same thing exists for quick freekicks. All in all, we saw far, far more quick freekicks and throwins than in FIFA 12.
Is the player impact engine still buggy?
Toby: It would be a lie to say it was now entirlely flawless, but it is hugely better than it was in FIFA 12. I can think of just a couple of dodgy instances in 5-6 hours, and even those were pretty minor. Come release, I’d expect it to be even more polished.
How is the space this time around? Will we have more time on the ball?
Toby: Definitely – this is primarily due to the much improved attacking AI. You will have far more options who are in far better positions and space, and as such, you get more time on the ball.
Tom: Very much so. The new Attacking AI does a lot to open things up as players are now moving an awful lot more, which leaves plenty of space to work with and you definitely get more time on the ball, which is good because the dribbling is awesome.
Will we see mistakes from officials?
Toby: There shouldn’t be any intentional mistakes from officials, as far as we know. Wall encroachment is perhaps the only exception here – as you can get away with a bit of encroachment with more lenient referees.
Tom: No and to be honest I hope that’s never a feature. I can’t see it ever being balanced or fair. Imagine conceding a goal that was offside but having it stand? That would be awful.
Would we be able to pull the opponent’s shirt intentionally while still risking a card?
Dave: The new Push Pull system sort of does this but it’s never an intentional shirt pull, or deliberate foul. If you get too heavy on the jostling contact then the referee will of course call a foul.
Tom: Not specifically the shirt, but you can interact physically with players using Push Pull which is similar. You can get pulled up for a foul and carded if you over use it.
Will the defensive AI also be improved or do your teammates still ball watch like in Fifa 12?
Dave: One thing we did notice was that the Two Plays Ahead system seems to work for the team without the ball too. What we saw defensively was full backs anticipating balls in behind better and then covering their centre backs. It was really promising to see and it massively reduced the power of balls over the top as your defenders were already on the move to deal with it, rather than being stationary. It’s certainly one to keep an eye on.
Any change with Free Kick taking?
Tom: Yes, both from an attacking and defensive point of view. Defensivly you can now send a runner out of the wall to charge free kicks down, add players to the wall and creep the wall forward. From the attacking side you can put up to three players behind the ball, dummy the kick twice and take the shot with the third, or dummy and take that player on a run before passing to them. Of the five announcements it was the one I was least interested in, but having now played it I think they’re really good. It will shine in offline multiplayer as it adds a little bit of banter and when you’re in a room with someone you’ll have the time to make use of adding players to the wall, online the defensive additions will probably be less effective as you won’t have the time to make use of them sadly. That said, they work well and are a lot more fun than I expected. We discussed them in more detail on the podcast.
Do we have new attacking dribbling or shooting animations?
Dave: Yes lots, especially with shooting which now has a raft of new animations for volleys and some really impressive off-balance shots which demonstrate when your players are under pressure.
Will the players off the ball actually do something instead of just deciding to run away or run to the touch line because they’re not involved in play at that time?
Dave: The Two Plays Ahead system which is part of Attacking Intelligence really help to engage players movement well before the ball may ever reach them. Your team mates are already thinking about where they need to be and it really helps the fluidity.
Tom: Definitely. With the new AI it feels like there’s a lot more space on the pitch and you do have more options. Players will work harder off the ball and as Dave said, the Two Plays Ahead system means that players are getting involved or realising the need to move a lot earlier. There’s also new types of run like “curve to space behind” and “curve to stay onside” which makes everything look a little less linear.
Is there ANY improvement in manual controls?
Toby: A little perhaps. I found that the correlation between the charge I input and the power of the pass was more consistent, and, for the first time in years I don’t think I noticed any instance of the bug where you’d get a smashed pass for a tiny tap, or vice versa. I’m not quite confident to say that has been fixed, but I think there is a decent chance it has been.
Tom: Nothing that stood out, I didn’t feel that much of a difference sadly. As Toby said in response to another question, the top and bottom end of the passing scale is still a bit off.
Can you make throw-in set pieces?
Tom: Not that we saw. Would that be useful? Happy to be wrong, but can’t think of a use for it really?
Can we take our shirts off during celebrations, and take the yellow card?
Dave: We didn’t see this and given that it represents a yellow card offence every time I doubt EA would add it.
Tom: Given the FIFA communities track record with head hair complaints it’s best to leave this one out. “His chest isn’t waxed like that Fuck you EA!!!1!”. We all know it would happen.
Can you get closer to the ball with ‘contain’ than last year?
Dave: Not by much, but yes you can now get closer. Close enough to tackle directly from Contain without collisions becoming really messy.
Is there still those sweetspots where was too easy to curl the ball in?
Dave: We all felt Finesse Shots were still way too accurate when shooting from an angle. It will be in our feedback.
Tom: With assisted controls it’s still there yeah.
Making a standing tackle resulted in a huge loss of momentum (almost as much as a slide) has this been tuned?
Tom: Not really no, players also recover a lot quicker from slide tackles too, so you don’t feel like you’re commiting a players quite as much as you have done before.
Can you let the ball run ahead of you effectively now?
Dave: The new First Touch Control system actually does a lot of this for you by moving the ball out of your feet as part of the contextual first touch. But apart from that the system where you can let the ball run past you is the same.
When the ball is cleared can it bounce into space?
Dave: It always annoyed me in FIFA 12 when clearances dropped at the feet of a striker and in FIFA 13 this certainly happens less, mainly because of First Touch Control which puts a lot more variation on first time clearances. Then if a long ball does fly to a striker, it’s much more difficult to control meaning you can defend against it easier.
Is the “first-time glitch” still present? That is, when you put near to no power on a pass without first controlling it sometimes it ends up in the stands. It seemed fixed in the FIFA 12 demo but it returned in the full game.
Toby: I wouldn’t like to say for absolute certain without more playtime, but I didn’t notice it the 5-6 hours I had with the game. I’m pretty sure I’d have noticed it within 5-6 hours of FIFA 12 (or a single match), so it’s an encouraging sign. Then again, I’ve always wondered how related this problem is to lag, which obviously wasn’t present when we were playing on Friday.
Do passes have more ZIP?
Dave: A bit more zip but still not enough at the top end of passing for my liking. This can be adjusted with sliders of course but on a baseline level i’d like to see a bit more pace.
Is the dribbling more realistic this year? Is it almost impossible run at players and get around them without using tricks?
Dave: 100% yes, Complete Dribble (LT and RT) allows you to beat players with nothing more than a body swerve, or movement of the ball. It’s a really great system and one I can’t wait for you all to try.
Tom: Oh god yes. No need for tricks to beat players. It’s so much fun.
How does the AI play comparatively to a human player?
Tom: After playing through matches on Pro, World Class and Legendary we came to the conclusion that this area wasn’t really nailed down yet, but it safe to say that the AI was challenging and pretty threatening going forward. Will chat about it in more depth on the podcast.
Will CPU AI be improved so they don’t all try and walk the ball into the net and actually have the occasional shot?
Tom: I’d say so. One example that springs to mind was Dave playing against Chelsea on World Class and Lampard took quite a few shots from outside the box. Lampard has the long shot trait so it’s probably tied to that, but they definitely weren’t just trying to walk it in.
Do you constantly need to control both the right stick (for movement) and the left stick (for facing direction)? Or can you get away with just using the left stick as in Fifa 12?
Toby: Movement is still always controlled through the left stick, though you can still use the right stick to to flick ons as previously. Facing direction is controlled contextually.
Tom: No, everything is still on LS. Complete dribbling is kind of contextual, but you can turn it on manually by holding RT and LT. You don’t need to control the facing seperately.
Do players still automatically (with no control input) try to stretch for a touch even though they can never reach it?
Dave: The interception system is now a lot better than FIFA 12. Now if a pass comes within a certain radius your players they will actively try to intercept it, whereas it used to just pass them by. It’s a big improvement and one we all thought was largely great.
Tom: Yes, but they’re actually able to get there. That’s not to say that it’s overpowering, but there is a noticable improvement in that area. Players will stick a leg out and actually intercept passes properly now.
It has been said that the referees have a better understanding of push-pull, do they have a better understanding of slide tackles as well?
Tom: Difficult one to answer really as we didn’t see anything that suggested they did or didn’t. There weren’t any situations that I remember warranting a foul that wasn’t given or a foul that was given that seemed light. That’s not to say it’s going to be perfect though…
Have the finesse shots been toned down? AKA finesse sweetspots?
Dave: Finesse shots still felt too accurate for my liking and the rest of the team agreed. More error and variation is needed as the finesses shot trajectory is just too close to perfect far too often.
Tom: Doesn’t feel like that much has changed in regards to the finesse shots. The sweet spot from FIFA 12 is still pretty much the same. It’s a bit of a community gripe so it’s possible that’ll be looked at before release.
Do manual controls allow those really soft lay off passes now?
Toby: Maybe it’s just a little easier – I found that the pass weighting on manual was slightly more consistent and did allow me to make the length of pass I wanted more easily – but I still think it’s a little tough to do the really short and really long passes.