It’s fair to say that EA Mobile finally nailed mobile football in the last version of FIFA, bringing a much slicker package both on and off the pitch than any of its rivals.
As far as the matches go, this year strikes me as a consolidation of that lead, with a few tweaks to the excellent controls and more detail on the pitch.
Unfortunately, EA Mobile is keeping its cards close to its chest when it comes to the Manager mode at the moment, so I can’t say too much about the most popular game mode other than – yes – it’s back in this version.
One of the headline features the company was keen on highlighting this time around is the addition of real-life stadiums, such as the home of newly crowned European Champions League winners Chelsea.
Again, information on what other teams will get their stadium modelled was not forthcoming, but I’d be highly surprised if it didn’t include the biggest teams from the Premier League, La Liga, and other top European leagues.
While the presentation of the menus mimic that of the console version, EA Mobile has made certain screens more touch-friendly – like a team-management screen that has larger icons for swapping out players more easily.
Another new use of the touchscreen is two-fingered sweeps in-game, which alter team tactics on the fly. So now you can push your team up in the final minutes of a close match without having to mess around with loading screens or menus.
Crossed the line
Graphically, FIFA 13 is the best-looking entry in the series by a fair margin – especially if you’re going to be playing on the Retina display screen of the new iPad.
The number of animation frames has increased from last year, resulting in a smoother feel. There’s no Impact engine at play, but given the bugs that this technology created in last year’s console FIFA that’s probably for the best - it can be distracting when your striker's legs bend the wrong way in the middle of a trick.
Tricks are now handled via a dedicated button that turns into a 3x3 grid. By tracing on the grid (such as in a semi-circle), you can perform moves like step-overs and the rest.
We’ll see if FIFA 13 has the moves to score a high mark when the game launches later this year.