FIFA 13 PS Vita Review

No game has ever confused me as much as FIFA 13 Vita. Many aspects of the game leave me polarised – it offers either great enjoyment or extreme disappointment.

From the visuals, to the game modes, to the controls, FIFA 13 Vita sits head and shoulders above any sports sim on any mobile device that I have ever played.

That said, after playing FIFA 13 on my PS3 for at least an hour day since I received it, I was expecting a lot from this title and perhaps I had set the bar way too high.

FIFA 13 Vita is not FIFA 13 – it is a re-skinned version of FIFA 11/12 that has been given updated kits and player rosters. There are no exclusive Vita-only game modes, online or offline, an to add insult to injury there isn’t even a whiff of FIFA 13’s awesome online interactivity. No – what we have been given is almost identical to my PS3 copy of FIFA 11.

FIFA 13 PS Vita screenshot 1

There are 6 offline game modes namely:

  • Create Tournament – Create your own custom tournament
  • Tournaments – Take part in one of 23 countries’ different local cups and leagues
  • Career mode – FIFA 13 Vita allows you to live out your dream as either a Manager, Player, or Player Manager of any club in the game
  • Be a Pro: Goalkeeper – Play a quick game as a goalkeeper
  • Be a Pro: Player – Play a quick game as an individual player
  • Exhibition match – Create an exhibition match between any two teams in the game.

The online modes have been given the same dreary treatment, offering 3 modes which include:

  • Match Lobbies – Access to three different online match types which are either ranked , practice or manua – essentially ranked matches with all the aides turned off.
  • Head to Head – Once again ranked matches, but instead of you weeding out the noobs and rage quitters, this is more of a quick online match mode which whilst rather useful, it is once again nothing new or mind blowing.
  • Friend League – The Final online mode enables you to create and join leagues with your friends and compete online.

The online mode is a rather sore point because even with multiple internet sources, from a 10mb unshaped ADSL line through to an HSDPA mobile connection, I was unable to compete on a fair lag-free playing field. This was highly frustrating because I had opponents quitting on me constantly. This was even more infuriating as the only games I was really able to finish were the ones in which I had been totally dominated due to the poor connection.

FIFA 13 PS Vita screenshot 4

That sums up every single game mode in FIFA 13 Vita. And at R399 that does seem a wee bit steep for a game that offers you slightly less than the IOS/Android version which will cost you roughly R45.

You would think that this would be enough to turn you off from FIFA 13 Vita completely. You would think that you’d be better off downloading FIFA13 for your phone or tablet. But if you did that and you’re a sport sim enthusiast you’d possibly miss out on one of the most exhilarating sport sims that I have ever played.

The gameplay and controlling mechanism in FIFA 13 Vita are the best that I have ever experienced in a football sim and are as close to perfect as any sports game has ever come. The absolute precision control that the touch interface has brought into the FIFA universe is mind boggling. For the first time I can now shoot the ball and it goes where I want it to, how I want it to, and at the pace that I want.

A touch of class

The rear touch pad of the PS Vita has given you Messi’s left foot an Ronaldo’s right. To shoot the ball into the top left all you need to do is tap the touch pad in the top left corner, and to hammer a goal home into the bottom right the same concept has been applied.

The longer your finger touches the pad the harder your shot will be. At first it take a little getting used to, however after a little practice you’ll find yourself wondering how you ever scored without it. The ability to use the rear touchpad is also carried over into free kicks, with the same concept universally applied. However, player skill and your own personal skill is still a driving force behind this – press too hard or too soft and the ball will either shank over the top of the goal or plummet into the face of one of the wall defenders.

FIFA 13 PS Vita screenshot 6

As for free kicks and corners, the PS Vita’s touch screen also comes into play. As with the rear touchpad, the touch screen allows for you to place the ball by simply touching the screen in the desired area. The longer your press the harder the kick, so practising this input method is crucial.

The touch screen can also be used in free play to place the ball exactly where you want whether its for a pass or for a lob. Again this is done by applying pressure, unfortunately this is not so easily done as you have to somehow move your hand into a position to deliver a pass and then quickly place it back on the side of the Vita.

Visually this has to be one of the most stunning sports game that I have ever seen on a mobile device. The visuals surpass anything seen on a PSP or DS, and even when comparing it to the iOS version on the beautiful retina display, FIFA 13 Vita is simply in a league of its own.

That said, it’s nowhere near perfect as there are a few graphical glitches, such as when playing a night match there is only one shadow cast on the playing surface, and then when playing as a goalkeeper you can simply stroll through the net.

FIFA 13 PS Vita screenshot 5

The audio suffers from the same monotonous drone that all previous titles have suffered from. The musical soundtrack has been reduced to 8 tracks, which really adds to the monotony

With the major and minor problems I have mentioned I would say that buying this title new is only for the most hardcore of FIFA fans, however if you are a casual sports gamer who is looking to take the football experience with you I’d wait until its available on the 2nd hand market.

Its such a pity, and a bit of a slap in the face to Vita owners that this title had not been given the full FIFA 13 make over. I really do feel that the Vita is more than capable of running the full game with all of its modes. Lets hope that EA Canada provides us with a full product when FIFA 14 arrives.

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FIFA 13 PS Vita Review

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