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FIFA 13 Loads On More Features

When FIFA series developer EA Canada announced gameplay changes to the franchise earlier this year, including more dribbling control, expanded free kick options, and aggressive off-the-ball AI attacking, fans got excited. At a recent EA Sports event, the developer also revealed additional new features for FIFA 13. The one feature that should make fans anticipate the game's fall release the most?The integration of international play into the the normal club career.

For Club and Country

Whether you chose to play the game's career as a manager or a player (EA removed player/managers this go around), the world stage awaits. Players work their way into their country's national squad through good play, while managers can sign a contract to manage one of FIFA's many international squads. Participation includes friendlies, qualifying, regional tournaments, and a global, World Cup-like tournament that occurs every four years.

Either way, the road is long and not easy. You must perform your normal club duties at the same time, and you only get offers from the top-tier national teams as a manager if your club has a high prestige rating and is performing well. Players have to work their way into the permanent lineup by first proving themselves in lower-priority international callups.

Managers have national side objectives based on the relative prestige of each country's team, and you can be fired or your yearly contract not renewed if the qualifying campaign is looking grim. One aspect of the international experience that is not completely replicated is your manager's relationship with the players. Although FIFA 13's club career adds more intuitive AI where players are attuned to their roles on the squad (i.e. a bench player isn't going to bellyache if he's not in the starting eleven, but he will ask to be a sub or seek playing time for non-essential games), this is absent from your national duties. As manager you can, however, pick your squad for each game from a deep pool of that country's players.

Other than the addition of international duties, new career mode improvements include tweaked player and club AI during the transfer windows. Players are worth more money if they are in good form, and clubs are smarter about letting players go instead of always taking the money. Teams can lure players with a promised role based on that player's ability, and in general, players are more attuned to their place in the overall organization of the team (see above). Finally, you can present counter-offers to teams to create more of a back-and-forth feel to negotiations, and cash-plus-player transactions are allowed.

Hone Your Abilities With FIFA 13 Skill Games

Anyone can learn how to shoot, pass, and tackle within a matter of minutes, but FIFA games also feature several advanced controls that can take years to master. Even though I’ve played the game since its debut on the Sega Genesis, to my embarrassment I’ve never learned the art of the free kick. Whenever I’m set up a few yards outside the goal box, I may as well pass the ball directly to the defender because I’m either going to sail a shot 10 feet over the crossbar or dump a poor excuse for a shot right into the goalie’s body. Developer EA Canada is aware that not everyone has mastered the subtleties of FIFA, so to surface these technical skills and give players a playground to practice, it has created a new set of skill games for FIFA 13.

These 32 new challenges break down into eight disciplines: dribbling, ground passing, lob passing, crossing, shooting, advanced shooting, free kicks, and penalties. Each category has a bronze, silver, and gold test, as well as a skill challenge that creates a match scenario for you to test your abilities. For instance, the bronze level advanced shooting skill has you practicing chip shots over defenders, the silver level tests your one-timing ability, and the gold level requires you to round the keeper with a skilled dribble move before shooting.

Most of the early level skill challenges are easy to execute, but I appreciated being taught the more advanced strategies. The ability to practice free kicks over and over with some light guidance gave me an immediate performance boost. Before long I was correctly curving shots over a wall of players. Practicing penalty shots also taught me that when you successfully hit the sweet spot in the shot meter, you can move your aim around the net freely before the kick is off; I had always assumed the shot would go wherever I was aiming it when I released the shoot button. When you successfully complete these challenges, your score is uploaded to a leaderboard where you can compare your skills with friends and the rest of the world.

The skill games presented to you while your match loads are randomized, but the game also tracks your performance games and will present you with trials that you need to work on. If you want to spend more than just a few minutes practicing, you can also access the skill games in the main menu. –Matt Bertz

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  • I liked the first paragraph. The second paragraph has a yellow background for some reason, at least for me, and it's hard to read. I highlighted it though which made it legible. This will no doubt be the best FIFA yet.
  • i think i got eye cancer from reading this grey on yellowish part

  • One of my top five most anticipated games of this year! 1. Far Cry 3 2. Medal of Honor 3. Dishonored 4. FIFA 13 5. Assassins Creed 3 6. Halo 4 7. Borderlands 2 And I'm getting all those Games too!
  • I always wondered why FIFA did not have an in depth practice mode. The game is simple to play but very difficult to master. I must have played around 300-400 hours of FIFA 11/12 and still can not do any of the trick moves. Just recently learned how to cross correctly, hurray!

  • I like the addition of the skills games. As a defender, it would be nice to actually get the ball and play around with it, too. :) I was a good passer and pretty decent dribbler. This is going to help me greatly.

    I think it would be nice to see teams bidding for my player during the transfer window, if he's good enough. I'd like him to be loaned to a lesser club if not, or at least until he's good enough to play for his parent club.

    All sounds promising.

  • OMG! I can't wait to play this.

  • About time they added national play.

  • I can beat the heck out of those real madrid guys with the houston areos!

  • meh

  • It's about time they gave the ability to play for your national team, the good news is that if I play for the U.S. it won't be long before my virtual pro is a consistent starter, my current virtual pro is better than anyone on the national team today, actually, they're probably better than anyone that ever played for the U.S. national team.

  • Turn the lights on, it might help.

  • Is soccer big in Canada?

  • They added something like this in FIFA 08 or 09 for Be a Pro: Club and Country but it was pretty bad. I hope EA manages to avoid the mistakes they made back then.