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E3 2012: The Big Question:

Posted on June 5, 2012 AT 04:39pm

Is a physics upgrade enough?

Year upon year EA Sports comes out with its annual batch of sports titles. The only major change usually being a different number on the end – minus the occasional engine upgrade or feature addition. Does FIFA 13 offer anything different or is this yet another palette swap poser?

This year’s updates include, increases to AI intelligence, improved dribbling, a more realistic impact engine and smart free kicks. Now this may sound like a lot in just a year, but in the grand scheme of the series these updates mean very little. Take the improved AI intelligence. Every year EA promise defenders who know where to stand and attackers who know where to run, and yet it never delivers. This renders this PR bullet point as virtually meaningless.

The improved dribbling offers nothing new bar knocking the ball back and forth between player’s feet, if this seems like something you’d like to spend money on then more fool you. FIFA 12 upgraded the dribbling system dramatically – adding new tricks, faints and flicks – tacking on a foot movement does not improve this in anyway.

Finally – what has to be my most grating of all these “upgrades” – is the improved impact engine. The whole marketing campaign last year was based on this amazing new engine which calculates player impact to create realistic collisions. Now that was an improvement worth paying for as it completely reworked everything fans knew. A small change that adds a few more collision points is really not worth writing home about.

All-in-all none of these upgrades warrant throwing down full retail price; they are superficial and offer nothing to players. However, this hasn’t been true of every entry – some like FIFA 12 offer game changing engine upgrades and features. EA Sports does have a problem though, the big elephant in the room that is next-gen consoles. There’s no way they would recreate a new engine for this generation when the next is so close. However, if this is the case then should they release an entry this year? Why not hold off and create something that the fans want?

The problem is that support for last year’s version ceases as soon as the latest entry is released, this forces fans to upgrade regardless of what’s on offer if they want to continue playing the game they love. One option is to only release a new game every two years. This would give the team time to make worthwhile changes that will genuinely excite fans. Simply offer a roster update during the off year, and this should please most without compromising quality.

Do you feel that FIFA offers enough to warrant an annual update? Does the idea of switching to a bi-annual cycle with a roster update on off years sound good? Let us know in the comments below.

Matthew Bennett, Associate Editor
Matthew Bennett finally got his big break with EGM three years ago, following years of volunteer work for various sites. An ability to go many hours without sleep and a quick wit make him ideal for his role as associate editor at He often thinks back to the days when the very idea of this career seemed like nothing but an impossible dream. Follow him on Twitter @mattyjb89. Meet the rest of the crew.

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