We have reviewed many football (or soccer if you prefer) games here at The Smartphone App Review, not least of which was last year’s FIFA 12. We loved that release, and felt that it combined just the right amount of complexity and accessibility, although we lamented the worrying lack of any multiplayer on any kind in a game so suited for playing with others.
On paper, this release improves on the last one in every way possible. The graphics are improved, there are far more passing and shooting options, more modes and -at last- a full online multiplayer suite. The problem is, the game just doesn’t feel as good as last year’s release, as FIFA 12 just feels that little bit more natural, with the players just a touch more responsive. The difference isn’t huge, but regular players will feel it, even as they may be welcoming a lot of the on field additions, such as improved cameras and more realistic ball physics.
It may also have something to do with the control layout, which just doesn’t feel intuitive at all, and can’t be changed or customised very much. The ability to change where the virtual pass and shoot buttons are would help massively here.
Aside from the moderately poorer feel of the game, every other aspect is an improvement on the previous FIFA. The online play, versus strangers via a random match option or against your friends on EA’s Origin service, is great. In a random match you get earn XP points as in the single players modes, and it is good fun, although I did have quite a bit of lag in a few games. What is baffling is the continued absence of local multiplayer.
Manager mode is present and correct, and has a better structure than before with the formation and team selection screens showing particular improvements. The way you can log in to your YouTube account and upload replays is a nice touch.
The game runs really well on an iPhone 4S, and is also compatible with the iPhone 4 and 3GS, although I have to say that the performance was extremely poor on 3GS with blockier graphics and a terrible frame rate. The iPhone 4 runs at a predictable middle ground with sharp graphics but some mild performance issues. This is also a universal release and works perfectly on the iPad.
Overall, this ticks all the right boxes to be a technically better game than last year’s release, but the changes to the feel of the game end up spoiling the experience somewhat. Still, this is a very good soccer/football game that at the very least brings online play to the FIFA iPhone party. If you have online friends to play against, then this is an irresistible release.