I still play FIFA 13 for around one hour every day with one of my co-workers while my brother, who is just a casual gamer, sometimes spends his entire night guiding his beloved Arsenal towards yet another Champions League title.
This does not automatically make FIFA 13 the best sports simulation launched in 2012, but with EA Sports the biggest developer of such titles and with the current installment breaking records left and right, they must be doing something right.
FIFA 13 manages to walk the very fine line between revolution and evolution and offers a match experience that’s very similar to what veterans expect from the series, but introduces an important element: uncertainty.
Sports simulations can often feel precise in a way that’s unnatural to the actual real-world disciplines on which they are based and FIFA 13 tries to fix that by making mistakes and wrong choices one of the core features of the game.
High-rated defenders can put an attacker in a good shooting position, forwards can fail to score when presented with an undefended net, midfields often fail to spot the runs of their teammates.
Experiences like this might sound like frustration at first but they inject FIFA 13 with an openness that other games lack and make each match unique and surprising, even when using the same teams and line-ups over and over.
I’ve also played NBA 2K13 this year, a game that does a great job of simulating the experience of the basketball league, but it never felt surprising, superior teams and players always seemed to have the edge in the long term.
Unfortunately, I cannot offer any real opinion on Madden NFL 13 because I cannot get my head around the rules of American football.