Does the added GamePad functionality make this soccer game the one to get?
The Wii was not a great console for sports games. While some would argue with that statement, it’s hard to deny that other consoles had a significant lead in quality sports titles, especially when it came to the aspect of simulation.
FIFA 13 is one of several opportunities coming at the Wii U launch to reverse that trend. Sporting a graphical style and feature set more in line with the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the series than the Wii’s, the game also brings a series of features that utilize the Wii U’s new controller.
The core of the game is basically a port of last year’s FIFA game on the other consoles, with current rosters. That means it doesn’t include some of the new features from FIFA 13 on the PS3 and 360, such as First Touch Control and, much to my disappointment, the integration of international teams into Career Mode. Most of these features are relatively minor tweaks, but would still be nice to have for parity’s sake.
Where the Wii U version really stands out, however, is in its use of the Wii U GamePad. By default, the GamePad screen shows an aerial view of the whole pitch, allowing you to see where all your players are much more easily than the tiny on-screen radar in other versions of the game. That’s not all, though; the touch screen is useful for quick adjustments to tactics and formations, as well as viewing a gauge of player fatigue and other statistical information.
Being able to make substitutions and switch up your play style on the fly speeds up the game, preventing you from having to pause the game and search through menus to make changes. The touch screen can also be used to aim your shots; a quick flick of the GamePad brings up an image of the goal on the touch screen, where touching any point fires off a shot in that direction. The advantage this gives is balanced out by the increased time it takes to pull off, so it never feels like too much of an advantage, although it’s very helpful in the right situation.
While the missing features are disappointing, I think the GamePad functionality adds a lot to the game. As someone who has bought many versions of the series over the past few years on multiple platforms, I would argue that this is the best one I’ve played, because the GamePad use adds so much to the formula. I hope this is a sign of things to come, as continuing down this road could take Nintendo’s consoles from the worst place for sports games to the very best.