Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past 20 years then you should all be pretty familiar with the FIFA series. The highly anticipated released of the latest title Fifa 13 finally happened last Friday. Fans all over the world flocked to the stores to grab a copy of EA Sports latest masterpiece and in the UK alone the game sold over a million copies in just a couple of days making it the first sports title to do so and only the 4th title ever to achieve such a landmark in such a short space of time (The other titles that achieved this success was 3 of the Call of Duty series, Black Ops, Modern Warfare 2 and Modern Warfare 3) As expected EA Canada haven’t gone and completely changed the game because of the simple reason that there is no point in trying to fix something that isn’t broken. However, what they have done is made a lot of little changes that ultimately make for a better gaming and more realistic football experience. The game features its hugely popular Ultimate Team mode in which players purchase packs that include players, managers, formations, contracts, fitness cards, skill boosters etc. The aim is the build a team that links together with good chemistry and take part in online and offline competitions and by doing so building up your team to the top. You can trade and swap players online via the online auctions section, if you get yourself a Ronaldo or Messi in a pack of cards then count yourself very lucky as players of that calibre can sell for as much as 500,000 coins on the auctions meaning you would be set to build a fantastic team. But if you are like the majority then you have to earn your coins by winning matches, competitions, selling less valuable players and doing some wheeling and dealing. You can also buy Fifa Points using Microsoft points, these can be used to purchase packs only and can’t be used in the auctions. Buying packs using Fifa points works out better value than using your coins.

I’ve always been a fan of the career mode on the Fifa games, whether you choose to create a pro and play out your career as one player or decide to take on the manager’s role and become the next Jose Mourinho or Sir Alex Ferguson. But what has been missing for years is the option to manage or play for the national team in career mode. But Fifa has finally got that in! If you are performing well for your club as a player then you can get called up to the national team and take your chances centre stage in from of the whole nation and even compete in World Cup which really adds to the experience of being a player and testing yourself at the highest level. When it comes to being a manager, if your team is performing well and you’re winning titles then you will get the option to manage the national team on top of your club team, again trying to beat the best and win the World Cup for your chosen nation. When attempting to purchase players now there are more options than previously available, you can offer the club a part exchange offer by using a player as part of a deal to bring your chosen target to your club. You can also set a counter offer when a team is trying to sign one of your players, but if you set a counter offer and the club accepts your new demands then the player will transfer and you won’t be able to stop them leaving. Fifa now has mini training games they you take part in while your matches are loading, these training sessions really help to improve you as a player and teach you more advance controls without you having to look through the manual.

As of last year Fifa’s online head to head matches have been sorted into a league structure. Everyone starts in division 10 and you have to earn a certain amount of points in each league to survive, get promotion or win the title. By setting the online settings in this style it means that people won’t constantly get draw against people who aren’t in their skill level and also gives everyone something to work towards every time they play online because not everyone is good enough or has the time to try and compete with the person ranked number 1 on the leader boards but everyone can work towards a points total in their skill level league. Fifa Pro clubs now also uses a league club so when you and your friends decide to set up a pro club and play as your individual players online then you will have to try and earn promotion in this similar league style meaning you also have something to work towards to and will fight together for promotion. As you would expect though, if you have played any EA game before then you will know that the servers go down quite a lot as EA struggle to keep up with the traffic. Hopefully they sort these problems over the coming months though.

The actual game play itself is very similar to that of Fifa 12 in that you still have the tactical defending feature that has massively improved defending within matches. But this year the newest feature is a first touch control system meaning that no longer will every player have the perfect touch when receiving the ball, the players touch is now determined by not just their skill level but the balls trajectory, pace, angle they are receiving it. Everything comes into play meaning there is a sense of uncertain realism within the game. On top of this new feature there is a new AI system in which players, in particular attacks, will make more creative and bending runs to try and draw defenders to open up spaces and create more chances.

The game has already achieved massive success and will continue to do so all year round, expect more records to be broken. The question is though, how long is it going to be before football games look like live matches do?

Fifa 13 is available now for Play Station 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U, PSP, PSV, 3DS and PC.

Review in association with Duracell Gaming Accessories, which are available from Amazon, Play.com and Zavvi.com Review by Thomas Thompsett, White Room Games.