FIFA Soccer 13 for Wii U preview

Many are still looking for a "killer app" for Wii U. Surprisingly, EA Sports' FIFA Soccer 13 may have just filled that role.

For ardent Nintendo fans, simply offering HD support makes Wii U a worthwhile enough purchase. However, many others are still looking for a "killer app"--something that showcases the value of Nintendo's unique tablet-style controller. Pikmin 3 and Rayman Legends stole the show for us at E3. However, both games have been usurped by a surprise contender: FIFA Soccer 13. Whereas most third-party offerings on Wii U have implemented largely uninspired uses for the Wii U GamePad (like EA's own Mass Effect 3), EA Sports radically transforms the game. FIFA offers a "best of both worlds" approach for the Wii U platform. If you want to play it as you would on PS3 or Xbox 360, you can. You can ignore the tablet controller altogether and play the game using the buttons and sticks only. Unlike the Wii U port of Madden, FIFA feels like the complete game. Considering the FIFA franchise is one of the most well-received games in sports, that's a good thing. However, you can use the GamePad to augment the experience. Perhaps the most significant addition to play is the ability to draw routes for your AI teammates. As you actively control one runner, you can tap on another on the GamePad, draw a route, and set up some interesting passing and shooting opportunities. Being able to precisely aim your kick shot is also much appreciated. It's activated simply by shaking the controller (or pressing down L3). The GamePad will then display a picture of the goal, and you can tap which part of the net you want to aim for. It adds an appreciable level of depth to the kicking experience. Having the GamePad makes playing FIFA an unquestionably better experience. However, you can also play the game in a completely new way by using the GamePad only. For more casual players, you can simply act as a Manager, letting the AI control all your players on field. In this mode, you can simply tap on individual players and draw plays. You can also change tactics on the fly, altering formations and substituting players.

See our gallery to see the Wii U GamePad in action

It may feel "watered down" for hardcore players, but it's just another way of playing made possible by the GamePad. You can also have one player serve as the Manager using the GamePad, and then have four other players use Wii Remotes to control active players, for an interesting demonstration of Nintendo's asymmetric multiplayer. The marvelous thing about FIFA for Wii U is that you're free to ignore all the bells and whistles EA has added for this iteration. You're still getting the core FIFA experience, no matter how you choose to play. However, the new features exclusive to the GamePad make FIFA for Wii U feel like the definitive version of the game. For many, that will be the system-seller that gamers have been looking for. FIFA Soccer 13 will be available on Wii U... whenever the console launches.

Andrew Yoon was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 9, 2012 1:15 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, FIFA Soccer 13 for Wii U preview.

    Many are still looking for a "killer app" for Wii U. Surprisingly, EA Sports' FIFA Soccer 13 may have just filled that role.

    • reply
      August 9, 2012 1:29 PM

      I'm having a hard time envisioning those touchscreen features working well if I have to constantly look away from the action (especially the kicking stuff). I honestly really liked the sound of the way the Wii did the same feature (drawing runs for your teammates with the Wiimote), seems like a better option than looking down at the gamepad. Of course the Wii U version won't be gimped graphically and technically like a Wii version was.

      • reply
        August 9, 2012 3:48 PM

        Sounds to me like you might be able to get enough information from the gamepad that the tv becomes superfluous.

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          August 9, 2012 3:51 PM

          Presumably if I want a 3DS version of FIFA I'd buy it for that...

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            August 9, 2012 7:32 PM

            Point being even if you have to move your eyes you should still be able to focus on the action.

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        August 9, 2012 3:49 PM

        I see it less as "looking away from the action" and more as "looking away from the pretty representation of the action" and making specific paths/plays using a graphically simple version of what's going on. Though, if you're constantly glued to what your one controlled character is doing at all times, it would possibly get tiring.

        But then, that's why most of these extras are options! And I say options are good.

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          August 9, 2012 3:53 PM

          There's a reason we evolved beyond graphically simple versions of these games, and it's not just for eye candy. Trying to determine who should make a run and to where should be determined in part by positioning and jockeying which we like to use fancy graphics to demonstrate more effectively than Xs and Os.

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        August 10, 2012 2:04 AM

        The touchscreen shooting goal overlay is partially transparent so you can see the action on the controller behind it. For the most part, the controller shows what's on the TV with some extra information. For the setpieces, the "Lift & Look" camera cuts back to the regular gameplay view shortly after you kick the ball.

        We spent a decent amount of time making sure that it wasn't jarring looking back and forth between the TV and controller.

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