Electronic Arts' FIFA series of soccer/football titles has become a mainstay in the homes of the majority, with almost every year somehow surpassing the previous one in sales terms, breaking new records all the time, even in the football-crazy European territories. The EA Sports product has almost wiped Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer off the scene completely, and with no other real contenders, FIFA has the market almost entirely to itself. After numerous complaints from gamers plagued by the glitch-ridden FIFA 13 on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and the Wii and 3DS versions not even comparing to the stature of the HD console iterations, the 2013 season version has been a big letdown. Step up FIFA 13 on Wii U to set the matter straight.
Although the US market is quickly catching up, Europeans have such passion for the 'Beautiful Game' that having a football game at a console launch - or very soon after, at least - is pretty much imperative. Sadly, though, the likes of FIFA 64 and the first entries on DS and 3DS hardly set the world alight. Thankfully, more effort has definitely gone into FIFA 13 on Wii U. The title may be slightly misleading, with it clearly being FIFA 12 in updated form, complete with re-skin and squad updates (some of the imagery during a season in league mode, for instance, shows Dimitar Berbatov still with Manchester United). However, extras have been mixed in to make the Wii U not only unique, but the ultimate edition of the game, and more stable that the problematic FIFA 13 on other HD systems.
Everything plays just as expected, and all the key modes are all present and correct, but aspects such as First Touch Control are absent, yet the addition of the GamePad more than makes up for tiny parts not included. First off there is a great little element where the GamePad can be held up and used to increase the accuracy of free kicks, penalties, and so on. It may appear to be gimmicky to some, but works extremely well and becomes a natural function to help in matches on the whole very quickly. The biggest addition has to be the way tactics can be changed using the touch screen, be it making substitutions after checking on the stamina levels of certain players, or changing the play style to counteract a stronger than expected opposing team. Although such things could be done before, it is the ease with which they can be implemented that makes a world of difference here.
There is also the fact that entire matches can be played purely on the GamePad alone, which works superbly for those wanting to keep the experience going when the TV needs to be used by someone else. It is yet another example of developers swiftly adapting to the idea of giving the player more freedom than ever before. This first attempt at getting the formula right on Wii U is very impressive indeed, and being able to play such a solid game of football without the glitches that have dragged down the FIFA 13 experience on other systems should be enough to warrant a purchase for those previously sitting on the fence about EA's latest release.
It may sound strange to hear, but Electronic Arts has actually managed to bring the best version of FIFA 13 to Wii U, albeit by crafting a mish-mash of FIFA 12's core gameplay, complete with re-skin, along with some inventive GamePad usage. This is a strong start and is certainly good enough to cover up the lack of Pro Evolution Soccer, or any other football competitor on the system.