In this week’s Backpage, football journalist and FIFA fan Darren Cross looks at how to get the best out of the FIFA 13 demo…
Not long now until you finally get your hands on EA SPORTS FIFA 13.
The demo is out from September 11th on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC and, as someone who's been playing the game for around a month now, I can tell you you're in for a real treat.
When I first got my hands on it I was so excited to just jump in and start playing that I didn't immediately think too much about trying anything new. I just wanted to play a few matches as quickly as possible to see what the game was like.
Eventually I started to pay more attention to some of the key changes in gameplay, and experiment with the new tools at my disposal. That’s when FIFA 13 really opened up. Everything became more fluid, creative, unique, unpredictable and a lot more fun.
So with that in mind, in this week's Backpage we're going to look at a bunch of things I think you should try in the game as soon as you head into your first match. As well as helping help you to get the best out of your demo experience, you’ll also pick up a few skills that should give you a bit of a head start in the full game when it’s released on September 28.
Okay, first up is…
Create With Complete Dribbling
There are so many ways to use Complete Dribbling to your advantage in FIFA 13 and, even after the all the games I’ve played so far, I’m still doing things with it that surprise me.
That’s a great feeling, because it challenges you to be creative and keep coming up with new ways to take on defenders.
I could write a whole Backpage on all the different ways you can beat players using Complete Dribbling, but for now I just want to encourage you to try it as often as you can in the demo and see what you can come up with.
On Xbox 360 you hold LT and RT – L2 and R2 on PS3 – to make your player face the nearest defender. Now you can control your direction with the left stick or use the right stick to burst away.
A favourite tactic of mine at the moment is to face the defender, draw him towards me by backing off slightly, shift one way then the other to create space before quickly nudging the ball with the right stick and sprinting off. I’ve had a lot of joy with that so give it a go and see what you think.
Make Complete Dribbling a regular part of your play as soon as possible so that using it becomes a habit. Once you get good with it you’ll be very hard to stop, because it’s so tough for the defending team to predict where you’re going.
Focus On Your First Touch
I love the impact that First Touch Control has in FIFA 13. Not only does it make the game look and feel so much more realistic, it also encourages you to think more like a real footballer because you’ll have to make very quick decisions.
Whether you’re defending or attacking you’ll need to judge things like the speed of the ball, the angle of the pass and the momentum of the player receiving it – to name only a few – so you can decide what to do next. It sounds like a lot to think about, but actually it’s all very logical and it won’t be long at all before you’re making better choices more often than not. That’s largely because the feedback you get makes it so obvious; if the ball bounced all over the place or bobbled away in the wrong direction following your first touch then it’s a safe bet that what you were trying to do wasn’t the best option.
My advice with First Touch Control is to protect the ball in attack and take fewer risks in defence than you’re probably used to when playing FIFA 12.
By protecting the ball I mean making sure that your player controls it in the quickest time possible, and with the least amount of risk of it getting away. For example, I very rarely hold sprint when I’m receiving a pass because that usually results in my touch being heavy and unpredictable, as you would expect it to be in the real world. How many times have you seen a player control a high, spinning ball perfectly while sprinting at their absolute maximum speed? It doesn’t happen.
Instead I’ll reduce my speed and concentrate on not trying to do too much with the ball before it’s under control. It’s a very difficult thing to describe in a paragraph of text but trust me, you’ll see exactly what I mean if you start experimenting with your first touch in the demo.
When I’m defending I keep things very simple and take far fewer risks on the ball. If I’m under pressure from a quicker striker and the ball is dropping to my defender, the last thing I’m going to do is attempt to bring it down as I know a poor first touch will probably cost me a goal. Instead I’ll head the ball to an unmarked team-mate or, if that isn’t an option, just get it as far away from my goal as possible.
Ultimately, as long as you focus on making the right decision on your first touch, you’ll make fewer mistakes and score more goals.
Try Passes You Wouldn’t Normally Go For
There’s a neat little dink pass in FIFA 13 that can take the ball over the foot of a defender that’s attempting to block. It’s on the short pass button and is completely contextual – your player will only go for it when he recognises that there’s a defender in the way.
This opens up new passing options that aren’t there in FIFA 12, so look out for moments like this when you’re playing the demo. In my first few games of 13 I often missed chances to play key passes because I thought they would be blocked. Don’t let that happen to you, as they can be really effective.
Yep, that really is a tip because it’s not as obvious as it first sounds.
If you’ve been playing FIFA 12 for a while then, as I mentioned in last week’s Backpage, you’ll have a good idea of when it is and isn’t worth shooting. There are some situations when you can be pretty confident you will or won’t score, but 13 isn’t really like that.
Instead there’s a real feeling that it’s always worth having a go when you get a shooting chance, because your shot might just end up in the back of the net.
I score a lot more in FIFA 13 now because I’m attempting shots that I would never have tried in 12, so have a pop at goal whenever you get the opportunity in the demo. You might just be surprised with the outcome.
Use Your Body
You can win a lot of one-on-one battles in FIFA 13 by using your body intelligently. I’ll often try to muscle a weaker opponent away from the ball by getting level or in front of them and nudging them out of position with the left stick. It’s less risky than a standing or sliding tackle and works well as long as my player is the stronger of the two.
If they’re ahead of me in a race on to a pass I’ll use a push or a pull to claw them back, then get my body between them and the ball. That’s a great tactic as long as the ref isn’t too strict (I’m looking at you, Milborrow).
In FIFA 13 it’s also possible to push and pull your opponent off the ball so you can get into a better position to win it back, which is something I’m now doing much more often. It works best for me when I call in a AI-controlled team-mate to secondary contain the player with the ball, while I switch to the player closest to the attacker that looks like he will be the target of the pass. Then I push him by pressing the standing tackle button and that’s usually enough to get me to the ball first.
That wraps up the Backpage for this week, I’ll leave you to get on with enjoying the demo. Remember to give these tips a try – I’m sure you’ll get more out of the game and become a better FIFA 13 player at the same time.