Where FIFA's first outing on the PlayStation Vita, simply titled , eschewed a numerical moniker, the latest version proudly slaps a 13 onto its name. And with that number comes a lot of expectation: the hope that this isn't just another weaker, slimmed-down port, but a true portable version of a console classic. Sadly, that isn't the case. FIFA Soccer 13 on the Vita not only lacks many of the excellent new features of its console counterpart, but it even lacks those of . What you get, then, is a game that's nigh on identical to last year's FIFA Football, complete with a match engine that's still trapped within the aging confines of the now three-year-old .
Beautiful goals like this are possible, so long as you don't use the touch screen.
That means you're limited to the same single-player modes that were in FIFA Football: Virtual Pro, where you create a player, selecting his age, play style, and position; and Career, where you can take your virtual player, or a real-life player, through a 15-year career. There's also the option to take up the role of a player manager, which lets you manage your team's lineup and tactics, as well as recruit new players during the transfer window. And if that's all a bit much for you, there's also a range of basic tournaments to play through, from the FA Cup through to custom leagues and knockout tournaments, as well as quick exhibition matches.
These are still fun modes, but the lack of development is jarring; there's simply nothing new for fans of the Vita version to sink their teeth into. The excellent EA Sports Football Club online mode, which keeps track of any experience points earned and ties them to a real-world team, is still missing. So too is the addictive Ultimate Team--FIFA's mix of role-playing-game-like card trading, Top Trumps, and football management--which is a massive disappointment. Trading cards with others on the go, or even just managing your squad away from home, is a complete no-brainer for a portable console.
As if that weren't bad enough, the action on the pitch lacks any of the refinements FIFA has seen over the last three years. You're stuck with the old "pressing" technique for defending, which feels horribly dated compared to the more modern jockeying and containing system. There's no sign of the physics-based player impact engine, or the improved dribbling system either. Nor does the improved first touch system that made for a more realistic experience in the console version of FIFA 13 appear; the ball stays firmly glued to the feet of players, no matter how good or bad the pass is.
It was then that Aduriz realised he might actually be a fish.