Modes are plentiful, crowded onto a (slightly confusing) menu with over 50 licensed tournaments, Be a Pro/Goalie modes, and a largely unchanged career bar a few new tabloid headlines and harder-to-poach players.
Sadly, the presentation disappoints slightly - it's gorgeous but unlike any real match we've ever seen. Where's the crowd reaction shots? Bullet-time foul replays? Gum-chewing managers? Dishonest divers and post-game shirt-swapping? Let's not ourselves overlook the little touches, though.
Players, bending to scoop up the ball for a throw, no longer shin it away and paw at the air. Teammates will pass or receive the ball for quick free-kicks rather than standing around gormlessly because the ball's fallen a few feet away and there isn't an animation to retrieve it.
Referees will make decisions you won't always agree with...
Realism extends to referees, who'll now perform drop balls where players punt the ball to opposition goalkeepers in a show of good sportsmanship and a round of applause - the kick is automatic to prevent the devious amongst us taking advantage - and refs will make decisions you won't always agree with (unlike PES 2013, where offside decisions are very rarely wrong).
And there's more, like mid-match score updates on other games being played that day, and commentators who "umm", "ahh', and even consult Geoff Shreeves pitchside on the status of an injury ("Well, Clive, it's a torn ligament, we think.").
Despite not being a huge step forward, FIFA 13's gameplay's more organic and modes are plentiful. It eats, sleeps and breathes football, tying into the world game like nothing before. FIFA 13's less a videogame and more a season ticket.
PES 2013 has stepped up to the plate this year, but FIFA 13 is still, just about, the best. EA are treading water before the next-gen push, but deceptively minor tweaks make major impacts, and persistent online modes are welcome.
- Subtle, effective changes to the blueprint
- New modes a real success
- Still superb in multiplayer
- Computer-assisted errors won't be to everyone's tastes