Games: Big football releases kick off

Fifa 13

Fifa 13

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Tom Freeman looks at this week’s new games.

THIS week the big two in football games go head to head. Unlike the Edinburgh derby though, this match only takes place once a year.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 (3+, PC, PS3, Xbox360, £39.99) stole a week on FIFA 13 (3+, PS2, PSV, PS3, X360, 3DS, PC, Wii, £24.99-£39.99), but will not be expecting to outsell it.

EA’s FIFA franchise has always had exclusive rights to all the domestic leagues and clubs, whereas Konami’s PES series has had to resort to a few top clubs. In recent years FIFA has also taken up the mantle of being a deeper, more realistic game, where PES has been trading on past glories.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2013, however, is a long overdue return to form, finally updating the ball physics and fixing the control of the defending, which has been broken since 2008. The Master League is a great single player campaign mode.

Despite these improvements, FIFA 13 wins in overtime. It represents a series in its prime, a fluid and energetic simulation of football.

Every year the controls are tweaked and refined, online modes are added, and the Be A Pro mode, in which you control one player through his career, ensure that there is something here for all soccer fans.

Rangers are to be included in the game, despite their re-launch in Scottish Division Three, but they will be categorised as ‘rest of world’. The Scottish Premier League is represented accurately, so expect some tense Edinburgh derbies.

Subscription-based MMORPG World of Warcraft, still popular some eight years after release, has been forced to become free for beginners, after most other persistent online games adopted a free to play model.

Developers Blizzard are relying on expansion packs to maintain revenue streams, and this week sees the release of World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria (12+, PC, £29.99). This is the fourth expansion for WoW, combining a new Monk class with a new race: the Pandaren. More than a little reminiscent of animated film Kung Fu Panda, it’s difficult to see this expansion as anything other than scraping the barrel. It’s certainly more aimed at the casual market than notoriously difficult Cataclysm expansion.

Hardcore gamers got a taste of Mists of Pandoria on Monday at Twitch Gaming in Nicholson Street, Edinburgh.

The gaming café held an all-nighter to celebrate the launch. No stranger to insomnia, Twitch is due to take part again in Sick Kids Save Point, Edinburgh’s 24 hour charity gaming marathon in October. Details at sickkidssavepoint.org