FIFA 13 Benchmarked
Time for King Football. Every year Electronic Arts knits a fresh layer of the immensely popular FIFA series. The current 13th installment is largely based on the strengths of its predecessors. In this article we will specifically highlight the technology and hardware requirements.
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For years there has been a fierce competition among the football simulators FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer, PES for short. Both series have their unique features and both series have their sworn fanbase. EA's biggest asset is of course the fat license package. Dozens of leagues are available. Hundreds of teams are represented with real player names and jerseys. Although PES 13 is, to our liking, a bit more realistic, FIFA 13 scores points with its excellent gameplay.
At first glance the technology is very similar to the 12-month old brother. As with the predecessor, the PC platform possibilities are not even close to being fully utilized. The reasons lay not only with the low hardware requirements, but also with the weak 2D audience, which resembles a pixel wallpaper upon close inspection. Overall, the texture quality could have been significantly better in many places. Only the players look very detailed and authentic.
There is little to complain about the atmosphere. The professional commentators and emotional chants and cheers give FIFA 13 a proper football mood. Another highlight is the player animations: tackling, slide tackling, and other movements look very credible.
Also praiseworthy: FIFA 13 can also be played easily with a mouse and keyboard. The excessive menu navigation did annoy us a bit (a simplification is needed). But good handling and atmosphere or not: Electronic Arts should throw the dusty engine overboard. With the new console generation (2013/2014), this problem should be solved.
As already mentioned, we are using the FIFA 13 demo version. This of course has the popular note »not representative of the quality of the final product«. Since there were no differences between the demo and final product of FIFA 12, we decided to use the free trial version. Should the performance change with the final version, this article will be updated.
As a basis for the benchmark we use a simple »Kick Off« game, which we recorded with Fraps for about 60 seconds (15 minutes in-game time). In order to keep the refresh rate at a fairly constant level, we avoided goals and fouls. The reason: The performance drops considerably during replays. Our YouTube video provides a glimpse into the test sequence.
The graphics menu is largely the same as the predecessor, but has been expanded with a couple of options. Thus the user can not only change the vertical synchronization (prevents ugly image tearing), but also the transparent Windows design called Aero, which has little impact on performance.
In addition, the refresh rate can be locked at 30 or 60 fps (reduces noise levels in some notebooks since the video cards works less). The resolution options, as well as the hardware based MSAA anti-aliasing (reduces unattractive jagged edges), are identical to the predecessor.
The render quality now ranges from Very Low to High (formerly Low to High). Given the lower illumination and reduced shadows, one should avoid the lower settings (see pictures). On the other hand, FIFA 13 looks properly good at medium settings. Even at the highest settings the graphics could not really amaze us.
FIFA 13 proved to be even less demanding than the recently benchmarked Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Even low-end models, such as the Intel Ivy Bridge integrated HD Graphics 4000, can play the game decently at 1366 x 768 pixels and high details (average 52 fps, 2x anti-aliasing). For 1920 x 1080 pixels and high details even a middle-class GeForce GT 630M suffices (66 fps with 4x MSAA).
Since the refresh rate often drops during replays, some reserves are not a bad idea (at least 40 fps in our benchmark). The last FIFA game had very similar CPU and GPU requirements.
With the FIFA 13, EA delivers a routine development of the series. Although some details are improved, you should not expect any major changes. Still, FIFA 13 is a highly successful football simulator that is on par with the major competitors. The main criticism is the second-rate technology.
Most of the benchmarks were ran on devices provided by Schenker (mysn.de):
- XMG P502 (Core i7-3610QM, GeForce GTX 660M, GTX 670M, GTX 675M, GTX 680M & Radeon HD 7970M, 8 GB RAM)
- XMG A502 (Core i5-3360M, GeForce GT 650M & HD Graphics 4000, 8 GB RAM)
- Xesia M501 (Core i7-2630QM, GeForce GT 630M & HD Graphics 3000, 8 GB RAM)
The GPU driver versions used were: 306.23 (Nvidia), 8.951.6.0 (AMD) and 126.96.36.19961 (Intel).
Towards the end of the month we will also benchmark Borderlands 2 and F1 2012.