FIFA is to us on this side of the pond, as Madden is to the Americans. The world’s best selling football and American football games respectively, both games in their home territories are huge sellers, guaranteed to shift millions of copies in the first few weeks on sale, and keep millions occupied year round. With their drawing power in mind, it’s little wonder that Microsoft are incredibly keen to show their Xbox 360 allied with them at any chance they get – with their latest dalliance being announced at E3 – that Kinect support will be coming to both games.
When you think of how something like Kinect would be integrated with a serious football game like FIFA, the first thing that pops into your head may not be stepping up to the penalty spot to literally take the kick yourself. Instead, for FIFA 13, Kinect is being used in a different way - a vocal way. Letting you shout instructions to your team, change formations, or activate substitutions, at any point during a match, you’ll be enjoy the strategic advantage over your opponents, being able to switch things around on the fly without pausing the game. Being able to tell verbally Rooney to get off the pitch as he’s having a terrible match and not get vocally abused by him should be worth the entrance fee alone. Another use comes in FIFA’s create-a-footballer Be A Pro mode, which sees you locked to a single player for the duration of the match. If you wanted to the ball before, all you had to do was press a button, whereas now, you have the option of calling for it, out loud. While it may be more realistic, as it’s exactly as you’d do in real life, we’re still on the fence about whether it’ll actually be easier.
However, there are plenty of other nice touches amongst the features announced too. If you’re having a bad game, or think the ref’s turning against you, should you choose to vent your feelings verbally, you’ll now be reprimanded by the commentators. What would be more interesting would be if the referee could hears your language and books your player. It could be the best thing to happen to Xbox Live since... well... anything!
WhileFIFA 13 uses Kinect in a variety of ways, the same isn’t quite so true for Madden NFL 13. Instead, for Madden 13, Kinect simply lets you set up plays and runs, letting you switch between strategies on the fly without navigating menus.
Surprisingly, this may not be the only innovation coming to Madden or FIFA over the next few years. As Microsoft demonstrated at recent gaming convention E3 with their SmartGlass service, which lets you use a tablet or smartphone with your Xbox 360, in upcoming games, you may even be able to play the entire game using the tablet alone – dragging back and flicking the make passes and shoot as you move your way down the pitch.
With both games, you now have the option to take control of the action as you see fit, whether with a controller, or your voice through Kinect. Very much like He-man, now you “have the Power”.