FIFA 2014 – Game Analysis and Review
By Dan Maurer
Developer: EA Canada
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Engine: Impact engine (Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360), Ignite engine (PlayStation 4 and Xbox One)
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, Wii, Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Release Dates: September 24, 2013, PlayStation 4 (November 15, 2013), Xbox One (November 22, 2013)
Genre: Sports, Football simulation
Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
Last year’s game was a bit of a disappointment in that it failed to take advantage on the previous year’s improvements in any appreciable ways. Like many sports games released over the past few years, FIFA 13 left the impression that the series was standing still, binding its time for the inevitable next-gen jump. Now that the next-gen jump is almost upon us, and FIFA 14 is available for all to play, recommending the current-gen version becomes all the more challenging. But, despite the knowledge a crisper version of FIFA 14 is right around the corner, EA has still made some improvements to the current-gen version that make it worth recommending.
For starters, the on-the-field play feels greatly improved for FIFA 14. While dribbling, passing, friendly and enemy AI, and shooting have all found a nice sweet spot, the way players worked for position always felt a bit lacking. In FIFA 14, that has all changed with players now able to muscle their way to the ball even if a defender cuts them off. It’s a detail that might go unnoticed by some, but one that goes a long way into improving the realism of the game. Speaking of realism, a big change for this year is the way the player physics work when shooting. Now, the game will take into account the trajectory and speed of the player to determine what type of shot they are capable of getting off and what animation to use. For example, if a player stumbles before a shot they will lose significant power and they might end up throwing their whole body into a shot, which makes it more difficult for them to field any potential rebounds. It’s another subtle touch for FIFA 14, but one that fans will appreciate for the realism it adds. The decision to add a new “Protect the Ball” button makes it so players aren’t constantly turning the ball over the second it reaches them. Players can now more easily collect a pass in stride and turn up field without worrying about the ball jumping several yards in front of them.
Graphic wise besides a slight upgrade in the player models from last year, everything for the most part is the same. With the much more robust and detailed next gen versions of FIFA 14 coming in the next month or so, I imagine EA decided to put minimal effort into the current gen versions. Stadiums are still highly detailed from last year’s version, which is a great thing. I did notice some slight screen tearing while in online matches but I will chalk that to possibly the online experience as I noticed no such things in the offline modes.
The most substantial upgrade is Ultimate Team, which EA is keen to tell us, hosts 3.5 million matches daily. No huge improvements here, but it does streamline the previously organization of online single matches and seasons, and the ability to change kit numbers and set-piece takers in addition is community wish fulfillment. There are a variety of them; you can for instance, apply a defensive chemistry style to a defender in order to boost their performance. It’s contributes fresh complexity towards your dream team. Likewise, the career sees only minor changes. It’s still split between player and manager, both options let you control the entire team, but the former can use their virtual pro and skip all the management crap. It still serves up emails from the board and transfer gossip on the wire to keep you involved. It’s still meshed together by a slow calendar system that ticks through each day like the life cycle of a star. Transfers have at least had a facelift, though. Along with more hurdles to jump for a signature, such as promising players match time and checking they’re nice and marginalized at their current squad before prowling, there’s a new global scouting network. Here you’ll have up to six scouts of varying knowledge, set parameters, and send them off. You can find an unknown prodigy in the youth team or get beads on established names, learning cost and wage demands so you can make a bid that won’t be dismissed. As a result wheeling, dealing, and finally securing that hot prospect is much more rewarding.
While not much of an improvement so much from last year’s game, FIFA 14 still is by far the best soccer game out there and will be for years to come.
PunchDrunkGamer Final Score: 8.5 out of 10
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