FIFA 14 is the latest iteration of the widely successful FIFA series from EA Sports and is a great addition to the franchise. It’s a game good enough to knock the much hyped Grand Theft Auto V down the sales chart, but is it good enough to stay at number one?
What You Need to Know
Since the first FIFA game, FIFA International Soccer in 1993, the series has remained a fan favourite and I am constantly amazed at the improvements we have come to expect from EA Sports, but has EA done enough with FIFA 14 to garner the descriptor of ‘must have’? The answer is, yes, but only just.
The problem with a sports simulation is that there is only so much that you can do to improve the current iteration of a series. In the case of FIFA 14 the changes are subtle enough that, at first glance, you may even miss them. In truth, I started playing and I was thoroughly disappointed with the gameplay. It was only after a few games, however, that I started noticing the changes from FIFA 13 that represent the work and effort that has been undertaken and why FIFA 14 is a reasonable addition to your games collection.
What’s the Same?
As stated, sports simulation doesn’t really change from year to year and FIFA 14 is no different. The great choice is still available and you can choose to play by yourself in one-off games, starting a ‘Pro’ and playing seasons, or by managing a team.
As with other games in football simulation the controls are pretty difficult to master. Whilst the basic controls are simple (tackle, shoot, pass, maim … er … I mean, slide tackle), the intricate skill moves can leave even the most experienced fingers guessing.This is the challenge of this genre, however, and personally I wouldn’t have it any other way.
It’s very difficult not to compare FIFA with the Pro Evolution Soccer from Konami, so I try not to because they are both pretty awesome and there are enough people out there that like both to ensure great communities and online play.
You’ll Enjoy FIFA 14 If You Liked…
… Previous FIFA games – get onto the field and play!
… Pro Evolution Soccer.
… FIFA Manager – for the management action.
What I Liked
- 5.) Visual effects look very good. FIFA has never been focussed on graphical excellence but I think that this aspect of the game is improving each year.
- 4.) Crowd interactions. Instead of cardboard cut-outs in the stands, the crowds are a bit more realistic and the noises and shouts from the spectators definitely add something to the game.
- 3.) Improved user friendliness. I found navigating the menus in FIFA 13 a bit arduous and the new layout and accessibility in FIFA 14 is definitely something that has improved. There is, however, still quite a lot of work to do in the FIFA Ultimate Team section of the game.
- 2.) Subtle improvements in the gameplay. The FIFA developers have added more to what your player can do and the control that that player has. It is difficult learning how to control your player at the highest degree, but the tools are there if you are willing to accept the challenge.
- 1.) The completeness of the game. FIFA 14 offers so many different ways to play the game of football. You can build a pro, take part in online leagues, build an awe-inspiring Ultimate Team, manage a team to glory and more. There is so much to do in the game, you’ll start wishing you had more time to play.
Some goals I scored are just fantastic and this is what is so addictive about FIFA. Your favourite moment won’t remain your favourite for long because it’s soon replaced by a more stunning goal, a heavier tackle or even a hard-fought draw against some pretty difficult opponents.
What I Didn’t Like
- 4.) Your team-mates seem to be particularly lethargic and don’t run into space enough. They don’t defend enough, either, and they simply don’t contribute to the team as one would expect. I often find myself running around like a headless chicken after a ball simply because my team won’t help out.
- 3.) The 50 / 50 calls always seem to go the way of the opponent. Whether it is tackling, heading or simple sprinting for a ball, the opponent always seems to have that tiny edge over you. This is in ‘Professional’ mode, though, and in ‘Amateur’ and ‘Semi-Pro’ you can do whatever you like.
- 2.) There are five levels of difficulty in FIFA 14 which is exactly the same as in FIFA 13, but once again the cavernous difference between Semi-Pro and Professional is almost insurmountable. I am adamant that I will only play on Professional at the moment but it sure is tough. Although I am slowly getting the hang of it, the difficulty increase to Professional just makes the game frustrating.
- 1.) Auto switching. Man, there is just something about auto-switching that EA can just not get right. Auto-switching is when you are gallantly chasing after an opponent (pressing right on your controller – running towards the player) and the game auto-switches you to another (better positioned?) player, but you’re still pressing right on your controller so the new player runs away from the opponent. Frustrating.
Least Favourite Moment
Unfortunately my least favourite moment happens more than once in a game of FIFA 14, and that is an ill-timed player switch at a crucial moment that results in a goal being scored against you.
There is not much extra in FIFA 14 that can be found in FIFA 13. Everything is, simply, a little better. The navigation and menus are a lot more user friendly, and once you learn where everything is (a quick process) finding it again is a simple task.
The biggest differences in the game comes in the actual gameplay itself. The differences are subtle and, quite frankly, difficult to master. Don’t expect an easy route to the finals, success in FIFA 14 is definitely earned with hard work and dedication.
FIFA 14 Gameplay Trailer
The Bottom Line
FIFA 14 is a great addition to a series which is synonymous with excellence and comes highly recommended – serious gamers and series fans shouldn’t miss out, but if you are a casual FIFA player then last year’s FIFA 13 will still fulfill your needs.
FIFA 14 was reviewed on the Xbox 360