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FIFA 14 Review


If football on the current generation of consoles had a celling, then I think it’d be fair to say that the FIFA series is about to burst through it. Anyone taking a step back and looking at last year’s version in comparison to FIFA 14 will no doubt agree that the new additions and tweaks made are welcome, however they’d also have to agree that FIFA has nowhere to go other than up, and on current generation consoles that just may not be possible.

If it is true that the next gen version of FIFA will be the go-to game, at least this year’s version is set to go out with a bang. There is a whole host of changes, all of which bring welcome improvements and once again take a step closer to realising the dream of an authentic football experience. One of the first changes, and in my opinion one that’s long overdue, is the brand new metro-style menu system. Things were getting a bit cluttered in FIFA 13 with the sheer amount of options, so this new menu is a breath of fresh air. Seemingly taking inspiration from Windows 8, the menus are easily navigated from left to right, while also standing out thanks to accompanying pictures. There are various tabs for you to flick between, giving you access to head-to-head matches, Ultimate Team, Career Mode and everything in between. This change to the menu system really makes this year’s FIFA stand out and it’s a change that will certainly be welcome should it make its way over to the next generation consoles.

This year’s FIFA in not just about fancy menus, as stepping on to the park sees EA tweak gameplay once again. I was trying to avoid using EA’s fancy marketing buzz words, but it’s true that you can see changes in effect. Perhaps the most obvious new addition is ‘Precision Movement,’ which is EA’s way of saying that player momentum when running and changing position means they no longer defy physics as they make turns with the ball or perform tricks, instead it feels like players are much more prone to falling over or making that crucial mistake. There have been a few further tweaks to accommodate this such as the left trigger now being used to protect the ball, while skill moves are now shifted to the right stick, making them a lot more intuitive to perform. Other ‘buzz word’ tweaks this year include ‘Pure Shot’ which when combined with the new Ball Physics makes shots at goal feel more weighted and realistic. It doesn’t make scoring goals easier, but allows the players to adjust their stride and angle to find the best position to hit the ball, which makes it all the more frustrating when they balloon yet another sitter over the crossbar. As is usually the case, there are also other tweaks to gameplay in this year’s FIFA, however none are more obvious than those mentioned above.



Returning to the menus, FIFA 14 brings lots of new changes to Career Mode and Ultimate Team as well as adding a new mode in Co-Op Seasons. Ultimate Team is an area that everyone who plays FIFA loves, so you’ll be happy to know that its been improved thanks to the addition of player chemistry, which gives the option of adding special consumables to players, allowing their skills to compliment each other, for example by applying the heading skill to your strikers and crossing skills to your wingers they’ll work a lot better together. Chemistry is given as a measurement on the squad screen, so you’ll always be able to keep an eye on how well your team understand each other. Other changes to Ultimate Team include improved searching, the addition of a new single online match, extended seasons and player loyalty, which applies a chemistry bonus for those players found in packs.

Career Mode is probably the area that benefit most from this years change to a metro-style menu. It’s now so much easier to find your way around, allowing you to manage your team or try out the new Global Transfer Network, which adds a worldwide scouting network, providing you with reports in order for you to decide whether you’d like to snap a player on a pre-contract or take a chance by paying a fee. What’s interesting about the scout reports is that they’ll give you a set of ranges for each attribute, rather than the exact number, so you’ll have to use your instinct as to whether the player is for you. This helps add a sense of depth and realism that was missing before. One of the changes I was most pleased with is that you can now use a simple button press to save your game, rather than hunting through about five different menus, a simple thing but to me a brilliant one.

There are plenty of other tweak too, but listing them will see the danger of this review turning into a marketing document. What I will say is that this year’s FIFA feels as brilliant as ever and by adding in the changes mentioned above, as well as a whole host of new skill games, leagues and stadiums, it seems as though the content is about to burst out of the disc.

I will go back to my earlier point that I don’t feel FIFA on current generation consoles has got many more places to go, but if EA can put even half the effort into the PS4 and Xbox One versions, then it seems to me like we are in for a massive treat.

Football is a lot of people’s passion and if you are not out on a Saturday taking part or watching a game, then playing FIFA 14 is a perfectly good way to replicate the feeling this sport gives you. FIFA 14 may not be a perfect substitute for the real thing, but it’s as close as you’ll get on a console.

(Version Tested: PS3)

Pros

+ Menus have been redesigned for the better
+ Changes to Ultimate team are welcome
+ Career Mode is much improved
+ New teams, leagues add more choice
+ The best FIFA yet

Cons

- Feels like its hit its limit on current gen consoles
- Some commentary is repeated within minutes

Edited On 23 Sep, 2013

Comments
( 2 )
Anonymous user's avatar
James 3 years ago
Sounds good, but this will be the first Fifa since 2004 I haven't bought at launch. Waiting for the PS4 version using the Ignite engine. It will be a tough wait until the 29th November, but will be worth it. Cant bear 720p football games anymore!
HappyNoodleBoy's avatar
HappyNoodleBoy 3 years ago
I'm waiting for the PS4 version too. I feel FIFA on current consoles has hit a brick wall. Time for a next gen renovation

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