Published on September 28th, 2013 | by Mark Gibson, Editor/Community Manager
FIFA 14 Review
While we all still patiently (or may impatiently) await the next gen console releases, EA Sports has not stopped rolling out its headline franchise titles. FIFA 14 will be released for next gen, but first, we get to have the game on current consoles as a teaser.
Publisher: EA Sports
Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [Reviewed]
Release Date: Sept. 24, 2013
If you are a returning futbol aficionado, you will notice a vast number of improvements to not only the game mechanics, but the aesthetics as well. Most notably, the menu screens, which were quite dated and confusing. EA Sports seems to be trying to transfer most of its title’s menu screens into a Windows 8 style with boxes. While I have quite a few grips with Windows 8, this menu screen format works wonderfully in a sports game. It is clean, clear, and easy to navigate.
If you are new to the franchise, this is a great soccer title to get started with. The player pool and team selections are some of the largest in any sports game. It almost doubles NHL 14’s selections. Even if you can’t find your favorite club, you can create the team from scratch using the Club Creation Center on the EA Sports website. This is a fantastic feature for resurrecting old clubs or adding one to the game that is in a league not featured.
The game physics have vastly improved. Player movement is more fluid and realistic. However, the visuals are, in a sense, a little too vibrant. Don’t be mistaken; the bright colors and lighting make the game more inviting, but it also takes away from the realism. Player jerseys never get dirty, and the field never looks “played on”. It’s a minor gripe, but if you compare this to the other current EA Sports games, FIFA 14 seems a bit behind.
The new Infinity Engine Two allows for quicker moves and better ball handling. It’s easier to fake out the goalkeeper with a fake shot or stop mid run and pass the ball behind you. It looks great, it feels more natural with the control setup, and most importantly, makes you look cool. Cuts are also quicker, and sprinting is more real. Quick cuts will no longer just have your player stop on a dime, and gone are the days of holding down the sprint button and you player would just take off like the Flash. A player will now actually start to gain momentum in a more natural way.
The overall presentation of the “broadcast” style also seems lacking. The commentary is just okay, and the crowd sounds are great, but not fantastic. You will hear fans chant, see them wave flags, but that is about it. The chanting is sometimes incoherent, and for iconic teams like Real Madrid or Manchester United, you would expect to clearly hear chants that are actually performed. Just like when you play as your favorite University in NCAA Football 14, you expect to hear your school’s fight song.
The intro to the broadcast is bland and could use a little more “showiness”. ESPN showcasing the MLS (Major League Soccer) theme is a great feature from the basic EA broadcast. However, there is nothing special about it. Replays only show goals made and not enough impressive saves or steals. There just seems to be a general lack of broadcast excitement compared to other EA Sports games.
Sticking with the theme of the the 2014 EA Sports titles, Ultimate Team is the main highlighted feature. FIFA UT works on player connections to make a strong club. When setting your starting lineup, you want to match players who are either from the same country, league, or club. For example, a Goalkeeper and a defender from the same country will have a stronger link and therefore, improve the team’s overall rating. Match up two players who are from rival countries like Argentina and England, and you will have a poor link causing the team rating to fall and player performance will decrease. FIFA UT is fun and challenging, and for people who are into Fantasy soccer, this is a much more interactive way to play.
FIFA 14 is a great upgrade from last year’s title. There are a few hindrances here and there that hurt the overall score, but it isn’t enough to stop you from wanting to play. Bottom line, if you are a soccer fan, you will love this game. If you are a casual soccer fan, you will still love this game. It is clean, fresh, vibrant, and easy to pick up quickly and learn. For the more experienced FIFA players, there are plenty of game modes to keep you entertained all year, and enough challenge in Ultimate Team to get your futbol fix.
FIFA 14 Review
Summary: FIFA 14 is a great upgrade from last years title. There are a few hindrances here and there that hurt the overall score, but it isn’t enough to stop you from wanting to play. Bottom line, if you are a soccer fan, you will love this game. If you are a casual soccer fan, you will still love this game. It is clean, fresh, vibrant, and easy to pick up quickly and learn. For the more experienced FIFA players, there are plenty of game modes to keep you entertained all year and enough challenge in Ultimate Team to get your futbol fix.