EA Sport’s FIFA series has become somewhat of a juggernaut in the sports game genre and is easily the best selling Soccer game in the world with millions of players purchasing the latest iteration every year. With this level of success comes of course a burden to truly improve upon last year’s game. For many years now FIFA has outdone Pro Evolution Soccer in just about every way but with PES making a bit of a leap forward, can FIFA 14 remain the king of Soccer once again?
Over the past few years the FIFA series made quite a few jumps on its own with big improvements in the gameplay and physics departments as well as the excellent commentating and overall presentation of the sport. there is also tons and tons of official licensing of players, clubs, leagues and brands which all makes up a level of authenticity that has not been matched. FIFA 14 isn’t any different, all of these aspects are still absolutely fantastic and better than its predecessor.
FIFA 14 still immerses players with tons of real life information as well as match day features that keep the game feeling like you’re truly living in the world of Soccer. EA Sports redesigned the menu system and streamlined moving from screen to screen without much fluff or distraction which helps keep the focus on playing matches. FIFA 14 oozes the international flair of the game as news from the various leagues come across the in-game news feed when in career mode for instance. The menus are also faster to navigate this year and less time is spent waiting for a loading screen which used to be a bit frustrating in previous iterations.
Once on the pitch there is no missing that FIFA 14 is an absolutely great playing game as the many additions and tweaks made on this year’s game are felt right away, albeit them not being massive changes really. FIFA 14 builds on features like the first touch control, the player impact engine and others while adding to them. Players move and feel more realistic on the pitch when they move and travel with the ball, there is a certain sense of weight to them that was missing from last year’s game.
One of biggest improvements for FIFA 14 is the shooting (Pure Shot) and dribbling which both feel more realistic, exciting and really add to the fun and are simply addicting. For players who like to hold the ball in the fashion of an FC Barcelona, you will be happy to know that the left trigger now allows for shielding of the ball in a meaningful way. This works well in attacking play as well and adds to the authenticity of the game.
Players look a lot more like Soccer players do in real live as the move and pivot around the ball when they caress it with a touch on the inside and outside of the foot. Players like Neymar, Messi or Ronaldo look irresistible as they devour defenders before finessing a ball in the far corner or smash one under the bar thanks to refined animations. The matches look a lot more fluid as a result and the game has become more action packed and attack heavy and less of a chess match. Teams will go back and forth with pace and excitement which keeps me coming back game after game, FIFA 14 is a joy every time I lace up my virtual boots.
While FIFA 14 still looks fantastic in its Television broadcast style presentation, it does begin to age a bit as the console generation keeps dragging on but it is not something truly noticeable unless you look for blemishes in the visuals. On the other hand FIFA 14 continues to enjoy unparalleled variety of game modes like the improved and refined FIFA Ultimate Team (including the new Legends Mode on Xbox and chemistry enhancements for individual players), Online Seasons, Career Mode and Be a Pro just to name a few. Once you boot up FIFA 14, it is hard to step away from it as there is always something to do. Not to mention the additional skill games that have been added.
When all is said and done, FIFA 14 just cannot be beat as it boasts many gameplay refinements that manage to actually improve the quality and playability over the already excellent FIFA 13. FIFA 14’s presentation is still state of the art albeit the stagnant visuals given the prolonged console generation and really brings the sport to life. Last year I remember thinking, how could the next FIFA really top this game but EA Sports managed to answer that question convincingly and this makes FIFA 14 a must play.
Score: 9.5 / 10
FIFA 14 was developed by EA Sports and published by Electronic Arts for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC on September 24th. A copy of the Xbox 360 version was provided to us by Electronic Arts for reviewing purposes.