EA Sports' 'FIFA 14' video game.
EA Sports' 'FIFA 14' video game.
EA Sports' FIFA franchise has been improving by leaps and bounds year-over-year for the past handful of iterations. Rather than taking another giant step for video game soccerkind, FIFA 14 takes the improvements and re-inventions of the past couple of years, refines them, and puts it all together in a mostly solid product.
A modern sports simulation title, FIFA 14 takes the worldwide sensation of soccer (football in almost every other country) and gives players the opportunity to take control of seemingly any professional soccer club in existence thanks to a huge roster of squads and the ability to create one's own in the addictive Ultimate Team mode.
Giving players a myriad of gameplay options ranging from the genre-standard single match quickplay and franchise modes to online play and a pair of well-made career modes, there's plenty to do in FIFA 14. Of course, none of it would be appealing if there wasn't solid on-the-field action to be had. Thankfully, EA Sports' dev team delivers a much more refined version of the already solid gameplay found in the franchise's last few iterations.
The refinement is highlighted best through the new Precision Movement mechanics that handle ball physics along with close controls and dribbling that gives players a terrific sense of control when on the attack. It also helps when working in tandem with other teammates, allowing for more options when working with the ball. Defense, too, feels much tighter and solid than in years past. For all of the positive tweaks, however, it's not without complaint. The game still feels a bit on the arcade-style side of the spectrum than many may like - especially in terms of passing and taking shots on goal. It's still quite fun and offers a rewarding experience, but those who want as much on-the-field authenticity as possible might come up wanting.
Overall, the presentation remains as strong as ever. Visuals look keenly similar to those of FIFA 13, though undoubtedly with some refinement here and there, and players and stadiums both look just as good as ever. Gameplay animations are smooth and lifelike, though cutscenes still come off a bit robotic in comparison. Perhaps this will change when the next-gen versions come out in November, but it's the reality FIFA players will be visually experiencing for the currently-available current-gen console versions.
In-match audio sounds quite similar to what one would expect to hear during a televised match. Commentary is good, but not excellent as there seems to be a bit of a disconnect between the folks in the broadcast booth and the action on the pitch.
EA Sports has put out yet another stellar sports video game with FIFA 14. It's fun and suffers from very few issues. Those wanting a less arcadish-feeling gameplay experience, however, may want to check out rival Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 - a title that's nipping at FIFA's heels. Fortunately for Electronic Arts, PES just can't stack up in terms of gameplay option - especially in the online arena.
Version tested: PS3 (also available on PS2, Xbox 360, Wii, PC, Vita, 3DS and mobile)
(EA Sports supplied a copy of this game for review.)
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