A Footie Fan’s Dream Come True
Football is the most popular sport in the world and every year, after the start of a new football season, football fans wait eagerly for a new football game from either EA Sports’ FIFA series, or Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer series.
For the past couple of years, FIFA has arguably been the better game, thanks to its more refined controls and realistic gameplay. It also helps that they are official licensees for FIFA as well as most of the major leagues around the world.
FIFA 14 builds on the successes of its predecessors by introducing new gameplay elements, a revised user interface and, for the next-generation Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles, a new game engine called Ignite. We reviewed the Xbox 360 version, so we did not have the chance to experience this new Ignite game engine.
FIFA games have always looked good and FIFA 14 is no different, although there does not seem to be much visual improvement over last year’s edition. However, the stadiums continue to look fantastic and are rendered accurately. Fans will instantly be able to spot famous stadiums such as Old Trafford, San Siro and the Nou Camp. Players are rendered to exacting detail, and fans will have no problem pointing out their favorites.
As for gameplay, the pace of the game is slower now, and that is because the players’ animations and the way the ball moves have been modified. The changes are subtle, but they all add up to dramatically alter the way the game is played.
Player movements are more realistic and fluid, and there is a real sense of momentum. Players also transfer their weight realistically when changing direction. Additionally, players now have unique step movements instead of scripted run cycles. This means step counts and even dribbling sequences are more unpredictable.
The game’s artificial intelligence (AI) engine has also been taken up a notch, both offensively and defensively. When attacking, your AI teammates will actively exploit open spaces. While on the defensive front, the opposition AI players are now more capable at reading the game, jostling for position, as well as cutting off passes and launching counterattacks.
What this all really means is that the game is now more considered and realistic. No longer can you rely on pure speed to get past players, because a strong defender can easily knock a speedy (but physically weaker) attacker off the ball if positioned correctly.
Players are therefore forced to adopt a more strategic outlook to the game, stringing together passes as well as making intelligent runs and plays. In doing so, the end result is that when a play comes off and you a score a goal, they feel much more satisfying.
Gameplay aside, there have also been tweaks made to the user interface and game menus that make navigation easier. EA has also made numerous improvements to the various game modes. The scouting system in Career mode, for example, has been thoroughly overhauled such that a player’s skill ratings is not visible to you until scouted out.
In closing, the latest FIFA game does not boast any significant improvements or breakthroughs, but the minor modifications have an appreciable and positive effect on the way the game plays.