A Footie Fan’s Dream Come True


HWM (Singapore) - - Lab Test -

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.

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