FIFA 14 video review – more of the best

EA’s yearly cycle of sports games isn’t complete without another FIFA game to add to the roster as we enter FIFA 14 into the fray. After last year’s going through the motions effort, how well does this latest football game stack up in the long running series, especially in light of its rival PES 2014 releasing in the same period.

http://youtu.be/phBUkd-9EpU

FIFA 14 Video Review Text version:

Today we’re taking  a look at EA’s latest FIFA game which this time rounds off with the number 14, although is in fact game number 21, not including any of the other games like road to world cup and such like. So, given EA’s huge expertise in making soccer titles, number 14 should at the very least be at the top of their game.

From the offset, the presentation is of a high calibre with a cluttered but easy to navigate main menu. It’s here where players can jump in to quick matches, or check out one of many stats , details and other modes. What is perhaps the most striking aspect  is the absence of being directed to any of the modes from the offset, including a tutorial. In fact, there isn’t one, and if players wish to learn the more intricate details and new additions to the gameplay such as the one touch protect the ball and One Shot features, they are presented with a series of mini exercises. In this regard, and possibly rightly so, the game expects its players to be familiar with the series. That said, the basics of passing, dribbling and shooting are very easy to pick up and play for anyone who picks up a controller. All the fancy stuff is buried within the drills and pre match load screens.

Without drawing comparisons to other games, in its own right FIFA 14 offers a comprehensive rendition of the sport which is instantly seen with all the official branding the game sports. There’s a number of leagues to play through if desired, and from the participating clubs, players can choose, even the less popular leagues and teams. The attention to detail is second to none, and if you’re well into your football, then it’s likely this game will cater to your every whim and you steer your chosen team to glory.

Aside from the league games, players can tackle the well established career mode where players can jump into the shoes of manager and pick the winning team, or they can select a lone created or existing  player and nurture a career from lowly roots to super stardom.  To round things off there’s also the  FIFA Ultimate Team Mode which allows for various mash ups of players from the past and present in various competitions, with a bit of tactics thrown in for good measure. For the  lone players there’s certainly enough on the plate, to keep the entertainment flowing freely.

The actual game itself is as expected is well presented and runs smoothly on consoles. The gameplay has had various tweaks offering a bit more intelligence from the AI controlled team mates when making runs and passing. There’s still an issue with the auto player switching which just seems to plague football games, but this is a minor element that shouldn’t be too impacting – unless you start conceding goals as a result. The AI, whilst competent, does show some cracks where the AI performs very well in one instance, or really badly in the next. There are several issues with defenders ignoring players running past them to score easy goals, but the keeper AI does seems to make up for it partially.   The inconsistent AI can be exploited by skilled players , but still offers suitable challenge if the difficulty is increased.

In terms of looks, FIFA 14 sports some solid likenesses which animate well and move with fluidity making the overall visual flare of the package from league to competition play , top quality. It’s the little touches within the gameplay that make for impressive viewing as players dribble with skill and take various shots at goal. As mentioned, the only real negative comes from the rather busy navigation, but this seems to be as a result of featuring so much content.

The audio is perhaps a stand out feature, as the game goes pretty deep not only with  its ambient sound effects, but the commentary as well. Using quips and phrases from real matches, it’s surprising how detailed EA have gone here, even to include remarks about hooligans and off pitch clashes between fans of Millwall and West Ham.

FIFA 14 is an all encompassing game that leaves no stone unturned, and therefore will keep players firmly affixed to their seats with such a wealth of options on offer. The career modes will take some time to beat, especially if players partake in all the matches, and then the mode can be replayed again and again. The competitive online element is ever present as well as detailed stats and challenges with other players makes for a well rounded package for those around the seat or battling it out in the digital realm.

FIFA 14 proves that EA can continually churn out sports games by offering adjustments here and there, but more importantly keeping the details up to date and relevant. The official Licensing with all its trimmings is perhaps the game’s greatest asset over its peers, and leaves the choice with players on how much of an authentic up to date experience they want with their local and International footballing. In this regard FIFA 14 delivers, and although the gameplay might not be as polished as expected in some areas, the overall result is highly favourable, making for a fun and exciting game to play.

Score 9/10 – Review By Robert Cram

 

 

 

 

 

Written by: Rob Cram

Rob Cram has hundreds of video game reviews, thousands of articles under his belt with years of experience in gaming and tech. He aims to remain fair and free from publisher/developer influence. With his extensive knowledge, feels his gaming opinions are valid and worth sharing. Agreement with his views are entirely optional. He might have a bias towards cyberpunk.

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