FIFA 14

FIFA 14
 
 

Back in October, I reviewed FIFA 14 on the last-gen PS3 console (it feels so weird saying that already.) While the game scored as well as expected, I did mention that the best was yet to come. Now we can all finally see what EA are bringing to the beloved football franchise with the new hardware at their disposal and the much-touted Ignite engine.

Who Are Ya?

Because we’ve already reviewed FIFA 14, this article will focus on what’s new to the Xbox One - and an obvious starting point would be in the visuals. From a distance, it would be difficult to tell that you’re playing a next-gen game. But zooming into the action, thanks to the fully-controllable replay cameras, you can tell that the beautiful game has definitely been given a facelift.

 
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The crowds that adorn the stadiums look better than ever, with distinctive individual models that now react realistically to the events on the pitch. If you’re playing as Manchester City, for example, you’ll hear boos and heckles everytime Rooney touches the ball. The crowd is even dynamically positioned around the stadium, with pockets of supporters behind the goal which breathe a real sense of atmosphere into every match.

All of the player models are more detailed too, featuring the likenesses of their real-life counterparts as well as smoother and more realistic animations. Not only do the footballers move fluidly, they are also capable of more realistic behaviour on the pitch. Players are far more responsive, which can take a little while to get used to. Initially you’ll overstep a tackle or misjudge your ability to turn on the ball. However, with practice, you’ll start opening the doors to attractive football and stunning shots at goal.

Punching the ole’ Onion Bag

This heightened level of realism has dribbled into the ball physics as well. On the Xbox One. the ball feels even more like an independent entity than ever before, spinning and bouncing around as it would in real-life. This is particularly noticeable when taking shots on goal, where it can volley off the outside of a striker’s boot and change direction when it hits the ground - or a goalie’s open hand. It sounds like a basic feature, but FIFA 14 feels more dynamic and responsive as a result.

One of the most significant improvements that the computational power of the new hardware delivers, though,  affects aerial contests. It’s staggering to think that, for all of the previous FIFA games’, brilliance, there was always a glaringly obvious shortcoming in every one. Previously, only one defender was able to jump and compete for a header, with the end result often coming down to a coin-flip as to whether the attacker or the defender would make contact with the ball. In fact, more often than not, the odds were stacked in the attacker’s favour. Now, multiple players can contest for aerial balls, jostling in mid-air in a realistic fashion - sometimes even ending up in player pile-ups. It makes corners, wide crosses, and set-pieces more realistic and harder to score from.

All of this visual eye-candy leads to some spectacular football magic. You’ll witness goals that you’ll want to watch over and over again via the slow-motion action replay system in the game. There's the occasional glitch, where a player’s arm may float through an opponent, but overall FIFA 14 is just as much a spectator’s game as it is a hands-on affair. Other improvements - such as quicker throw-ins and substitutions, as well as television-esque cut-aways and replay highlights - make FIFA 14 extremely watchable, regardless of your level of passion for the sport.

FIFA is best when played with (or against) friends, but the next-gen hardware does allow for some elevated artificial intelligence for singleplayer matches too. You’ll see smarter defenders marking forwards and playing the offside trap more realistically, and attacking players will find space more intelligently allowing for quicker counter-attacks and break-away runs. To put it in context, EA have stated that “AI players now make decisions four times faster than on previous consoles... resulting in players that are more aware of their surroundings and react accordingly.”

Full Time

True FIFA fans will be disappointed that there are no additional game modes available on the Xbox One, when compared to the 360 edition. In fact, there are actually less. Head-to-head and the Creation Center are absent from the Xbox One release, but the game still contains identical Career Modes, Ultimate Team, Seasons, and both quick-play and extensive multiplayer options.

It is unusual that it would be minus gameplay modes, but few would notice and those new to the franchise will still be blown away by the extent of the options available in FIFA 14. With over 500 officially licensed clubs, dozens of authentic leagues and tournaments, and a competitive, socially engaging online community, few football fans could complain.

Xbox One owners (along with those on the 360) will get an extra feature over and above those available to Sony gamers, though, in the form of the new Legends mode. It adds a rich history of golden oldies to your player roster, with some all-time greats such as Pele, Luis Figo, and Dennis Bergkamp. But also Fredrik Ljungberg for some reason?

Injury Time

FIFA 14 on the Xbox One is a fantastic experience, but there is something that doesn’t feel quite right still. EA Sports have tackled some worthy features to elevate the game into next-gen status, but there are other sections that feel rushed. Because of the transition period, there have been improvements on the surface but FIFA 14 hasn’t been rebuilt from the ground up to fully appreciate the new hardware.

Fundamentally there are improvements, but the game doesn’t feel completely balanced as a whole and the pace of matches is sometimes uneven. It happens often between console generations and while FIFA 14 on Xbox One is certainly no cheap port of the current-gen edition - I can’t help but think that the next rendition will truly take the franchise to the next level.

 


FIFA 14
"A whole new ball game"
- FIFA 14
9.1
Excellent
 
Follow Own it? Rating: G   Difficulty: Medium   Learning Curve: 30 Min


 

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Comments Comments (11)

 
Goonertron NZGamer.com VIP VIP Silver
Posted by Goonertron
On Thursday 5 Dec 2013 4:09 PM
1
As someone who has played hundreds of hours of FIFA each year I agree.
Bring on the Winton Rufer Legends card!
 
 
 
reavers NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
Posted by reavers
On Friday 6 Dec 2013 1:56 PM
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It's good that an EA game has been done right, compared to NBA 2013 haha
 
 
 
Deanology NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
Posted by Deanology
On Friday 6 Dec 2013 3:20 PM
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I have burnt a tonne of time into all the FIFA titles over the years.
I just dislike the online, to the point that I refuse to play it.

Are the same issues apparent when playing against online opponents?
Excessive lobbed balls, and the like?

I guess I'd have to play the (next-gen) game a lot to find the flaws, like every year.
 
 
 
Deanology NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
Posted by Deanology
On Friday 6 Dec 2013 3:22 PM
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6 December 2013, 03:20 PM Reply to Deanology
I have burnt a tonne of time into all the FIFA titles over the years.
I just dislike the online, to the point that I refuse to play it.

Are the same issues apparent when playing against online opponents?
Excessive lobbed balls, and the like?

I guess I'd have to play the (next-gen) game a lot to find the flaws, like every year.
In saying all that, I am very skeptical of positive reviews (in regards to FIFA) as they are always the same deal each edition.
 
 
 
Goonertron NZGamer.com VIP VIP Silver
Posted by Goonertron
On Friday 6 Dec 2013 7:09 PM
1
6 December 2013, 03:22 PM Reply to Deanology
In saying all that, I am very skeptical of positive reviews (in regards to FIFA) as they are always the same deal each edition.
The game just flows alot more, there are less niggly fouls being called and when the ball goes out of play now a ball boy will just throw you the ball straight away without the game resetting so the defense will be back in positions. Plus on corners now it is no longer restricted to a person from each team being able to jump for the ball. You can also put the defence under some real pressure, when people try to kill time and pass around the back 4 if you put on ultra attack and team pressing they really get up in the defenders face and cause them to make some bad passes or staying on the ball too long.
 
 
 
Deanology NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
Posted by Deanology
On Friday 6 Dec 2013 7:48 PM
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6 December 2013, 07:09 PM Reply to Goonertron
The game just flows alot more, there are less niggly fouls being called and when the ball goes out of play now a ball boy will just throw you the ball straight away without the game resetting so the defense will be back in positions. Plus on corners now it is no longer restricted to a person from each team being able to jump for the ball. You can also put the defence under some real pressure, when people try to kill time and pass around the back 4 if you put on ultra attack and team pressing they really get up in the defenders face and cause them to make some bad passes or staying on the ball too long.
Nice, that is good to hear.
Thank you.
 
 
 
Shoel NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
Posted by Shoel
On Friday 6 Dec 2013 9:30 PM
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I really should try this one... the last FIFA title i played was FIFA'98:RtWC
 
 
 
kiwibadboy NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
Posted by kiwibadboy
On Saturday 7 Dec 2013 3:47 AM
1
I love FIFA, gets better every year!
 
 
 
Goonertron NZGamer.com VIP VIP Silver
Posted by Goonertron
On Saturday 7 Dec 2013 7:40 PM
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6 December 2013, 09:30 PM Reply to Shoel
I really should try this one... the last FIFA title i played was FIFA'98:RtWC
"I get knocked down but I get up again, you are never gonna keep me down!"
I fricken loved that game on the PS1, was the last FIFA I played till FIFA 09. Pro Evo was so much better in that time. Also had FIFA 97 which had indoor soccer mode. Bring that back next year!
 
 
 
SkinBintin NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
Posted by SkinBintin
On Sunday 8 Dec 2013 8:33 PM
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Never buy every FIFA title. Usually buy on every second year. Since I bought FIFA 13, I hadn't planned to pick up FIFA 14, but it came free with my Xbox One, so quickly installed it and jumped right in.

All in all I'm loving it. Game feels really solid and I feel my game has improved between 13 and 14 thanks to subtle ball control changes. Also, I've invested a heap more time in to Ultimate Team than I ever have in the past. Excellent title. Great fun!

Nice review too. Thanks NZG!
 
 
 
Mattress NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
Posted by Mattress
On Monday 9 Dec 2013 9:26 AM
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Probably the game I sink the most time into without even realising it. Love playing Ultimate Team and trying to build up the perfect squad to climb the ladder to Div 1 with.