Published on September 24th, 2013 | by Tony0
Review: FIFA 14
‘Tis the season to be gaming, and the game that kicks it all off is finally here from EA! I’m of course talking about FIFA 14.
This is one review that no site should ever bother with really, as we know this is a future hit and will no doubt sit in the top ten of the charts until at least next April.
The legion of fans will already have their game down on pre-order, or they will kid themselves after playing the demo with the cries of “nothing has changed, so I’m not buying it” but within a few weeks it will be in their collection. Peer pressure is partly to blame for this as your mate and their mates slowly buy it, and after a while you find yourself left out of the fun.
I put in a shocking 367 hours into FIFA 13, so I guess you can class me as a fan.
As always with my reviews though, I will be 100% honest if I find something that does not feel right.
I tried the demo before we secured a review copy this week, and to be honest with you I was not really blown away with it.
I’ve also sampled the delights of a PES game last week for the first time in ages, so for once I could give it a fair assessment to what always has been a two horse race in the games market.
The review for a sports game is never easy though as they lack any kind of story, and it’s more about the game wanting you to play for another reason like ranking up or building that ultimate team.
FIFA 14 has and always will offer you a decent amount of choices in the yearly release of this franchise, and this year we even have a few new things to play with.
So below I will do my best to breakdown what the game will offer you over the next year or so, and hopefully in the process of this review not send myself into too much debt by buying too many UT packs.
The first thing that stood out to me when first loading up FIFA 14 was how easy and simple the menus have become since the cluttered mess that was FIFA 13.
When I got my hands on FIFA 13 last year, it took a while to work out how the hell to get to certain things right away, but I never had one issue this year.
This time around everything is placed very neatly and easy to find with the most recent mode you’ve played being placed on the homepage on the main menu.
What this does is when returning from a break on the game and starting the game up again, you can easily jump straight into where you left off, rather then having to click tons of buttons to get there.
After that I loaded up the catalogue for this year, as we all love a quick rank up for our online pro, or a bit of extra cash after a UT (Ultimate Team) match, and this never disappointed.
You have tons of celebrations on offer like the gallop dance, which in non-EA speak is the Gangnam Style dance, and tons of new ones that will delight the show-boaters out there on the online side of things.
The cool thing about this feature this year is the option to gift a friend an item, which I’m pretty sure wasn’t in FIFA 13.
So say my friend never had enough coin to buy that online pro boost he wanted and I did, I could gift it to him via the item itself and bring a smile to his face and pretend that I really did it for him and not for the benefit of our pro club.
Does it feel like a new FIFA?
The big issue that certain gamers who are not big fans of this or other big yearly releases on our beloved consoles is does the latest version look or feel different when playing it.
FIFA 14 tends to be split down the middle on this one I’m afraid, as while the actual feel of the game feels a lot different, the looks apart from the new snazzy menus do not seem that different at all.
The feel of FIFA has changed from 13, as now it almost feels like the AI is actually a threat when you have the ball at your feet, and it will pull and barge you the best it can to get it off you.
That being said when whacking up the difficulty to Professional, I did tend to find the AI seemed to have feet like glue and would just jog and weave back and forth while your players seem to feel quite weighty.
This did get a little annoying at times, but nothing so bad that it would force me to switch off.
The modes have had a few tweaks here and there, but nothing so mind-blowingly new that will make people go ‘ahhhhhhhhh’ in amazement.
In Ultimate Team you now have the option to search players by name, and also compare prices on any cards you are wanting to sell, so for idiots like me not clued up on players prices this is a godsend.
What this means for people like me is we won’t list those players who are worth 8,000 coins for 750 coins like a complete idiot, but on the downside it will mean higher prices if someone sees even one person get a certain price.
This means such players like Matt Jarvis for Westham going for prices like 4,000 coins, which let’s not kid ourselves, is daft money.
There is also a new thing in Ultimate Team that replaces the very expensive formation card, as those are out this year to be replaced by chemistry cards.
Your player will now be happy to play in whatever formation you choose, so no need to pay those 4,000 coins just to make a player like 4-4-2 any more, which is a good thing.
What these chemistry cards do is give the chosen player you choose to put it on, a certain boost on some of the six attributes which each player has on his card, which are pace, dribbling, shooting, defending, passing and heading.
The cards come in tons of different forms, which cover the whole field of play, which I’ve took pictures for you below to have a look at them all, as to list them all would take me a while.
I’ve used a couple myself on my keeper and a few other players, but to be honest with you, I’ve not seen that much of a change to warrant some of the asking prices in the game’s transfer market.
With cards not being listed under 1,500 coins any time, it will be something I will need to play with for a few weeks to fully see if it is worth those hard earned coins.
Manager Mode and Player Career Mode are normally the offline places to go for fans of the game, and they both have that familiar feel to them, but also feature something new.
Global Transfer Network in Manager Mode is something not seen in a FIFA game before, but while sounding like an amazing bit of kit it’s nothing more than a snazzy way of calling it a scout.
This new option lets you send out a scout to track down a certain calibre of player that you want, and we are not talking about those youth team player scouts either.
You can pick up to 6 traits that you wish this player to have all ranging from such things as dribbler, distance shooter, free kick specialist and so on.
While this seemed like a neat idea at the time, I used it a few times and it came back with Iniesta from Barca, so it does not really unearth a cheap bargain if I’m honest.
The youth team option is still in the game though, so this is where you will find that young player that you can grow into a talent like in previous games.
Other than this both player and manager modes almost seem identical from last year, so aside from the feel of the matches themselves, you will get a sense of being here before.
Being a pro:
One feature that I was hopeful of returning sadly has not, and that is just the one pro player for all modes.
What we have in FIFA 14 is the same as 13 where you have one pro for your offline career, and the other for online clubs and drop in matches.
In previous editions of FIFA, you were able to take a pro through both an online career and offline career, but in 13 this was not the case.
I loved building my pro’s stats up offline when my other club member was not around, as it was a better way to rank him up rather than the drop in match.
If you’ve never tried a drop in match before, it’s where you take your pro to play online away from your club, but it does not work well at all.
You’re thrown into a lobby with other players that can fill up the 21 spots on the team, and choose their position once the game is ready to go.
While that sounds easy enough what you tend to find is everyone rushing to the spot you would like to play, and if they don’t get the spot they want they will just waste a minute of your life by sitting there.
It’s a mode that maybe EA should take a look at in the future, as for me personally it is not a mode I enjoy.
I would have liked to dig deeper into more online modes, but with the early code it made this hard to get matches.
From what I played with a few pro drop in matches though, it seems like every year on FIFA, so nothing new to write about here.
Once again clubs will be my place of calling for the next 12 months, and also the new co-op seasons that FIFA 14 offers players.
Playing FIFA with buddies in a team form is no doubt where most of my time is spent, as the online community has never done much for me in the time I have been a fan of the series.
I’m sure there are many really nice FIFA gamers out there, but I always tend to find the ones who like nothing more than sending you abuse after a defeat or just quitting out after 4 minutes if they go a goal down.
Overall FIFA 14 will please fans of the series enough to make them happy, but for the outsider who sees FIFA as nothing but an updated rip off, it won’t change their minds.
Summary: Personally I think the new menus and feel of the game engine itself give it enough of a fresh feel to warrant a purchase, but aside from those few things, nothing has changed. FIFA needs something fresh and exciting very soon, as with a much improved PES out this year Konami are once again nipping at the ankles of EA. That being said, my time this year will be spent on FIFA, but only because clubs and Ultimate team offer me what I want.