Long before Call of Duty was the butt of the joke for releasing the same game every year, EA and its licensed sports series’ held the title of ‘Best use of Ctrl C Ctrl V in a video game.’ In fact, they still are for the most part, it’s just that gamers have got used to the fact that they aren’t going away any time soon so we might as well just accept it.
No sports game is guiltier of this than the Fifa series – because, in all fairness, how many different ways can there be to do something new with a soccer game?
The answer is… none. There is no other way for EA to do something new with soccer. They already did it by releasing Fifa Street, so unless they do something completely drastic such as… space soccer, than Fifa 15, 16, 17 and beyond will be just as similar to 14, 13, 12 and so forth.
Back when games were evolving fast it was easy for EA to get away with releasing a title every year. For example, the graphics of Fifa 95 on the SNES were drastically different from Fifa 97 on the Playstation.
But now, when a consoles shelf life is expected to be 7-9 years, the aesthetics of a game with similar gameplay released yearly look almost identical in every way. If you put Fifa 13 next to Fifa 12, you probably wouldn’t even be able to tell them apart (although you may be able to tell Fifa 12 apart from the others by playing it, since it was the one time EA tried something new with the controls and screwed it up big time – hence why they retracted it for Fifa 13).
So, now that we have our shiny new Xbox One consoles, should we expect another upgrade graphically for FIFA 14?
If you stand versions of Fifa 14 from Xbox 360 and Xbox One beside each other then you will see that they look practically identical. That’s not to say Fifa 20 won’t look different, but with Fifa 14 being a launch title for Xbox One, it has to be said it looks no better than the previous generation.
That’s not to say the game looks bad in any way – if you weren’t told it was a game you would, at times, struggle to tell that it wasn’t an actual soccer match playing on your TV (until you see shots of the crowd, where the sprites leave a lot to be desired). Each year EA also pride themselves in revealing some new tweaks to their physics engine, which at times result in some hilarious glitches – however, they don’t justify releasing a new title every year.
The gameplay is as polished as it always is, and it is a delight to play. I still impress myself on occasion by pulling a move together followed by a rocketing shot into the back of the net which even the Spanish national team would be proud of. The amount of different skills and moves you can do is breathtaking, and it will take you an entire generation just to get used to them all.
There is also enough variation in game modes to keep you hooked – especially the career modes. You can design your own individual player and work him up the ranks from lower leagues to world cup hero – again this is not something new to Fifa 14, however it would be a travesty if they ever took it away.
Online multiplayer is a highlight, however it is frustrating to be winning 3-0 only for the opposition to rage-quit before the end of the match. EA have tried to come up with various ways of preventing this, however nothing seems to work. There is also the option to play with 21 other people in a match where you control just one player – this can result in chaos, but if you have a few others on your team who understand the game then it can be an absolute joy to partake in.
The commentators never feel like they’re just spouting random phrases, and the way they interrupt themselves during gameplay is superbly done. You never get a sense of them repeating themselves too often like you would in previous versions.
So yes, Fifa 14 is a great game, but then again so were the other versions which came before it. We’re not going to get something drastically new each year, which makes me wonder why we even get one at all.
Of course, the answer is $$$.
But why not offer Fifa 15 as DLC for Fifa 14 and simply download a patch for $20, rather than charging full price for a ‘new’ game?
I already answered that didn’t I? $$$.
If you like soccer and you’ve not played a Fifa game for a few years, then I would definitely pick up Fifa 14. If you have Fifa 13, however, you may want to wait a couple more years.
Final Score: 7/10
Let us know what you think about Fifa 14 in the comments below!
Article by - Mike Jeavons
Update Date: 2/4/2014