Also On: PS4
Developer: EA Canada
Medium: Blu-ray Disc/Digital
The next generation is upon us, and what a better debut for EA Sports to showcase what they can do than what they have accomplished with the Xbox One version of FIFA 14. Keep in mind this reviewer did not have access to a PS4 to do a comparison review, but I can imagine for the most part this review could also pertain to that version as well. FIFA 14 mystifies gamers with a totally new engine that is not just a graphical showcase of higher resolution and added animations (as seen with Madden NFL 25). With the next-gen FIFA 14, the engine has been built from the ground up, and thanks to new visual and physics improvements from their new Ignite engine, the game not only looks smooth, but plays just as smooth. FIFA 14 takes what was arguably the best sports series of the last generation and starts off with a bang to possibly take that title again to begin this new generation.
The visual jump that FIFA 14 has received from last generation on the Xbox 360 to what you will see on Xbox One is monumental. The new Ignite engine delivers 10 times the animations making transitions between shots and moves silky smooth and as lifelike as any video game has yet to capture up to this point. This new engine also delivers a greater amount of intelligence in which you will notice human-like reaction times, moving instinctively around the pitch, anticipating moves, skipping over tacklers, and even hooking and holding whenever necessary, which makes this new “A.I.” more like interacting with a real life player. The visuals don’t end on the pitch either as you will notice each stadium reacting like it would in the real world, with stunning 3D crowds and dynamic sideline action captured on over 121 broadcast cameras which help to impact the experience. This is without a doubt one of those launch titles you want to show off to your friends to say, the next generation is here, take a look!
FIFA 14 doesn’t just impress on visuals alone, as there are ton of new gameplay features that really showcase the thought and precision accuracy the development team was going for, and to say the least, they scored a resounding GOOOOOOOOAL here!
Starting with Precision Movement where every step counts as players can plant, pivot, cut and shift with the same aggressiveness, acceleration, and the feeling of real momentum in motion while you move down the pitch. Pure Shot now delivers the intelligence to adjust their stride and approach angle when aiming and trying to hit the back of the net. Now shots on goal feel more rewarding and satisfying when you launch that perfect strike, and even more gut wrenching when you just miss your mark and it’s over the net or missed by a hair off the bars. Real Ball Physics is essential to this year’s version, and while I was disappointed that the developers saved the Ignite engine for the next generation, it is amazing just how alive the ball feels in FIFA 14 versus versions in the past. Protect the Ball allows gamers greater control when fending off and blocking defenders even while dribbling at full speed. Now you dictate the pace through the midfield as you out muscle opponents for position before receiving the ball, then turn defenders to carve out your opportunities. Team Intelligence provides teammates with better decision making, smarter marking, and improved run tracking. Defenders will now recognize opportunities to provide stronger support and win back possession. Even the attacking players will have new ways to outsmart the opponents and break down defenses more than ever while creating space for themselves to make their way up the pitch and best position themselves for that perfect strike. Other aspects such as Sprint Dribble Turns and Variable Dribble Touches provide players with greater touch and pace while building superior strategies to gain position while using natural momentum to keep possession of the ball. All this in short breaks down to a smarter, realistic, and better feeling game play experience than offered in the past. While some of the controls have been simplified, I feel that in the end the gameplay has been honed to fit everyone so it isn’t overly complicated to learn, while not taking away from the game’s ultimate authenticity.
FIFA Ultimate Team returns, and for those who have already got their feet wet on current gen and want to bring their teams over to the next generation version, you will be pleased to know that your progress, rosters, in game currency, items, club level, XP, seasons progress, trophy case, leaderboards, accomplishments and career mode reward will all carry over to the new consoles. Top off another score for Xbox One owners as added Legends have been implemented into your Ultimate Team allowing you to add players such as Pele to your Ultimate Team to now create a relative dream team.
As for other gameplay modes, FIFA 14 includes Skill Games, Co Op Season mode, Match Day Online (real time suspensions, injuries, rosters), and Career Mode (now more refined and easier to navigate). The online capacity has been moved up to 22 total players (mode dependent) as well. No mode was left behind, and even the Game Face feature has been imported over with great success.
FIFA 14 on next-gen consoles is a love letter to soccer fans. They get the best of both worlds — incredible game play built on top of amazing visuals that can only be replicated on this new generation of consoles.
Electronic Arts Inc. FIFA 14 73046 PC Games