FIFA is one of the biggest annual video game releases, and one I thoroughly enjoy. Today I will be talking about the pros & cons of the game and, as you can probably guess from the rating given above, the pros will strongly outweigh the cons. Let's dive right in.
Pros:New Movement System
In previous FIFA games, one of the biggest complaints has been that success relies too much on sprint speed and other physical stats than skills like passing, dribbling, and shooting. Well, for FIFA 14, EA has revamped the way players move. Momentum has an increased effect, meaning turning while sprinting is much less accurate, and trying to control the ball while running full speed is realistically very difficult. Though pace still has considerable influence on the outcome of matches, it no longer dominates games and skill stats are just as essential as physical ones. Though the problem has not been completely removed, it has been reduced greatly, and the result is a more balanced and fun FIFA.
Career Mode Changes
Another part of the franchise that EA has changed drastically this time around is the way in which players fill the role of a manager and attempt to take their team to the top. The biggest and most noticeable change is the new Global Scouting Network. Where in the past you could search any player and know all of his statistics before trying to grab him on transfer, now much more effort is required in order to build a dream team. In FIFA 14, you must send out scouts in search of players to fill a role your squad needs, or to get information on a specifically designated player. The end result is much more rewarding, as it feels you really put in the work to get a good player rather than simply finding one by accident.
Not deviating from past games, FIFA 14's soundtrack is impeccable as always. Standout tracks range from the dark loom of Nine Inch Nails' "Copy of A" (which I discussed in my full-length review of the band's new album, Hesitation Marks), to the upbeat bounce of Vampire Weekend's semi-rapped "Worship You," to the uplifting sounds of Dan Croll's "Compliment Your Soul." Filled with established acts and virtually unknown groups alike, this year's soundtrack will have you bobbing your head whenever you navigate the menu screens. Which brings me to my next point...
New Menu Interface
The choppy, slow menus of FIFA past are done away with this year, as EA elected for a more modern, smooth, sleek-looking system for the game's lastest edition. A seemingly minor change does make a significant difference, as you can more easily and quickly move from one part of the game to another.
Ultimate Team Changes
The game's most popular mode, the card-based Ultimate Team, is back in FIFA 14, with some minor yet helpful edits. First of all, you no longer need to have a designated formation for your players, allowing for more flexibility when trying to get new players into your squads. Secondly, the addition of the all-new chemistry styles cards allows for even more diversity among clubs, as you can choose to improve a player's certain attributes by applying the right chemistry style. Additionally, EA have brought back the more casual and less competitive single match feature, making it possible to try out new cards without facing the consequences of losing in more contested game modes. Lastly, some small changes have been made to the
auction market. Specifically, you can now search for a player by name, and can also compare the price of a player on the market to all of the other identical cards up for auction at the same time with the click of a button.
The biggest drawback right now to FIFA 14's gameplay is the clearly overpowered strategies present in the game, particularly finesse shots, over-the-top through balls, and headers. All three are insanely OP as of now, consistently resulting in easy goals about half of the time. This, however, is an easy fix, as a simple patch from EA can adjust the sliders just like that. In fact, the publishers have already pledged to fix the problems in the near future, which should solve the problem at least somewhat. But for now, it's an issue that can be frustrating, as you can easily lose a match you deserved to win thanks to a couple of cheap headed goals or unrealistic curved goals from 30+ yards out.
This comes not from personal experience, as I have yet to observe a delay in navigating menus in the game, but PS3 players have complained online about certain modes being unplayable thanks to game lag. Another problem that could be potentially patched, this concern will only become a major issue if EA fails to fix it in due time.
So that's it. As you can tell, I have few qualms with the new FIFA, which in general has been well-received by critics and the public alike. There are always those that complain, the ever-unsatisfied consumers, and inevitably trolls and over-zealous fans of rival game Pro Evolution Soccer who will rip the game online, but by and large the consensus is that FIFA 14 is another step in the right direction for the franchise. The next-generation release will probably be even better, too. I hope everyone enjoys the game, and if you haven't picked any of the series up before, FIFA 14 is a great place to start. So, if you'll excuse me, I have an Aston Villa career mode to get back to...