There’s a change of tempo about FIFA 14 that may be somewhat jarring at first. These long-used run-and-gun assaults up the middle of the pitch so beloved by FIFA gamers are met right here with a steely wall of defence and a disheartening counterattack. This can be a slower, extra thought-about tackle soccer that rewards cautious construct up play and considerate technique over brash techniques, and boy is all of it the higher for it. A slew of intelligent adjustments to the physics–some seen within the eerily realistic-looking animation and a few working their magic behind the scenes–and intelligent management tweaks set this 12 months’s recreation other than its predecessors. And in typical FIFA model, it’s all wrapped up in some splendidly compelling recreation modes and the glossiest of shows.
There’s no single new function in FIFA 14 that screams “Purchase me!” as maybe the rag-doll collisions and 360-degree management did in FIFA 12, but it surely’s how the sport slickly combines a number of little tweaks to type a cohesive complete that makes matches sing. For example, when you may beforehand manoeuvre the ball in all instructions whereas a participant was standing nonetheless, that skill now extends to when a participant is working with the ball. It’s an apparent tweak when you consider it, but it surely opens the sport as much as a large number of runs that zigzag all around the pitch and to intelligent performs that outsmart defenders with greater than a fortunate by means of ball and a burst of velocity.
This doesn’t imply you’ll be able to carve a mazelike path across the pitch with out consequence, although. For each twist and switch you make, your gamers visibly shift their weight round and throw their arms out to maintain stability. Overdo it, and the ball, which is not magically glued to a participant’s ft, drifts large or too far out in entrance, giving defenders the right alternative to swoop in and steal it. Naturally, some gamers are higher at protecting management of the ball than others, relying on their stats. Determining who’s the perfect man for the job and doling out the precise technique to the gamers is all a part of the enjoyable, and it’s made straightforward due to a complete and easy-to-use set of administration instruments you can dive into earlier than and through matches.
The very best gamers are higher geared up to carry out showboating ability strikes too, that are simpler to tug off because you not have to carry down a modifier button. With just some waggles of the precise stick, you’ll be able to bask in all method of physique feints, stepovers, and sideways rolls, which–when mixed with the looser dribbling and slick animation–look spectacular. The flexibility to actively defend the ball helps issues alongside, supplying you with somewhat extra time to plan an assault and giving your participant these essential seconds wanted to line up a shot. It really works effectively offensively too; some well-timed shielding permits you to throw your participant’s weight round and activate sixpence, and permits you to brute pressure defenders away from the ball.
What this all provides as much as is a recreation that appears and feels extra like an actual recreation of soccer than ever earlier than. AI performs extra intelligently, boxing in gamers on the assault and performing runs in simply the precise locations to create some actual taking pictures possibilities, even when they’re offside somewhat extra usually than you would possibly like. And if you do get the possibility to attempt to stick one at the back of the web, the ball dips, arcs, and strikes with the sort of unpredictability you’d count on from a small spherical object being whipped by means of the air at tempo. It’s a beautiful factor to see in movement, and if you lastly make your strategy to the field and rating after a string of deft touches and thoughtful passing, it feels such as you earned it. There’s nonetheless a component of FIFA’s heavy-handed automation at work right here, however with FIFA 14 slowing down the tempo and making you’re employed tougher for a purpose, the automation is much much less of a difficulty than in final 12 months’s recreation.
Off the pitch, issues are largely the identical, with modes like Head to Head Seasons, Final Workforce, On-line Friendlies, Digital Professional, and Supervisor to play by means of, however they continue to be probably the most complete and compelling you’ll discover in a soccer recreation. Actual-world statistics make sure that each staff is stored updated earlier than the beginning of each match, whereas the wonderful EA Sports activities Soccer Membership retains monitor of any factors earned and ties them to a real-world staff for a rating on a world league desk. A slick new interface that mimics that of the Xbox 360 dashboard not solely seems to be much better than its predecessor, but in addition retains the motion flowing easily in Profession mode due to an easier format and navigation that permits you to entry all of the core capabilities with just some flicks of the analogue stick.
Profession mode has acquired some much-needed tweaks, together with the choice to disable the primary summer season switch window, lastly supplying you with the possibility to keep up a real-world squad up till the January switch window. A World Switch Community has been launched too, which masks a participant’s general score (OVR), so that you’ve completely bought to make use of scouts to search out the perfect youth gamers. A tile on the Profession mode web page retains you updated on scouting progress, letting you select to maneuver ahead with in-depth scouting, after which the OVR is lastly revealed and you’ll resolve who to buy. That is much more participating than merely hitting up the search field and in search of gamers with the very best OVRs, and it means you’ve bought to place a fantastic deal extra thought into your purchases.
Enjoyable ability minigames, swift loading occasions, and a few wonderful commentary (full with rambling pre-match banter) put the ending touches on what’s a improbable soccer expertise. And, like earlier FIFA video games, FIFA 14 is superbly introduced. Animations are clean, and well-known gamers, kits, and stadiums are faithfully re-created with nice consideration to element. You may argue that maybe all of it seems to be somewhat too good, and somewhat little bit of grit right here and there, together with some gamers who don’t seem like they’ve misplaced all feeling of their higher our bodies, would go a great distance in direction of making the sport look even higher, although it’s nonetheless leaps and bounds forward of the competitors.
Regardless of the dearth of a defining new function to connect itself to, FIFA 14 is excess of the sum of its elements. It’s a basically completely different expertise to final 12 months’s recreation, and an entertaining one at that, shifting the collection ever nearer to the realism it so proudly strives for. The one competitors FIFA has this 12 months is itself. With a next-gen model simply on the horizon, full with a brand-new engine, you might be eager about sitting this one out till then. However to take action would imply lacking out on what’s a superb soccer recreation, one which feels recent but acquainted and that pushes even FIFA veterans into new, thrilling, and engrossing methods of taking part in.