FIFA 14 Is Basically A Slowed Down Version Of FIFA 13

  • Jake O'Donnell

In case you don’t have the demo and you’re on the fence about buying it: Hold up. The new FIFA is kinda the same as the old FIFA. Don’t let the year on the end fool you. They’re waiting for the next gen console and haven’t invested all that much in this XBOX 360/PS3 version. The best part of it is that they’ve updated the rosters, seeing as FIFA 13 is still operating on the premise that Clint Dempsey is in England with Gareth Bale, and Mesut Ozil isn’t. But you already knew that…

That being said, it’s still just as much fun. Here are the ever so slight differences I’ve noticed.

The new FIFA places a great deal of importance on ball control, which is interesting for a second. The left trigger has gone from a finesse button, to more of a control/possession button. Holding down makes your player shield the ball. That’s an improvement from last years, because the only time they’d seem to be protective of the rock, was when you weren’t touching the controller, and the players were on auto-pilot (sometimes it’s harder to steal from someone who isn’t moving with the ball, strangely enough).

The only downside to this, is that it can be awfully hard to steal the ball.

The most talked about addition to the game was the physics engine, which makes player collisions more realistic. That is to say, if you bump someone’s shoulder, they REALLY absorb the impact and are jostled accordingly. The problem with this, is that I’ve noticed players sometimes just drop to the ground with no penalty called. It’s as if they’re selling the foul. Cool for a second, but it becomes annoying the longer you’re at it.

The most glaring flaw, if I have to pick one (it’s still really fun), is the speed of the game. I’ve already pulled out a chunk of my own hair in anger because I pressed the shoot button and the player waited a full two seconds to strike the ball, during which time the window for shooting had closed. To counteract this, they’ve made the ball physics smarter, as I’ve already noticed a dramatic increase in deflection goals (so that when you inevitably blast one into a defender, you still have a chance of scoring a goal). In 2013, players could get drilled in the head and not budge. This version accounts for said impact, and the trajectory of the ball adjusts more realistically.

The game’s AI is a mixed bag of human and non-human traits — if indeed that was the goal developer EA Sports was seeking. Once again, players do not react to loose balls like ravenous dogs, which is how you’d expect them to. Often times, you’re left with a couple of guys just hanging out around an open goal with the ball rolling into space, just asking to be one-timed. Alas, they don’t seem to care.

On the other hand, they run into space and demand the ball quite frequently, which is helpful. Problem being, your teammates are often offsides, out of position, or both. Again, passing the ball to them is hindered by the games slower reaction times, so the frequency of ill-timed through balls leading to offsides penalties may actually just be something you have to get used to (duh).

They also have a practice mode that allows you to see where you joystick is pointed when you pass. A relatively small addition, but it’s definitely interesting to see that, yes, in fact, you did aim your pass at THAT guy (despite your cries that it was meant for the more open player). It seems to be part of a subtle steering of the franchise toward a more tactical build-up approach, and not the more technical skill emphasis of Pro Evolution Soccer.

BEST ADDITION: Dipping shots, improved ball movement through the air.
WORST OMISSION: Gameplay speed.