Published on December 15th, 2013 | by admin
FIFA 2014 PS4 Review
Summary: Compared to the PS3 and Xbox 360 release, FIFA on the PlayStation 4 is a whole new ball game and even though EA have tweaked some of the gameplay modes, it is for the better and this version is definitely superior in terms of gameplay, controls and graphics.
Developer: EA Sports
Review Date: December 2013
Reviewer: James Kirk & James Wright
Unlike other next-gen ports, FIFA 14 on the PlayStation 4 is an entirely updated game with not just nicer graphics but slicker gameplay. At its core, the pace of the game feels much slower than the furious matches played out in either FIFA 12 or 13; this is due to a myriad of tweaks under the hood of the game engine, including more realistic ball physics, longer stopping distances and the ball not feeling as if it’s glued to your feet when sprinting. This more measured approach also applies to the defensive tactics of both your team and your opponents. Given that, players feel considerably more responsive on the PS4.
Strategy takes precedence rather than being able to rely on making kamikaze runs up the centre of the pitch, as you’ll soon find the AI boxing you in and effortlessly taking the ball out of your possession. Shooting also feels more akin to the real thing, almost frustratingly so as it replicates the unpredictable trajectory of the arc of your kick. The way the game unfolds now is largely dependent on the player paying close attention to the conditions around them rather than dictating the flow of the game through their actions, a double-edged sword that will delight some players due to the realism and infuriate others who may find themselves having to re-evaluate their playing style to accommodate these changes. Another new aspect is that the game now allows for multiple players who can now content an aerial ball and this is quite useful when you are playing online.
The players also move more realistically in FIFA 14, visibly losing balance as they’re jostled or switching direction and actions such as successful passing and shooting are largely dependent on ascertaining these variables and making sure to strike at the right moment. Those who used to revel in sprinting down the pitch will find their momentum halted by standing tackles or surreptitious footwork manoeuvring the ball out from under them, even if they’re using the right stick to apply some fancy footwork or guarding the ball. The automatic switching between relevant players is satisfactory but more experienced players may want to switch to manual switching as the game does occasionally select a player other than the one in the ideal position.
The animation is fluid and complements the overhauled mechanics nicely, especially the realistic ball mechanics and amazing crowd. Each crowd member is a 3D model that appears to have its on AI module as they all respond slightly differently to the on-field action. They even cram together, especially if their team are kicking goals near their end. The audio is top of the range, with entertaining commentary tracks that don’t suffer from the repetition that plagued previous entries and accurately convey what’s occurring on screen. The menu screens also have a selection of licensed tracks from artists such as Nine Inch Nails, Bloc Party and Vampire Weekend, which is a nice touch.
There are a variety of gameplay modes but the highlight for FIFA on the PlayStation 4 is the career mode and online multiplayer which even allows you to create your own football club with 10 friends. Career mode has had a few minor changes, such as the Global Transfer network, which necessitates the use of scouts in finding the top potential additions to the teams rather than just selecting the players with the best overall stats, making team selection a far more engaging and even-handed affair.
Add in a plethora of cups and even the ability to assist in management of teams and there’s plenty to be found in FIFA 14 on this next-gen console version. Ultimate Team also returns which combines in-game play with card collecting. The new tile based selection interface is also a welcome addition, allowing for quick and easy navigation around the menus that feels a lot more intuitive than in previous entries.
The AI has been massively overhauled, which sees players moving into position of their own volition rather than aimlessly darting around, which often see them being flanked by an astute defender. The game’s engine operates to make you feel as if you’re part of a fully functioning squad, with coordinated attacks putting pressure on the opposing side. Despite the lean towards authenticity I strangely found it much easier to pull off headed goals and finesse shots than in previous releases, and deflecting shots as the goalie sometimes felt a little too easy, with the opposition sometimes giving up attacks even as I inadvertently darted the wrong way or fumbled the ball.
It pays to take notice of the stats of your players as some are more adept in a certain areas than others, such as in the area of ball control. A waggle of the right stick will switch the ball from foot to foot but, if your character isn’t up to scratch, it can become quite easy for it to go wide and straight into the hands of the opposition. Being able to do this on the fly is a nice touch as previously you would have to come to a halt to perform this type of fancy footwork, allowing you to craft decent runs across the field, nimbly manipulating the ball out of reach of attackers.
The change of pace will be a sticking point for some players as the game rewards thought out plays and strategy over the run and gun techniques that were so successful in turning the tide in previous entries but in my opinion this change is for the better, with matches in the game now playing out in a closer approximation of its real life counterparts. Quick match makes a welcome return and allows for short blasts of fun for those times where you don’t have hours to spare in order to build your progress.
The quality of the game’s presentation is up there with the best, as is to be expected from one of EA’s most successful franchises and the precision attacks and coordinated maneuvering is extremely satisfying when you manage to pull them off and equally punishing when an ill-advised play ends up blowing up in your face. The control scheme is easy to come to grips with and player movements are incredibly responsive yet the entire system takes time and patience to master before you’re scissor-kicking goals, leading to a balanced affair that makes matches, especially against online opponents, feel much fairer than the one-sided thrashings inexperienced players may have encountered when venturing online in previous titles.
Compared to the PS3 and Xbox 360 release, FIFA on the PlayStation 4 is a whole new ball game and even though EA have tweaked some of the gameplay modes, it is for the better and this version is definitely superior in terms of gameplay, controls and graphics.