FIFA WORLD CUP 2014 REVIEW
“…the perfect companion to your World Cup experience.”
It’s that time every four years where one of the best teams in the world sets out on a journey to produce something amazing, out of the ordinary, and overwhelmingly if not unexpectedly successful. That’s right, it is that time when the EA Sports development team have to sit down and work out how to sell yet another FIFA title between their already tightly packed releases in the series, and still manage to make money from its fans in doing so, despite the mere months of entertainment it realistically ought to offer. This is no small challenge, but it is one that for some years has been positively received, accepted and accomplished. But today we look at a new age of gamers and gaming, with new expectations behind what people want by comparison to the task which laid before these developers four years ago. So are they still up to the challenge?
In its essence, the game is very similar to its predecessor; FIFA 14. With subtle changes to menus and minor game features being the only core difference aside from the obvious international squad focus, it is very much a case of an attempt to sell the title based on World Cup Fever. And who can fault this decision? It is a great marketing opportunity and one which will naturally work out given the fact that FIFA is such a regularly released and yet multi-million copy selling game anyway. The fan base is already there and the moment is nigh, so EA have chosen to grab it by the balls (*groans at own pun*) and make some wonga off it!
The game is not however completely identical to FIFA 14, and in some cases it appears like steps back have been taken and certainly some opportunities to fix some of the previous title’s issues have not been taken. Players, pitches and stadiums look somehow less realistic in this release. It is odd, because presumably the models are the same as those in FIFA 14, but whether this is the case or not, some people do not look like who they are supposed to be, and that is a true shame as an important factor of the game. Further to this, the menu system in game is still, if not more of, a maze to navigate, with some ambiguous headings and in many cases it being difficult to find what it is you are looking for. Despite some of these basic issues however it is of course more than anything about the features which the game has to offer, so we had best go ahead and take a look.
One note to kick off on (*continues to groan with little outlook of stopping*) is something that isn’t present however. The Ultimate Team mode, which has been massively popular over the last couple of FIFA titles, is not featured in this game. While this makes sense as you cannot mix and match international squads, it is a core and indeed highly enjoyed feature of FIFA now, and may well have an impact on the number of copies sold. There are still however online play features in the game. For example you have the option to set out on a World Cup path which genuinely pits you against some of the other best players in the world; about as authentic an experience as many of us are likely to get! But even if the online arena isn’t what does it for you, you will have plenty of other options.
There are a number of different ways to be a part of this year’s World Cup experience. You can choose to captain a team through the trials and tribulations of the tournament, captain your team as an individual player, take on a number of different scenarios relating to the history of qualifying, or if you fancy a quick game then you can simply pick up a controller and kick off as in previous releases. EA have certainly moulded their now common experience to take full advantage of the World Cup atmosphere and have maintained their usual impressive levels of variety in styles of play. There is something to entertain any fan of any country whatever mood they may be in. What’s more, they have integrated their Match Day feature into this game too, so players can stay up to date with the latest World Cup news, statistics and results, and in particular follow their team on their real life journey.
Any new features worth mentioning you ask? Well there are one of two. In game, some elements have been tweaked in the right direction, most noticeably the corner kick taking. You can now choose specific tactics for your players in the box to follow, enabling you to have more control over this set piece. Unfortunately, there are a couple of less inspiring new features. When loading up a match, there is sometimes a very long and unskippable introduction which you have to watch. In some cases the game will let you past this, but in others you will find yourself spending several minutes waiting for it to pass. This is a simple bug in theory which hopefully will receive a quick fix, but right now, it’s rather annoying if you just want a quick game. You can also choose what radio station you would like in the background to the menus when you play through a world cup campaign, but my advice; don’t pick the men in blazers option, because my goodness are they annoying to listen to!
As a whole, there are two ways of looking at the FIFA World Cup 2014 game. One is that EA have attempted to cleverly cash in on their franchise by painting the words “WORLD CUP!!” in big letters over the top of what they already had about the place. The other, and the more helpful opinion to those interested in the game is this; it is a very good title, as good as the most recent FIFA game, and will certainly act as the perfect companion to your World Cup experience. The downsides to the game basically come in the form of numerous missed opportunities for improvement, and this is indeed annoying. The game as a whole however is simply what FIFA fans will probably be looking for, and from that perspective how can it be said that the game is bad. If you are a FIFA fan and you want something extra to help you fully bring the World Cup into your home, go out and pick this bad boy up!
The Good – The companion to the World Cup experience which FIFA fans will have been looking for. Equally as good as the previous title in the franchise in terms of playability, but gently doodled upon to bring the World Cup into your home.
The Bad – If this were a trading card, it would be the shiny-version of FIFA 14. The game is still good, but it is not particularly different despite the World Cup coat of paint which has been laid over it, and opportunities for improvements have been missed.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.