FIFA 14 Review: A different game, for the better
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FIFA finally feels different. The pace on the pitch is slower and more deliberate, but greater player control makes for some exciting and realistic football.
- Improved player control
- Pace on pitch feels authentic
- Welcome control tweaks
- Presentation and graphics need an overhaul
- Some game modes need a refresher
- Hit or miss menus
Game modes also haven't changed that much, but little tweaks to Seasons and Ultimate Team are welcomed and make for a better experience. Chemistry is the focus on Ultimate Team and makes for some unique players and teams. You will need to build up your team's chemistry to pull off some challenging wins. Career Mode is more of the same, but it offers a unique take on transfers. The Global Transfer Network is a new approach to scouting. No longer can you simply search for players by stats; instead, you must assign scouts to different regions, give them some instructions on what kind of player to look for, and, if they find some candidates, give them more orders to reveal additional stats on the player. This new scouting network is fun on the surface, but digging deeper can really slow down the career experience. In addition, I didn't have great luck finding qualified new players, but that's probably because I stopped checking my inbox as my regional scout managers flooded my email. This change to the micromanagement of scouting and recruiting players is welcomed, but it's not quite on point. It needs a few refinements to keep the micromanaging to a minimum.
The game also sports a brand new menu system. It has a Windows 8, giant tile appearance. It is absolutely a welcome change, but it's not at all my thing. I really hate the new menus. But, and this is a big but, I know there are a lot of people out there that like this menu style. While I don't like the layout, I do like how the organization makes it easier to pass over things you don't really need.
For all its changes in years past, FIFA 14 is the first game in the franchise to really feel different. Not all those changes are for the better, but it's overwhelmingly on the right track. The player movement is greatly refined, and the new controls give you more opportunities to pull off explosive moves. But the game modes need more attention in the coming years. EA Sports has the gameplay nailed down, but we need some fresh changes to career modes. Sadly the overall presentation is stale and the announcers haven't said anything really unique or new in years. These are areas where we need to see something different next year. Keep up the gameplay tweaks, but let's get some attention on presentation and let's see a overhaul of some game modes. Until then, FIFA 14 is a worthy entry in the franchise, and something that finally feels different.