EA Sports brings FIFA 14 to the next-gen consoles of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One with a brand new engine built from the ground up. With an already strong product released on the PS3, this new version does add a few perks, though most of these are minor and won’t provide an epic step up. However, this latest version builds upon what is already there and provides an extremely fun soccer experience for the PlayStation 4.
It is really nice to see that the game didn’t lose any modes or features from its PlayStation 3 counterpart, something that can’t always be said for a launch game. Players will have the option of starting a career as either a player on the pitch or a manager on the side lines. If neither of those scream out at you, there are options to play online with other players 5v5 in drop in game or team games. Lastly, there is the option to partake in FUT (Football Ultimate Team), where you collect player cards, work on your team chemistry, and try to build the ultimate team. Perhaps the best part in all this is that data from FIFA 14 on the PS3 can be transferred to the PS4, meaning you won’t losing that FUT team you worked so hard on.
With a leap to the next generation of consoles, the most obvious difference in the new FIFA is of course on the graphical side of things. Everything is much sharper and detailed this time around, with players, fans, and the field itself receiving a nice update in textures. From a distance these all look great, however as you get closer into the action, players’ emotions are still a little bland. Fans also stand out a lot this time around, reacting properly to the yin and yang of the soccer match.
Animations are actually paid some attention in this edition. There are so many new animations added to the gameplay, providing a wealth of unique rushes up the pitch. Putting a ball through two defenders and into space for the forward is done differently each time, and the different types of passes and crosses into the box help tone down any feelings of repetitiveness.
Changes are not limited to strictly animations and graphics, however, as gameplay sees modifications. Computer AI is given a greater strength of positional awareness and some good decision making, though there are still a few too many boneheaded moves by your computer counterparts. The strategy of defending has also seen a change, with the slide tackle being a lot less effective and for the most part rarely used except in dire circumstances. Instead of diving in, you and your computer players stand up more and try their best to keep the opposing player in front of them.
Another change I found in this version of FIFA was the amount of shoulder to shoulder combat happening all over the pitch. Lose your step for a second and you have someone bearing down on you and shouldering you off the wall. The soccer ball also sees a change, as in years’ past it felt attached to a players’ foot. In this version however, the ball rolls off your foot a lot easier and bounces around between players with greater frequency. This causes a lot less static play, with a greater sense of battle and strategy to be found at a quicker pace.
At the end of 90 minutes, FIFA 14 on the next-gen consoles doesn’t deliver anything jawbreaking, instead opting to improve the game through graphics, animations, and minor gameplay tweaks. While some might be annoyed that it doesn’t stray far from the last-gen offering, it does enough to build upon an extremely solid base and provide gamers with strong play throughout.