Every year EA Sports holds a "Season Opener" event to show off what they've been working on since we forked over $60 on the our sports title of choice. "Season Opener 2013" went down at EA's California headquarters earlier this week and featured most of their new titles, sans NBA and UFC (which EA says will be shown at E3) but the game we were really amped to check out was FIFA 14.
Although they admittedly left out a few details on the forthcoming title, they did reveal a lot about features and gameplay tweaks, which you most likely read about yesterday. However, reading a list is one thing, getting true to the game insight on these additions is another.
FIFA 14 producer Sebastian Enrique started the presentation on a very real note. He touched on the lack of excitement and variations with goal scoring, an aspect they felt was an issue with FIFA 13 and how the developers went about improving it.
As any FIFA player knows, the shot animations were pretty basic, no matter what striker you played with in 13. That will be changed thanks to added Real Ball Physics and a brand new Pure Shot system.
Pure Shot features a bunch of new shot types and character animations making the game a lot more realistic. Players won't just do the same mundane thing all of the time, they now adjust their stride and angle on the approach. No more unrealistic shots when a player’s feet are too close together. No more awkward foot slides before a shot. In 14, players have the ability to shoot off-balanced and rushed shots just like their real life counterparts.
Ball Physics plays into this as well because EA has introduced new flight paths including low rising shots, turbulent shots (a la Ronaldo) and dipping shots. Players can kick harder and make shots that were not possible before. The new finishers make scoring more fun and eventful, something that was definitely lacking in last year's version.
It's not just about the shot; curling passes are also being introduced in FIFA 14.
Soccer is all about drama, and you can't have a fantastic finish without some sort of build up. EA has improved in that area as well. Dribbling on FIFA 13 was cool but it wasn't where it needed to be. This year, players can dribble in any direction while also preserving momentum courtesy of new in-game technology. The days of every player--regardless of rating--having perfect touch are also gone. The variable dribble touches will truly affect gameplay due to First Touch Control. If a player is nasty with the handle, he (or she, if EA listens to this petition) will control a dribble with finesse while sprinting or cutting. On the flipside, if a player has a lower rating, he will no longer be able to stop the ball on a dime like he would have been able to in the last FIFA. This innovation evens the playing field in our eyes and takes the game that much closer to a full simulation.
Another glaring omission from past FIFA titles was the ability to Protect The Ball. This new feature allows players to take shielding to a more authentic level by using their body to fend off, push back and block defenders while dribbling. This will be done by holding or tapping the left trigger and can be initiated at any speed. For gamers who complained about the pace of FIFA 13 being too fast, this will definitely slow the pace down as it creates more midfield battles.