In life, whenever there is great gain something must be let go in exchange. The same goes for video games—especially sports titles. No matter how big or small, very year EA tends to add something to FIFA that angers its core community. It's a thin rope to balance on but at least EA is willing to take the chance.
With each passing year, developers stake claim to an improved AI (Artificial Intelligence) but in the case of FIFA 14 it's more of a fact than marketing cliche'. Computer controlled players on both sides of the pitch play a lot smarter than in 13. Defenders maintain their position and pick better angles for interceptions. On attacks, player spacing is improved tremendously, giving room for more creative and varied attacks.
Developer: EA Sports
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platform: Xbox 360, PS Vita, PlayStation 3, PC
Release Date: September 27, 2013
Battling for the ball has gotten a boost as well. The controlled jostling, pulling and protection of the ball are important parts of the game and thankfully EA has given us the opportunity to execute those moves on a more realistic level this time around.
Ball control had gotten a lot better over the years and now we're finally to the point where touches and dribbles got far too easy for even the weakest team members. As we revealed earlier this year, the touch aspect of that has changed. scrub players struggle with control and are more prone to get the ball taken away while true ballers can control on first touch—no matter the pace—and transition to dribbles with ease. FIFA 14 also takes away the need to modify for special dribble moves, the right stick is used to execute and that makes controls fluid.
Unfortunatley this all comes at the expense of the kicking mechanics that allow users to have more kicks at their disposal. It's great in theory but the frequency of goals scored, and the places they can be scored from have increased to a level that will undoubtedly upset purists. The sensitivity on these special kicks is off the charts too. Pressing the button for a cross or kick to the goal for more than half a second will most often produce very unwanted results.
The bread and butter of FIFA is "Ultimate Team." We all know that EA Sports dev teams share gems, so the enhanced chemistry system will look familiar if you've played Madden NFL 25.
FIFA Ultimate Team "Chemistry Styles" uses each player's club, country and league as the primary factors in chemistry as opposed to their actual playing style. Granted, I'm not a soccer aficionado but that just seems weird. It would make a lot more sense to actually attribute player skill and style into chemistry. What difference does it make if a group of players play in different countries as long as they share similar in-game attributes?
As a self-proclaimed average FIFA player, I definitely noticed it. The amateur and semi-pro levels were extremely easy, while the professional, legend and world class levels were crazy difficult. Somebody on the dev team definitely OD'd on the sliders here.
Bottom line: when considering picking up FIFA 14 it comes down to a choice of whether or not to stick with FIFA 13 or wait until 14 drops for the next gen consoles. At least that way, the graphics upgrade will justify the price tag.