Watch out, things are about to get Messi.
The Pitch: The beautiful game is back. FIFA 14 continues the EA Sports tradition of churning out annual editions of its major franchises. Notable additions this year are Co-Op seasons, upgrades to Ultimate Team (especially on Xbox), and rethought handling that lends a genuinely new feeling to gameplay.
What It Really Is: As with all EA Sports offerings, we don’t expect complete makeovers year over year, but more of a gradual evolution of both gameplay and game modes. The latter definitely feels like it conforms to that evolution. Adding the opportunity to mix and match Legends in the revamped Ultimate Team is a crowd-pleaser, while Co-Op leagues (2v2) is the logical progression of the online league dynamic that makes for a fantastic amount of trash talk and competition among friends. When it comes to the ways you can play FIFA, it really feels like EA have their ears to the ground, listening to fans and delivering what they want. However, it’s been quite some time since we’ve seen such a drastic shift to the gameplay itself. Ostensibly, the changes were made to try and balance strength and speed, but the result is slower, hyper-deliberate gameplay across the board to the point that the game feels “gooey,” like players are sprinting in quicksand. While this may please fans who like their soccer slower and more methodical - think English Premiere League - anyone used to the breakneck pace of ripping shots and quickly countering - think Spain’s La Liga - may feel like FIFA 14 is tying their shoelaces together. When you’re making a game for over 14.5 million people on almost every continent on the planet, c’est la vie.
Maxim.com Ready-Made Press Blurb: “Might as well call it ‘Espana 14’ because FIFA 14 is a winner.” -Maxim.com
Fun Fact: FIFA 14 comes out today but both the PS4 and the Xbox One consoles won’t make it into our living rooms until November. Die-hards who need their FIFA fix now but also want the next-gen version in November will benefit from carryover options that let you seamlessly transition your seasons, football club, virtual pro, and ultimate teams to your new console.
Who It’s For: Soccer in the USA tends to be the primer that teaches the youngest generation teamwork and athleticism before they go on to more mainstream sports like baseball or football. Similarly, FIFA video games provide the primer for other sport sims to follow with excellent online modes, deep customization of teams and tactics, and a very natural approach to gameplay. Basically, if you’re ever gonna play an NBA, MLB, or NFL game, you should probably be playing FIFA too.
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