Gamescom Preview: FIFA 14
FIFA is a series that has lasted about two decades. It has moved up from being one of the football games to being the undisputed best, selling millions and millions every year like clockwork. Recently, the games have been pushing themselves to the brink trying to think of new ways to make the game move forward and that is difficult for a game where the main objective is the same every time, no matter what. So with the dawn of next generation, has EA Sports brought back the mojo that will make FIFA 14 more fun than the previous games? Will next generation versions make the current generation versions innovate? The answer to both questions is no. Not at the moment.
Current Generation – PlayStation 3
I was invited to see the game at EA’s behind closed doors preview of the game where I was sat down with big, chunky headphones and given a PlayStation 3 controller to play with. After starting the game, I began to play the kick off mode as Brazil, one of the more skillful teams in FIFA. Expectation was high going into this demo as I was fully expecting a leap forward. But I was wrong. The gameplay itself and the feel of the game were identical to FIFA 13 on the PlayStation 3. Granted my time with the game was limited and I didn’t get to fully playtest as thoroughly as I would in a review, but it seemed like a carbon copy. Except for the new commentator lines, which is a godsend after playing the same FIFA for months and hearing the same lines a thousand times, and the slightly different looking HUD, the game was the same. In some respects, that isn’t always the worst thing, such as with the skills. Initiating skills used the right analogue stick as always and felt just as natural as the previous games. But skills were never really a problem. The problems were graphics and certain player ticks that were never ironed out.
Goalkeepers still seem overly helpless in situations like one to ones where some goals would just go through their hands in the most easy of scenarios, or they would parry the ball away in the worst circumstances. Defenders have actually undergone changes as I did notice them making much more of a nuisance of themselves than usual but not so much that the game felt any more or less difficult than before. However, if I handed the game to someone and didn’t tell them what it was, they may say FIFA 13, it was THAT similar.
On the menu side of things, the game has improved. As many of you can tell from the screenshots, the menu is slicker and more modern a UI than before. It is easy to move around the game and find what you need. I looked very briefly at the Ultimate team side of things through the menus and saw the player search feature, while there were no actual players up there (probably so nosy people like me wouldn’t find out the player ratings) however it is one feature that I am most looking forward to.
Overall, the current generation version of the game seemed disappointing and uninventive, nearly everything was the same. Hopefully this was a result of short playtime limiting my view of different games. So far, I would be wary.
Next Generation – Xbox One
This is a different game. Before I even played the game, I could see from watching other people play that this was different. On the down side, I literally played one game of the next gen FIFA. Meaning no menu or Ultimate Team searching.
The graphics were much more fluid than the current generation, with players looking much more realistic with their movements. The noise from the stadiums did sound better and the actual crowd was much better than the 2D figures that appear in the previous games. Playing the game was the same as previous games using the Xbox One controller but the ease of movement using certain players was a breath of fresh air as it makes it look less like AI with erratic movements and more life-like.
Xbox One’s version of FIFA 14 which comes free with a pre-order of the console, looks great but still hasn’t currently got THE big change which would warrant buying the game on a new console. Whether or not this kind of changer gets announced in the next few months before next generation is released is yet to be seen, but it looks more promising than the current generation version.