FIFA Soccer 14 Review for Xbox 360

FIFA Soccer 14 Review for Xbox 360

Kickin’ It With FIFA 14

So, let’s just get this out of the way up front–I am not a diehard FIFA fan. Hell, I’m not even a soccer fan. In this review, I’m not going to compare previous installations in the franchise and tear apart the feature set by dissecting it into little bite-sized bits for easy digestion. All I can do is tell you about my experience with the game, and that’s exactly what I intend to do.

That being said, FIFA 14’s ability to keep me engaged and playing match after match is commendable. Once the obligatory Origin account confirmation and Email contact info were out of the way, I was able to find my way into a match almost instantly. The game even set my difficulty for me based on the fact that I had never played a FIFA game on my current console, an added bonus that I was eternally grateful for because it was a difficulty level that I was comfortable with from the beginning.

Before beginning my first game, a skill challenge was presented that gave me a little insight into the shooting system. This was invaluable during my playtime and gave me a sense of preparedness for my upcoming match. These varied skill challenges pop up before every game in exhibition and give you the opportunity to earn badges for your efforts. However, they are not required, so if you feel like jumping right into the action, a simple press of the start button will speed you on your way.

When my game began, I noticed the simplicity of the control scheme immediately. While there are much more complex control schemes available for the more hardcore fans of the game, the classic controls fit me just fine. The player movement and ball handling were just part of the character motions, so directional movements to throw off defenders and to create windows for attack were fairly easy to pick up on. The push-and-pull, almost non-stop struggle for the ball was always present between my foes and I, which made for games that passed much more quickly than I would have anticipated. And of course, slide tackling an offensive player was always wholly gratifying, especially when it resulted in an interception for my team.

FIFA Soccer 14 Screenshot

However, scoring did take me a little time to perfect. I found out almost immediately that charging headlong toward the goal on the attack wasn’t exactly the most efficient way to score, though it did work on occasion. I quickly realized that cross-passing to a teammate in the center of the field for a more direct shot, header, or flip-kick was not only a much more effective way to make a goal, but was also a hell of a lot more fun than just running straight at the goal and jamming on the circle button. Over time, I became pretty adept at setting up my shots and creating the space to be able to take better ones. This made the gameplay steady and tense, and kept me engaged throughout each game, something I’ve never really been able to say about a soccer game before.

Something else that surprised me was how well matched the games always seemed to be. I never won a game by more than one goal, which is possibly a testament to my ineptitude in sports games, but it also added to the overall feel of the game. When I played soccer games previously, gameplay always felt lopsided to one team or the other, making for a blowout, with my team on the losing side more often than not. Overall, the game is paced amazingly well, and when a good shot actually occurs, it can be a pulse-pounding experience.

FIFA Soccer 14 Screenshot

But there is much more to FIFA 14 than just solid, easy-to-pick-up gameplay. Entertainment value is there to be had at all levels, especially if you are sitting next to a friend who wants nothing more than to kick a blazing shot down your goalie’s throat. However, the feature set of FIFA 14 is robust enough for any fan of the series, from professionals to lowly neophytes like myself. More seasoned fans of the series can dive into career mode, scout young players, manage teams, or even dig into Ultimate Team to “get their kicks” in FIFA . See what I did there?

Aside from the impressive gameplay of FIFA 14 , another factor that must be considered is graphical quality. I am pleased to say that FIFA 14 does not disappoint in this respect. Visually, the game looks sharp and clean in all respects. Player animations are fluid and work well with one another; I didn’t see a single glitch during transitions between animations. Something else of note that is worth mentioning is how FIFA has retained its top-down sprawling view of the field over the years. Where other sports games have shifted to a more cinematic approach, which can cause gameplay issues, with FIFA you always know where you stand and how the game is progressing around you. The presentation is as expected for an EA game–ridiculously well polished. EA has become masterful at presenting their sports titles in a way that emulates a television broadcast, and FIFA 14 is no exception.

This is not to say that FIFA 14 doesn’t have its visual flaws. Although the action during play is near flawless, cutaways to player shots can have screen-tearing and loading issues that make for some truly odd visuals. However, I believe this is due more in part to the limitations of the current consoles, not the design of the game.

FIFA Soccer 14 Screenshot

Audio for a sports game is a curious thing. It is expected to be at a level that helps to immerse you in the gameplay, but normally never transcends anything beyond ambience. This is true of FIFA 14 as well. It’s not to say that the quality of the audio in FIFA 14 is bad, far from it. It does its job admirably. Crowds cheer louder as a player nears the goal for a shot, announcers keep up with the on-screen action, and the sound of kicking a ball sounds like, well, you know, kicking a ball. The international soundtrack was kind of cool, even though I couldn’t understand a word of some of the songs; it was a testament of the popularity of the sport worldwide. The only issue I had with the soundscape was that the announcers could become annoyingly repetitive, continually repeating the same phrases for similar situations. While this is the case with all sports games, it still bugs me. I will say, though, that the announcers are much better than other sports games I have played recently (I’m looking at you, NCAA Football 14 !)

All in all, I really did enjoy my time with FIFA 14 . I’m not sure if it’s the best game in the series, but it kept me playing for hours on end, and that’s enough for me. The visual and audio competence supported by the rock-solid gameplay is a winning combination, and just goes to show how much EA has perfected the major-league game formula.

So, will I run to my local department store, buy myself a multi-colored, long-sleeve shirt and proclaim myself a soccer hooligan? Nah, probably not. But I will definitely keep FIFA 14 in my collection for when I get the itch to feel like I can actually play a sports game. Well, for that, and when I want to yell “GOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL” in a buddy’s face. Either way, it’s a good time.

Visually, this is the most impressive game in the series. 4.0 Control
Controls are intuitive and clean, easy to pick up and play. 3.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
No surprises here, solid sound adds to the overall immersive soccer experience. 4.0 Play Value
This game has plenty to do for any level soccer fan. 4.1 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Pure Shot – Shooting has been transformed. Players have the intelligence to adjust their stride and approach angle to find the best position for hitting the back of the net. Well-hit balls feel satisfying and goals are rewarding. As well as quality strikes, players can now shoot while off balance or rushed.
  • Real Ball Physics – Strike the ball with more force and finesse. Realistic ball physics now determines the trajectories of balls in game, enabling players to strike the ball with force from distance, drill low rising shots with accuracy, and blast dipping or swerving shots, just like real soccer players.
  • Sprint Dribble Turns – Utilize quick, explosive cuts and turns to beat defenders one-on-one while sprinting with the ball. Players can move in any direction, preserving their natural momentum and maintaining possession of the ball.
  • Teammate Intelligence – Better decision-making delivers tighter, smarter marking and improved run tracking. Defenders recognize opportunities to provide support and win back possession. Attacking players have new ways to outsmart their opponents and break down tighter, more intelligent defences by creating space for themselves, running along the backline and checking their pace.
  • 2nd Chance Tackles – The tackling zone has been extended to enable defenders to combine different types of tackles, recover from missed tackles quickly, and have a second chance to compete for the ball in any tackling situation.
  • Skill Games – A competitive practice mode that enable players to learn or master the fundamental skills necessary to compete at FIFA 14. Become a better player, faster, no matter what your skill level, competing against yourself or friends in all-new mini-games.
  • Career Mode – Search for talent year-round with the new Global Scouting Network that brings the world of professional scouting to life. Develop and refine your own scouting network. Evaluate soccer players to uncover the attributes of players who could bolster your squad during the transfer windows. A new hub delivers easy navigation, fewer interruptions and live scouting reports.

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