As I sit here yawning and with bleary eyes after spending an all-nighter playing the Next-Gen version of FIFA 14 on my new PS4, I still have a big grin on my face. Considering the other games I could have sampled that came with PS4, it was worth it. FIFA 14 showcases what a good launch sports sim could be and also shows the potential of what we could expect from the new and future gaming systems.
To be fair, it does not need reiterating the game set up and modes as for now. FIFA 14’s menus operates the exact same way that it does on the current gen systems. What I can tell you however is about all of the changes that happen, which are the tiny and noticeable changes within the game itself.
Starting off the pre-game presentation, the first thing I noticed that went missing in the Xbox 360 version from last year is the ESPN logo. It’s a small arbitrary thing but considering the fact that it was in FIFA 13 and then quickly disappeared in FIFA 14, it was just a chuckle to see it re-appear for the PS4. Also, once you get a game fired up, you will see a small EA HD bug in the upper right corner of the screen.
After that is when you really do start seeing the smallest nuances within the game. The crowds are no longer 2D pixelated cutouts but look more ‘alive,’ although it’s still not exactly up to 2K sports standards but that’s forgivable. The commentary thus far is much more varied and dynamic as Martin Tyler and Alan Smith give a great overview of what’s to come. A nice added touch is that when they now talk about new transfers and other rumors, the game does cutaways to the players being mentioned sitting in the stands. All in all, the pre-game presentation has been stepped up.
As the game itself starts, one can really notice how much smoother it feels to play on the next-gen consoles as opposed to the current gen. The game stoppages are smooth when balls go out of touch, and you really can feel the crowd getting behind you with ball movement. The controls are the same and with the Dualshock 4, it’s a more comfortable to play especially considering that I have large hands, and it’s not as cramped as before. Action on the field looks much more realistic as advertised by EA. They added a lot of animations to players to make the game more realistic and it shows. Slide tackles are different from many angles as you don’t get the same slide tackle each time you push the button. Shots are also different from players. I have also noticed that, in many cases, balls when deflected react with a lot more variety than before and it makes it a challenge sometimes to see where the balls might land. In short, the realism is getting better.
So what are some things that EA could improve? It is a launch game largely based on the current gen version, so it’s really hard to criticize at this point but if I had to point a few issues out I would say that, for one, the player models look slightly better and a little less dead under the eyes, but they still move slightly stiffly when viewed close up. The crowd noise is about the same as this gen’s version but it is a lot more reactive when things happen. And the dynamic lighting has not been changed as of yet but it is one improvement I hope to see change as gaming on this new system continues.
The last thing I want to cover is using the remote play. Even on the PS Vita with it scaled down, it looks excellent and still plays marvelously. You may have to get used to using the touchpad on the back but the game still works fine. I experienced a few hiccups here and there but nothing game breaking so now, I can play anywhere in my house when I don’t feel like sitting in front of my TV and I love it!
FIFA 14 is a great entry into the next-gen space and if you are a footy fan, you would be remiss not to get this game. Also remember, if you were one of those that got this game for the PS3 and you are getting it for the PS4, certain stores will allow you to trade this in and you pay only $10 to upgrade. And the same applies if you are upgrading it from an Xbox 360 to the Xbox One.
My score is 4.5 out of 5 and a highly recommended pickup if you are a FIFA fan.
Editor’s note: Be sure to listen to our fortnightly Press A To Shoot video game show hosted by Morgan Green and Matt Duncan with special guest Kris Heneage.