EA Sports are back with their twenty-first strike at the soccer game genre. Last year they brought a lot of new and interesting improvements to the long-lived franchise with FIFA 13, from intelligent defending and attacking to more realistic first touches and player ball control. FIFA 13, all things considered, felt like a well polished game and was much more realistic to boot. So, what could EA possible do to make FIFA 14 worthy of our hard earned cash? Well, quite a bit apparently.
The first big change seems to be the introduction of ‘Pure Shot’. This is being heralded as an innovation to how players shoot on goal. Apparently, shooting has been transformed since the last game, giving players the intelligence to adjust their stride, positioning and timing to strike the ball with precision. It seems as though this will make striking the ball more accurate and realistic, leading to more satisfying goals and, most likely, devastating misses. This also seems to go hand in hand with the new ‘real ball physics’, meaning that a well struck shot will leave the soccer ball flying through the air like an arrow and a poor shot will leave it bobbling around the pitch.
EA have also stated that players will now be able to ‘protect the ball’ to help dictate and control play in midfield. This is a welcome addition to the FIFA series. It was something that they attempted with the realistic dribbling and close control of FIFA 13, but it was far too easy to barge the players out of possession. This often left midfield feeling over crowded, with as much free space as my six year old 20GB XBOX hard drive (not much space at all). Hopefully, now players like Arsenal’s Wilshire, Juventus’s Pirlo and Barcelona’s Iniesta will actually be able to control play, make powerful runs and pick those characteristic pinpoint passes with enough room to swing a proverbial cat.
In previous FIFA titles, scouting was incredibly passive, allowing your scout to jet to far off lands and bring back players like some exotic animal that was best seen and not used. These players often took an age to improve and were never really overly useful for the team. Now it seems as though the players you’ll be bringing in could have a real effect on your squad. Hopefully this will enable you to choose players with attributes that will actually help refine and boost your squad rather than just sit on the bench, sucking away at your precious budget. Finally, EA have promised that AI players will have attacking and defending intelligence. Now, this was a change that they initially brought to FIFA 13 but, sadly, it wasn’t overly effective. Players did seem slightly more intelligent, true, but they still made idiotic mistakes that, in professional soccer, would leave a player benched – probably for eternity.
It looks like FIFA 14 is shaping up to be the best the series will have ever offered. I’m pretty sure that I said that in last year’s FIFA preview. Keep an eye on inMotion Gaming for all of the latest information on EA’s next instalment to the FIFA series.
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