I’ve managed to keep away from annualized releases in the games that I’ve reviewed but there is a special reason why I’ve been playing so much Fifa 14 recently.
The world cup is on its way and with it will be another competition almost as important. My friends and I will be holding a world cup of our own. Taking place over the first three days of the 2014 world cup, we have each drawn a team and will attempt to beat the game system and each other in order to win our own (Less expensive) World cup. The winner will then hold the trophy until the next world cup in four years time. Yes, I’m aware at how awesome it sounds and I can feel your jealousy from here.
As excited as I was when the idea was posited, I couldn’t remember the last time that I’d actually played a Fifa game for any length of time and I REALLY wanted that trophy to go alone with my Golden Joystick.
Having purchased the day one edition of the Xbox One, I’d had Fifa 14 included in the bundle for ne reason other than living in Europe and every person in Europe loves football (almost true). I’d installed it and created my career character but got no further than a pre season friendly all the way back in November. I was impressed with the presentation and hearing “Morgan” called out by the announcers when my player picked up the ball made me squeal inside. Apart from that I’d got into other games until about a month ago when our plans were finalized and I’m very glad I was given that spur to play with this beautiful and digital game.
I’ve always loved football. As a kid I would spend more time playing than actually watching it but as I grew larger (In all directions) my love swung to watching. A Swindon Town and England fan since birth I have an intimate knowledge of the ugly parts of the game and this is one thing that Fifa 14 absolutely nails. Playing through the career mode gives you the option to only control your avatar or control the whole team as is more traditional. Considering I had started my career with my beloved Swindon town, two leagues away from the Premier League, my computer controlled team did not support me well. The hopelessness of seeing your avatar playing his heart out, swinging crosses in, playing through balls all to no avail is heart breaking. This is not to say that controlling the entire team can’t be equally frustrating. The teams you face will have differing ways of attacking and defending and you will find yourself struggling to make a break though against a team apparently weaker than the side you smashed in the previous game.
It may say something about my teams and their success/failures which makes me see these qualities in Fifa 14 to be a positive. It’ll be interesting to see if a Manchester United fan would carry on through a season when they find themselves in 7th place or whether they’d sack themselves and start again. Due to the career aspect of the game you are even forced to watch a simulation of the critical matches should you not be picked or end up on the injury list. Knowing I could have beaten a side and having to watch on the side lines as my team mates get beaten feels heartbreaking.
Frustration in Football is part of the beauty. Football is the most beautiful game when it is played simply and fluidly. The matches in which I’ve scored during the last few minutes to seal a victory are worth much more than the 5-0 thrashings. Scoring with a tap in two feet from an empty goal still makes me throw my fist up in the air as much as a cheeky chip from the edge of the box. The ability to command my xbox to record that particular goal also adds to the experience. I’ve recorded many of my goals and I’ve watched them all over and over.
Yes the presentation is excellent throughout, but what makes me enjoy Fifa is the feeling it brings out in me. The whole range of emotions that I’ve felt during games of football I’ve played in and watched are brought out during my time with Fifa 14. I don’t have the burnout that other people do with the series as this is the first version I’ve purchased since 1998. I can understand the frustrations people feel with the incremental changes that take place in the yearly franchises due to devs having to churn out a new game in about nine months. However as an outsider to the series I’ve got to say that Fifa 14 hits every single note that it needs to in order to recreate the game that I love so much. Goals feel satisfying. Long passing movements resulting in a goal make you feel like a master tactician. Cutting down an attack from your friend before sending a devastating counter attack his way causes you to record it and put it on the internet for everyone to see.
In short, if you love football and have been put off by the naysayers that complain about EA’s yearly release, none of their problems will bother you. You’ll be too busy celebrating each goal as if you’re watching a real game. If anyone’s said that isn’t enough, they’re wrong.
A small addition to that is that because the next gen consoles didn’t get a world cup release this year, we got a free update out of the blue which allowed us to play all of the world cup teams in one off international friendlies. They updated the teams, the stadium, weather and play style to match that of the retail release. Unfortunately the also updated the commentary team and chose ITV’s bunch of shaved apes. Other than the ear abuse I have to suffer, this free addition was very much appreciated.
Have you played a Fifa game recently?
Are you watching the world cup? Are you following England or choosing a sensible team?
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