North Texas Daily

Video game review: FIFA 2014 for PlayStation 3

Video game review: FIFA 2014 for PlayStation 3

Video game review: FIFA 2014 for PlayStation 3
January 23
09:33 2014

William Darnell // Editor-in-chief

Five million people can’t be wrong – and they aren’t. EA Sports’ FIFA 2014 for Playstation 3 is the best soccer game ever released on any video game console.

In the months since its release, the game has topped the sales charts worldwide, including in the U.S., Canada and England. Now in its 20th year, the massively popular soccer simulation game has once again raised the bar by which sports video games are judged.

The game offers players the choice of several modes of play including career mode, where players pick one of the more than 200 teams to control, several online modes where players can test their skills and mettle against millions of other players online, and the most popular game play mode, FIFA Ultimate Team, which is a combination of all the other modes.

While the next generation PS4 version doesn’t make any significant leaps forward (except for intangible things like crowds and feel), it maintains the same level of quality of the PS3 edition.

Although FIFA 2014 offers a profoundly realistic and in-depth gaming experience across both generations, it does fall short in one major category: it isn’t any fun. The game’s producers deemed previous incarnations of the franchise too arcade-like, meaning the game was not an accurate depiction of soccer, so the folks at EA Sports were determined to increase the game’s realism.

The developers transformed three aspects of the game, which – while making it more realistic – had the unintended consequence of sapping some of the game’s joy. They installed true-to-life ball physics, which means the ball responds exactly how a real ball would – affected by wind, power and player positioning. They ramped up the artificial intelligence of defenders, who now accurately follow players and act, instead of react. And finally, they slowed the game down.

Previously, FIFA was played at break-neck speeds, with attacking players using raw pace to score goals and defeat opponents. By slowing the game down, installing true ball physics and increasing AI, the game’s developers increased the amount of strategy and expertise necessary to be successful at the game’s many gameplay modes.

At the highest level and for even the most seasoned players, the game becomes frustrating, impossibly difficult and just plain infuriating. Despite the fact that the game is the most complete version yet, with more than 10,000-licensed real life players, dozens of leagues and hundreds of teams, the game seems to have lost its soul.

While creating a game almost perfectly realistic is a valiant endeavor, making the game so difficult that most players cannot be successful is surely a mistake, both in the short and long term. It would therefore not be surprising to see a more user friendly game come 2015, ball physics be damned.

Feature photo: FIFA game play screen grab. Photo courtesy of EA Sports / Playstation 

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