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OS Scores Explained FIFA Soccer 14 Overview (Xbox One)
Pros
Amazingly smooth and crisp gameplay; uncompressed animations add to game flow; shooting scenarios and loose ball moments are more dynamic
Cons
“Living Worlds” concept needs to be expanded; teammate AI still a bit passive; no radical changes for next-gen modes/features.
Bottom Line
If you find yourself grabbing a new console and don't own the game on current-gen, check out FIFA 14 on next-gen.
8.5
out of 10
FIFA Soccer 14 REVIEW

FIFA Soccer 14 Review (Xbox One)


To be truthful, FIFA 14 for next-gen consoles isn't a sports title that's going to instantly make your jaw hit the floor — certainly not in the way that NBA 2K14 has managed to do — but once you start looking at it and playing it on a nice television setup, you start to realize that it's an incredibly versatile and smooth version of the FIFA brand that has satisfied millions for years now. While the new Ignite engine that's powering EA's next-gen efforts is certainly in its early stages here, this is still a strong “launch” sports title, and there's plenty to be happy about when you start playing it.

Don't misunderstand: this FIFA experience on next-gen reveals itself to be quality, but only once you play it. If you own the game on current-gen platforms already, it's probably a tall order to convince you to plunk down a bunch more money to play this version.

But if you find yourself in the market for a PS4 or an Xbox One (especially in Europe, where you could get FIFA for free), FIFA 14 on next generation hardware acquits itself rather well.

Gameplay

The biggest change in FIFA 14 on the new hardware, which I've outlined in my previous impressions, is the way it moves and plays thanks to the added animation fidelity and blistering framerate. Since the shackles of have been taken off the developers at EA, they've been able to use custom animations for many more scenarios, including through passes, lobs, shots, headers, pivots and off-the-ball reactions. Every player moves with an enhanced level of fluidity when compared to the current-gen version, and it's readily apparent when you watch the game back in replays.

Shooting, for example, feels quite a bit different, even though it's rooted in the familiar meters and presentation that users will be accustomed to. Since there are many new animations and reactions, players will actually adjust their body and their feet before releasing a shot, creating a much more believable release the has the appropriate velocity and impact if it hits the bar or ripples the net. I still found that finesse shots could be potted in the same fashion as most FIFA games of the past, but the added fidelity and framerate meant I could plant and manuever in the box with more purpose than before. This created more dynamism in the offensive scenarios, and everything just feels great when releasing a wicked shot from outside the box.
 


Headers have received a similar buff, as now multiple players — at least four — can go up after a ball. I wouldn't say that this occurs every single time, but it looks really cool when it does. It's also noteworthy that the added animations affect how headers will look and play out, as players will turn their head and contort their body in really specific ways that haven't been seen in previous FIFA games. I found crosses and headers to be slightly less effective than before, which is probably a good thing, since FIFA can get kind of bogged down in corners and headers. Still, you will see plenty of header opportunities, and you'll likely score some smooth-looking goals off your dome.

In general, there are a lot more loose ball situations this year, and you'll actually have to manage your player switching quite a bit to go after errant passes and weird deflections. On the one hand, I'm glad that there is more of this, since it creates some nice variety to the gameplay, but it also causes some aggravation, as you'll sometimes be left waiting for your AI teammates to go after a ball.

I certainly applaud the improvements that have caused things to feel less canned and more organic, but it can be a bit maddening when an AI teammate struggles to find his footing when going after a ball that should be an easy retrieval.

While those defensive teammate AI situations can cause the odd annoyance, it is great to see players thinking offensively by actually calling for passes and cutting for through lanes. Teammates will actually try and get out of the way when you're driving a shot, and they'll wait for their moment to actually get towards the corner and give you an outlet. I found myself waiting on my teammates much less than in previous years' games, and by playing laterally, I was able to open up the field relatively well.
 


One-on-ones feel excellent this year thanks to the added smoothness and animations, and it's really a pleasure to watch the action in replay and admire some of the fancy footwork and body movement that goes on during some of the close-quarters checking. Physicality continues to factor into these situations, as you'll have to size up defenders and passing lanes before trying to jockey around some of the bigger opponents. I found the AI reasonably good this year, as they use their size and ride you off the ball if you try and force things.

Specific throughs and cuts will still get you money chances if you know how the AI commits, but I did still have fun playing against the CPU, so that's all that really matters. The computer still doesn't commit enough fouls for my liking, but I did see them get called from time to time, mainly for being overly aggressive when jockeying for the ball.

All of these added animations and slight AI tweaks create a pleasing net effect for the gameplay, as I found myself just really satisfied with the action on offer. The building blocks for making star players feel unique have been put in place with this new animation fidelity (and with some presentation touches, as I'll note below), but this is still a core FIFA experience that doesn't vary wildly from one team to the next. Personally, this isn't something that I've ever gotten that hung up on, but I certainly would like to see more role players and team-specific strategies going forward, especially with the added horsepower and unleashed animation potential.

Presentation

FIFA has always been a sharp-looking game, and this year builds on that winning pedigree with the “living worlds” concept and dynamic presentation elements. To put a bottom line on what the new hardware delivers, you'll see better kit fabrics, more accurate player faces, detailed pitch textures (with grass and water spraying up), 3D crowds, some stadium external presentation and improved camera work during the game.

The next-gen hardware has allowed the action to be displayed at 1080p and 60fps, and the new stadium details really help heighten the atmosphere and sense of frenzy. Crowds look very good now, with individual fan sections and a proper variety of animations to make everything seem just that much more alive. It's really cool to watch a replay after a goal and see the crowd slowly rising to its feet and celebrating with the appropriate amount of passion. With the improved animations, character models and jersey fabrics, most players look a lot better now, and you'll get less of the “doll” effect that was seen on current-gen systems. Still, I look forward to the player detail going even further in the future, especially since there are still some wooden-looking animations and 1000-yard stares going on from a lot of the participants.
 


The stadium externals are an awesome idea, and it's great to see the likes of Old Trafford and Camp Nou visualized this way (especially at night), but it really makes you want to see EA take it further and apply the treatment to more stadiums. What's here is good, but more will be welcome. The camera work has also been improved throughout matches, and you'll see a much better quality and variety of replays, and close-ups will show players a bit more dynamically now (focusing on stars, for instance). The cutscenes and interstitials in FIFA 14 all end up being quite smooth, too, making the action after the whistle as nice as the on-pitch gameplay.

As always, the audio presentation in FIFA is top notch, with the commentary team of Martin Tyler and Alan Smith continuing to impress. There's a lot of great banter and speech for the various modes you'll play in as well, with the duo commenting on your previous loss in “seasons” mode or the fact that you're a new player on a team in career mode.

The cadence of the sport really lends itself to this kind of commentary style, and EA doesn't mess with what works here. Stadium audio also continues to sound tremendous, with chants, songs and everything else sounding appropriately vast or more localized depending on the stadium. The crowd audio reactions to certain plays have always struck me as a particular strength of the FIFA presentation, and that's no different here.

All of the menus are easy to navigate in FIFA 14 on Xbox One, and I found it simple to move between modes and change up settings without waiting around. Also worth mentioning is the game DVR feature on Xbox One, as this is great for saving highlights and memorable moments right after they happen. The Xbox One will automatically do this for you after certain plays as well, but this seemed a bit hit or miss in terms of which plays it would choose. Still, a neat feature that leverages the new hardware in a fun and social way.

Game Modes

All of the modes that FIFA has shown in the past are accounted for on Xbox One, save for leagues and tournaments. EA has said that this was due to time constraints as well as low player usage of the modes, but the omission still means that off-line play is going to be restricted to one of the more lengthy options, which won't suit everyone. On the bright side, skill games are still incredibly well-implemented, allowing you to practice your technique and bone up on your move before matches and when you have some free time.

FIFA Ultimate Team has been augmented this year with legend players, so get ready to see the likes of Pelé, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Luis Figo and Freddie Ljunberg. Even David Seamen is in there for English fans to recreate him missing that floater in the World Cup. The mode is as versatile as ever, allowing you to pop in and out of single-player and multi-player matches and change-up your players and chemistry balance when out of the action.
 


Career mode continues to provide lots of time-wasting potential, as you can attack it from either the player or manager angle. Dealing with news and transfers is a breeze in the mode (especially compared to the cumbersome menus and interface of NHL 14's career offering), and it's still satisfying to focus on just one player and levelling up your stats. As in the current-gen version, there's a lot more guesswork with the players now, and you'll have to take stock of your scouting to get a more accurate assessment on potential recruits.

Online modes abound in FIFA 14 on Xbox One, with pro club games, seasons (now with co-op), friendlies and FUT matches. EA has already addressed some bugs and crashes that users have been reporting, and there are workarounds for most of the issues. I was able to get into several seasons and FUT matches, but I did have several disconnects before doing so. When I did connect, the action was totally smooth, with only one or two hitches over several matches. Of particular note was how slick all of the transitions were in online matches, as previous FIFA games sometimes got bogged down with all of the loading and transitions. Not the case here.

Final Thoughts

FIFA 14 arrives on next generation hardware with a very successful first effort, not messing anything up drastically (besides a couple of omissions and online hiccups), and it manages to present and play smoother than any soccer title to date. It really is something you need to play to appreciate in terms of how smooth everything is and how the animations add to the gameplay variety, so if you have the means to do so, you'll likely come away happy with what you get.

Learning Curve: The FIFA series has never really been pick-up-and-play, and this one is no different. The added fidelity and smoothness does make the action a bit more accessible, though.

Control Scheme: As always, there's a lot of controls to keep in mind, and the FIFA team has left things as is for the users this year.

Visuals: Next-gen hardware translates into a buttery smooth framerate, better player models, 3D crowds, stadium exteriors and some awesome new animations.

Audio: A stellar audio package, to be sure, as the commentary and match audio is first-class stuff. The EA Trax are pretty good, too.

Value: While the omission of tournaments/leagues is a bit annoying, there is a ton of variety and depth to FIFA, as is the norm for the series.

Score: 8.5 (Great)

Scoring Note: While I hesitated to give this game “yet another 8.5,” I couldn't really reconcile scoring it any different. The current-gen release provides a very high level of quality, and while I think this franchise is capable of some great things on new hardware, I think this stands as an incredibly polished and playable launch sports game.

 


FIFA Soccer 14 Videos
Member Comments
# 1 facu23 @ 11/27/13 10:31 AM
8.5? really? sure?. This is a simple port of current gen. Nothing more.
Im not surprise but still annoying me that the trailer that EA shows at E3 was a lie. The game dont have the graphics of that trailer.
 
# 2 H to the Oza @ 11/27/13 10:45 AM
Good review. My favorite game on next gen!
 
# 3 BQ32 @ 11/27/13 11:00 AM
Don't believe the reviews, Fifa 14 is TERRIBLE. And that is coming from and avid supporter of the series. After players have the basic concepts down and understand how to job the defensive system, "high pressure" skill has little to do with the outcome of the game. Now when I first started playing it I thought it was amazing, a step up from current gen as I thought 14 was a step up from 13 but after playing it thoroughly online you will understand what I am saying. It is just a spam fest with everyone playing all out pressure and looking for long over the top balls. You score way too infrequently from intelligent control and build up play but score WAY too frequently from full out sprint crosses and corner kicks in which you have little control of the outcome. Most games are won based on luck. I am stating this as a warning. Hold off until there is a patch. The game will seem great for a short bit but then it will dawn on you that what is dictating the outcomes is pure trash. Again I am a huge fan of the series but this game needs a serious patch for online.
 
# 4 Dazraz @ 11/27/13 11:41 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by BQ32
Don't believe the reviews, Fifa 14 is TERRIBLE. And that is coming from and avid supporter of the series. After players have the basic concepts down and understand how to job the defensive system, "high pressure" skill has little to do with the outcome of the game. Now when I first started playing it I thought it was amazing, a step up from current gen as I thought 14 was a step up from 13 but after playing it thoroughly online you will understand what I am saying. It is just a spam fest with everyone playing all out pressure and looking for long over the top balls. You score way too infrequently from intelligent control and build up play but score WAY too frequently from full out sprint crosses and corner kicks in which you have little control of the outcome. Most games are won based on luck. I am stating this as a warning. Hold off until there is a patch. The game will seem great for a short bit but then it will dawn on you that what is dictating the outcomes is pure trash. Again I am a huge fan of the series but this game needs a serious patch for online.
This is why I never touch Online gaming & why the removal of the Tournament Mode, a mainstay for Offline gamers, is an awful decision & one which the review downplays somewhat. For Gameplay/Presenattion 8.5 is reasonable but the omissions drop it to a 7 for me.
 
# 5 HenryClay1844 @ 11/27/13 12:32 PM
I would never attempt to play this game online with assisted controls. Manual with longer halves is the only way to go. But of course manual is limited by lingering affects of assisted controls. Player switching, tackling and blocking continue to be dominated by assisted controls limiting the fun. It's not fare, in my mind, to call it terrible, but it still strikes me as too lazy and too arcade.
 
# 6 statum71 @ 11/27/13 05:27 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dazraz
This is why I never touch Online gaming & why the removal of the Tournament Mode, a mainstay for Offline gamers, is an awful decision & one which the review downplays somewhat. For Gameplay/Presenattion 8.5 is reasonable but the omissions drop it to a 7 for me.
"a mainstay for Offline gamers"

Exactly!!! That's why I hate that they think that player usage is low.

Tournament mode is the only reason I even buy FIFA. Gosh I hate they removed that mode. I need it to run my Premier League Season. (
 
# 7 DirtyJerz32 @ 11/27/13 06:25 PM
Just curious, any differences between X1 & PS4
 
# 8 Wiggy @ 11/27/13 07:12 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by 32
Just curious, any differences between X1 & PS4
This was more or less a review of the XB1 version, as that's the platform it was reviewed on.
 
# 9 DirtyJerz32 @ 11/27/13 07:17 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggy
This was more or less a review of the XB1 version, as that's the platform it was reviewed on.
Just trying to figure out which version I'm picking up
 
# 10 Wiggy @ 11/27/13 09:47 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by 32
Just trying to figure out which version I'm picking up
Yeah, I haven't heard of any crazy differences between the two, and both would run at 1080p/60fps, so there's probably not much of a difference.
 
# 11 DirtyJerz32 @ 11/27/13 10:09 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggy
Yeah, I haven't heard of any crazy differences between the two, and both would run at 1080p/60fps, so there's probably not much of a difference.
Thx man. Picked up the X1 version.
 
# 12 Mattuk123 @ 11/28/13 02:40 AM
Never been much of a fifa fan but this plays a great game really enjoying it. Got it free with my XB1 might not have bothered otherwise. The shooting is the best I've seen on a football game great feeling when you score. Never bothered with CG and play mainly offline.
 
# 13 Caius101 @ 11/28/13 12:36 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by BQ32
Don't believe the reviews, Fifa 14 is TERRIBLE. And that is coming from and avid supporter of the series. After players have the basic concepts down and understand how to job the defensive system, "high pressure" skill has little to do with the outcome of the game. Now when I first started playing it I thought it was amazing, a step up from current gen as I thought 14 was a step up from 13 but after playing it thoroughly online you will understand what I am saying. It is just a spam fest with everyone playing all out pressure and looking for long over the top balls. You score way too infrequently from intelligent control and build up play but score WAY too frequently from full out sprint crosses and corner kicks in which you have little control of the outcome. Most games are won based on luck. I am stating this as a warning. Hold off until there is a patch. The game will seem great for a short bit but then it will dawn on you that what is dictating the outcomes is pure trash. Again I am a huge fan of the series but this game needs a serious patch for online.
Meh... I hate online mode for sports games, whether FIFA or any other. There only one thing: Spam & Cheese... while not a bad meal when the budget is tight, not something I want when playing a sports game. :P
 
# 14 BQ32 @ 11/28/13 06:29 PM
Honestly I should retract my statement a bit, saying the game is terrible is harsh. The game has a fantastic base to build from and potentially could easily be the best sports game this year. However I stand by my comment on the cheese and erratic play that the game currently favors. I do feel that it is patchable by limiting the effectiveness of automated defensive pressure when set to 100 and the by limiting the frequency of goals scored from corners and crosses (especially taken when sprinting full speed). The auto defense is supposed to be "contain" defense which in fifa 13, it really was contain, in 14 it is used almost like legacy defense. It would not be as much of a nuisance if the 1-2 give and go was as effective as last year. What happens is the player passes and then stops and takes time to make his sprint. Meanwhile the defensive players just continue to rush whichever ball handler and can catch up to the ball before the player made the sprint. In fifa 13 players were punished continuously with the give and go if they relied to heavily on aggressive contain. This year it is far less punishable meaning players that are playing less skillfully on defense have a distinct advantage because rushing the ball and taking away space is more effective then proper position. "IF" it is fixed the game will be much more fun, tactical, and less cheesy.
 
# 15 BQ32 @ 11/28/13 06:47 PM
Also to add; Your defensive line can continuously get beat by through balls because they play to high and the momentum system stalls there movement from getting back in position in time. This seems great sometimes but can be a huge problem and game killer as you become helpless on defense to the counter attack. I even set my custom tactics to 10 on pressure and customized my formation so that all backs work rate is high defense and low offense to counteract this problem yet I still helplessly get beat by long through balls and the defenders are out of position and can not catch up. Again this leads players towards continuously pressuring to get the steal and sending long through balls. Not very realistic.

I kind of resent the people saying to just stay away from online. Well I am an online ONLY player. In every sports game I play I intend on being one of the top players using realistic tactics. Some games I feel that I get there sometimes I don't, and sometimes I feel that the game does not allow you to become a top player using real life tactics. The games I consider to have the best gameplay are games that allow you to use real tactics and still dominate if the skill level is high enough. Though many think FIFA 13 was a spam fest you could dominate the game using slow build up play and a slower pace. I know this because I won division 1 using that style. In fifa 14 it is currently not possible to take a team like Barcelona and be high class by playing their style of footie. I feel like developers many times develop the game around how they intend on playing it and do not realize how the online community will attempt to exploit. If they do sniff out the online bugs and can patch it without severely altering offline AI then the game will be better for everybody. Lets hope they do and give us the great game instead of the potentially great game.
 
# 16 Yeats @ 11/29/13 02:49 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by BQ32
Your defensive line can continuously get beat by through balls because they play to high... I even set my custom tactics to 10 on pressure and customized my formation so that all backs work rate is high defense and low offense to counteract this problem yet I still helplessly get beat by long through balls and the defenders are out of position and can not catch up.
Pressure tactics and workrates have never helped with that issue in any version of FIFA. If you want your players to stay back, you have to adjust your team positioning sliders. It also helps to create custom formations using as many backs and defensive midfielders as possible. I created a high-defend formation with 7 backs and 3 defensive mids for example (can do that with the PC version).

Quote:
Originally Posted by BQ32
I kind of resent the people saying to just stay away from online. Well I am an online ONLY player.
Don't twist things around here, you're the one who called the game terrible based on your experience playing online idiots. If you spend all your time in the sewer expect it to be overrun with vermin.
 
# 17 bwright25 @ 12/03/13 02:32 PM
Game looks great, but unfortunately game play is still dumb down online. Playing actual football is not rewarded. Just lob thru balls and all out pressure.
 
# 18 Shimoda @ 12/13/13 02:04 PM
I Like the gameplay but i hate the cameras... We should have in the game all camera angles that we can use in the replays, for example... the las fifa that I will buy it
 
# 19 wiifighter @ 02/05/14 04:22 PM
I just curious, any differences between X1 & PS4....
 
# 20 craigbezzle @ 02/07/14 12:14 PM
Will EA ever get rid of this ridiculous rubberband AI? I dominate for 85 minutes and then in the final 5, the AI becomes God. It's 2014, why does this still exist?
 

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