Platform: Xbox One
Developer: EA Canada
Publisher: Electronic Arts
What can we expect from a next-generation FIFA? I don’t really know yet and we probably won’t know for another couple of years. That’s how much longer I suspect EA will continue to build the games from the ground up for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 before upscaling the finished product for the Xbox One and Playstation 4. It may well be 2015 before we get a genuine next-gen FIFA.
FIFA 14 for the Xbox One came free as part of the Day One launch bundle. The game is a solid, if not unremarkable update on the reigning champ of video game football.
As usual, the game comes with an awesome arsenal of real teams, players, logos, uniforms and leagues. There are over a dozen domestic competitions and a wealth of international sides to choose from. This has always been one of FIFA’s biggest assets and keys to its enduring popularity. As with the past couple of iterations, FIFA 14 automatically connects to the internet when you boot up the game and updates the squad to reflect any changes to their real life counterparts. This is done not only with the giants of the Bundesliga, EPL and Serie A but even the minnows in the A-League. When I played a game as the Brisbane Roar on the Xbox One launch day, the squad recognized the real life injuries that Besart Berisha, Shane Stefanutto and Liam Miller were carrying and substituted them accordingly.
It still kinda bugs me that the one type of license that EA seem unwillingly to shell out for is stadiums. It’s nice to play as Brisbane Roar wearing their authentic strip but its a little irksome when the players trot out onto TOWN PARK. There are 32 real life stadiums in the game but they are almost all from Europe. Even a single genuine Australian stadium would be appreciated.
Graphically the game looks pretty much the same as on the Xbox 360 although there are a few little graphical touches here and there. The crowd definitely looks a lot more detailed and there seems to be a lot more activity on the sidelines including reserve grade players warming up and managers barking orders from the technical area. When it comes to the detail on the players, the mileage varies greatly. The big stars like Messi and Rooney have reasonable facsimiles of their likeness. Most of the A-League players look pretty wonky though. One of the most egregious cases of lazy player modelling with the A-League roster is Perth Glory’s Ryo Nagai who is mysteriously caucasian in FIFA 14.
As for the Xbox One features, the game incorporates voice commands so you can verbalize a request to do a substitution or a tactical change. Given the hit and miss nature of the voice commands and the fact that your friend could hypothetically call out a purposefully damaging tactical change in two player mode, I don’t really see this as much more than a novelty. Speaking of novelties, I did find the game giving you a yellow card for swearing an entertaining little Easter Egg.
What will become a handy feature and I think a big draw card on both Xbox One and Playstation 4 is the ability to record games in an instant. I’ve already used this function a number of times to record some decent goals and some of the entertaining graphical glitches that FIFA 14 has on occasion.
FIFA is actually a pretty good launch game to have around. The core game is the same as its ever been but once you finish Ryse, Dead Rising or Zoo Tycoon, its games like this that’ll keep you occupied until the next wave of games begin to arrive. It’s very familiar, maybe too familiar, but its perfect multiplayer fodder until Titan Fall arrives in March.