That EA Sports has released a new FIFA title specifically featuring the forthcoming World Cup in Brazil was never going to surprise anyone, however the decision to release it only on last gen consoles was certainly an interesting one, especially given the fact that they had a perfectly good next gen engine up and running for last year’s FIFA 14. Obviously the decision took into consideration the installed user base for each generation, though, and the publisher opted to play it safe and not plough money into development of a title with an admittedly short shelf life for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
That in itself might raise a few alarm bells, but 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, to give it its rather clunky full title, is a fantastic footie title that’ll appeal to fans of the long running series.
As is always the case when a new FIFA game rolls out, a number of new features, tweaks and additions have been made to justify the expense for die-hard fans. Here, the bulk of the notable changes are to be found in the game’s presentation, which focuses on the pageantry and occasion of the World Cup. At times it can feel a bit much, but when everything is taken into consideration, it’s actually closer to the mark than you might have thought at first.
All the glitz and glamour of the biggest event in global football is here, from the over-the-top pre-game celebrations to cut-aways of fans gathered to watch the matches in their home countries during major turning points. Although the actual World Cup is still a couple of months away, your experience here will leave you desperate for the footballing festivities to kick off, and that’s quite an achievement from the team at EA Canada.
On the pitch, the game is a touch faster than FIFA 14, which might make it a little more appealing to players who only dip their toes into the virtual footballing world once every four years when the World Cup hype machine is in full swing, but the fact that the series has seen so many changes since 2010 could prove to be a little troublesome for players who haven’t stayed up to date.
At its core, this is essentially FIFA 14, and that means that the controversial changes to the defensive side of the game are here in full effect. While that’ll have little effect on those who have played FIFA 14 or even 13, it’s probably fair to say that the series has evolved greatly from a title that used to be relatively easy to pick up and play. There’s a distinct learning curve here that players will need to adjust to before they can truly dominate on the world stage.
Keeping in mind that the target audience here is almost definitely a more casual player, EA Sports have made some adjustments to make things at least a little more accessible than last year’s game. Penalties, for example, are nowhere near as awkward to get the hang of, which is a bigger deal than you might think given the knock-out nature of the World Cup’s advanced rounds.
Some of the tactical arrangements have been made easier to get to grips with, too, particularly for set pieces, where you’ll be able to tweak your team’s approach with ease to put additional pressure on the opposition keeper, or choose players to make late runs to the back post.
Ultimately the gameplay is a little lacking when compared to the silky smooth execution of the PS4 and Xbox One versions of FIFA 14, but we can’t imagine that there’ll be too many who’ve already made the jump to next gen consoles who’ll be digging out their old systems to play a World Cup game any time soon.
There’s plenty of content here for those who do, though, with the game not just focusing on the finals themselves, and instead offering players the chance to guide their chosen country through the qualifying rounds an on towards Brazil, whether or not they actually managed it in real life. That ability to rewrite the history books will no doubt prove to be appealing to some, and EA shows that it’s aware of that thanks to a neat feature that’ll let you replay the games from the real competition as soon as they’ve ended in a bid to change things around.
2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil is another great football offering from EA Sports, albeit one that’s aimed at a slightly different demographic to the regular instalments of FIFA. If you’re a die-hard international football fan, then you’ll most likely want to check it out, but those of you who are already heavily invested in FIFA 14 probably won’t find enough reasons to shell out for another game – especially not with FIFA 15 coming in a matter of months. As far as last-gen footie titles go, though, it’s right up there with the best of the bunch.