Article first published as PlayStation 4 Review: ‘FIFA 14’ on Blogcritics.
Welcome to Sony’s new generation console, the Playstation 4. Personally, I preordered mine at a local game store, the day after Sony’s E3 press conference in Los Angeles between sessions at the Expo. While I’m sure I was one of the first to preorder the system, I didn’t want to spend a huge amount of time in line waiting to pick it up. I showed up around a quarter till midnight, paid it off and was done within about twenty minutes. What was somewhat unusual about the experience was that I didn’t pick up any games for the new system and EA’s "FIFA 14" is the first retail disc, I’ve put in my new console.
Needless to say, I’m fairly unimpressed with the launch line-up for the Playstation 4, though as a Playstation Plus member, I have been pleasantly surprised by "Contrast." That being said, "Contrast" is hardly the game to drop nearly five hundred dollars on a new system for. So, when I was assigned to review "FIFA 14" for the PS4, I was curious to see what the game looked like on what was previously referred to as “the next gen.” Overall, I’m impressed, though it is mostly with the entire level of presentation than with any particular aspect of the game. The physics models applied to clothing and the ball are subtle but still noticeable.
Though EA Canada has rebuilt "FIFA 14" from the ground up for both Playstation 4 and the Xbox One, the game doesn’t feel terribly different from last gen versions. Actually, in some ways, Konami’s latest soccer offering for the Playstation 3, which utilizes their FOX engine, actually looks better. Unfortunately for them, their licensing issues and history of coming in a distant second to EA hurts the overall product they are able to offer. The overall "FIFA" experience surpasses their competitor easily and while I never felt like I had as much control over the individual player, I did have a much better sense of the overall feel of the game.
In the U.S., soccer isn’t a mainstream sport. While it’s gaining popularity, it is still fairly niche. Where Konami’s offering seems to have fringe appeal, EA’s "FIFA 14" is designed for more mass appeal. This is particularly evident in the control schemes. EA offers three standard configurations, including a simple two button mode along with the option of mapping the controller yourself. To pull off all of the cool tricks though, you’ll need to master the numerous analog stick gestures. This makes "FIFA 14" an easy game to get into but one that will require some dedication to master.
While my overall impressions of the Playstation 4 so far is that it’s really just a Playstation 3 2.0, one nice feature in "FIFA 14" on the PS4, is the ability to play Kick Off, a quick match while the ten gigabyte install is underway. Of course to access any of the other features, including the skill games, or multiplayer you must wait until everything is on your hard drive. Keep in mind, with the Playstation 4, a subscription to Playstation Plus and an Origin account is now required to be able to play Ultimate Team, online co-op, or multiplayer, friendlies or league matches. The game does support up to 22 online players and a seven day Playstation Plus trial membership is included in the package.
Those looking for drastic difference between the Playstation 3 and 4 versions will probably be disappointed. While there are certainly graphical improvements in the models, their animations, and environments, there are also aspects of the game that feel brushed over. The touchpad is hardly used and the remote play feature that works with the Vita feels hampered with an adjusted control scheme. As a sports RPG, "FIFA 14" feels incomplete, but the addition of so many small graphical improvements adds up quickly. There is no doubt, this is the best version of "FIFA" out there and if you’re a PS4 owning soccer fan, "FIFA 14" is a no-brainer.
Feel free to subscribe to this column to get every new article sent to your email. This article is also available in its entirety with additional media on Lance’s personal page,RPGameX.com.