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FIFA 14 First Look

Curling, dipping, knuckle balls.

It should hopefully come as no surprise to you all that EA have a new FIFA game coming out this year. As part of their yearly diet of huge sporting franchises, it’s probably FIFA which has the widest appeal, and FIFA 14 will see the next step in their inexorable march towards the perfect game… of two halves. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)

With a yearly series running for this long, it will inevitably feel to some that there just can’t be all that many areas left to improve upon.

Yet there is always something to better, and there are plenty of opinions made loud and clear across the internet which help the team know where to focus their efforts. So, at a glance FIFA 14 might initially seem like not too much has changed, but in reality there have been many improvements under the hood which should once again transform the gameplay.

One of the complaints with FIFA 13 was surrounding the already revamped AI, with the defensive AI in particular getting a fair amount of stick. Each defender makes decisions on a frame-by-frame basis and when he made the wrong call, such as that a co-defender would be able to cover for him and he could back off, gaping holes in defence would spring open for a striker to run into.

Similarly, they wouldn’t be as smart in covering players off the ball as you might like, and so in FIFA 14 you should see that the defensive AI does a much better job of taking the whole field of play into account and working as a more cohesive team. It won’t just be you who is marking players, covering runs and closing down the ball.

This should add up to a game where you need to really work the ball through the midfield, rather than too much end-to-end running and incessant sprinting. However, with a tighter and smarter defence, the attack is also going to need a few extra tricks to break through.

Here you should see a few new moves made by strikers which keep their momentum high, such as running along the back line before a timed run rather than just checking their step to avoid the offside trap, or backing into defenders to protect an incoming ball.

Speaking of which, protecting the ball can now happen at any speed, where before it could only really be used when you were stationary. You might be running at full pelt or engaging in a bit of a push-pull battle, but a pull of the left trigger will now let you throw in a step which can sap a chasing defender’s momentum, or let you slow things right down and hold up the pace of play.

When you do need a turn of pace you’ll also be more maneuverable, with tighter turning now possible when sprinting, which is tempered only by the better modelling of player momentum.

This is all wrapped around some new ball physics, which can now more accurately replicate the complicated motions which a ball can be put through in real life. It will slow more naturally when passed along the ground for one thing, and when sprinting the ball won’t be as tightly under the player’s control.

The new ball physics have also opened up the potential for EA to introduce new kinds of shot, with the low rising ball, the dipping shot and even the now infamous knuckle shot being brought into play. Something which would give Gareth Bale a run for his money.

The window dressing to these new kinds of kick comes from Pure Shot. FIFA 13 and before would see players unrealistically snap to a particular animation frame, to get the shooting player into the right place to take a shot, but this method is not only unattractive to see, it simply doesn’t give enough visual feedback to you.

You might miss a shot because you were out of position, but wouldn’t know quite why. Pure Shot sets out to fix this, with new player animations which will see feet getting set more naturally via a stutter step or a slightly curved run, or, if you time your button presses wrong, it will show the player taking the shot off balance. If you see these things, then you can tell that the shot was mistimed, and understand why it tottered past the post like a wonky bike wheel.

In the wider game there are also changes afoot. Although EA aren’t yet talking about online play with Ultimate Team, let alone platforms beyond PS3, Xbox 360 and PC, Career mode sees an overhauled user interface which will hopefully make it more pleasant to use.

The menus are laid out in a fashion which should give much more information at a glance, and be easier to get around. You’ll all be glad to hear that you’ll only get notifications for the really important in-game emails.

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Scouting for players should be both more natural and a deeper experience.

Finding new players for your team is also getting a more authentic approach. Now, rather than asking for a player with 80 speed, as an example, it’s a more dynamic approach where you ask after characteristics rather than statistics. Sending your scouts to search for a speedy left-footed winger will take a certain amount of time, depending on where you want to look.

Your scouts will have a good handle on the players in your home league, and the big names like Ronaldo or Messi will also be known quantities. However, if you want to scout around on the other side of the world, in South America, you’ll have to send more scouts down there for longer to find the hot properties.

As always, FIFA is in a constant state of evolution. From one year to the next it will always feel like there are only a few areas which are getting the attention of the developers. Yet the smallest sounding things can sometimes really transform the gameplay, and even just with seeing tech videos and demonstrations FIFA 14 looks like it will have some really tangible improvements over last year. It’s probably going to be the best FIFA yet.

Then again, we get to say that every year…

Check back later this afternoon for an interview with Nick Channon, Producer on FIFA 14.

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17 Comments
  1. OnlineAssassin77
    Member
    Since: Jun 2012

    WHAT! there’s a new Fifa coming!!!

    Comment posted on 17/04/2013 at 13:03.
    • double-o-dave
      Member
      Since: Nov 2008

      Nah, can’t be! I reckon its a late April Fools story.

      Comment posted on 17/04/2013 at 13:33.
      • OnlineAssassin77
        Member
        Since: Jun 2012

        Yeah you could be right! ;)

        Comment posted on 17/04/2013 at 19:27.
  2. Peter Chapman
    Team TSA: Editor
    Since: Forever

    Always incredibly difficult to know how the changes they start talking about and showing will actually translate into the gameplay but there seems to be a couple of interesting ideas here.

    Hopefully they start talking about the multiplayer side of things soon, that’s an increasingly important part of the game for many and they’ll want some reassurances, I’m sure.

    Comment posted on 17/04/2013 at 13:34.
  3. yiddo
    Member
    Since: Jun 2010

    If there’s no improvements to Pro Clubs, no buy.

    Comment posted on 17/04/2013 at 14:31.
  4. ThatMattKid
    Member
    Since: Jan 2010

    Two things Fifa 14 needs.

    1. Weather that changes throughout the game (It would be lovely to start playing a game that’s slightly grey and overcast, then by the end the it’s raining cats and dogs)

    2. Put an indication next to the players name of what their foot preference is (currently the boxes at the bottom of the screen also show the players number, why do i need to know that, replace it with a L, an R, or a LR)

    Comment posted on 17/04/2013 at 14:40.
    • teflon
      Community Team
      Since: May 2009

      These sound like great little touches.

      Comment posted on 17/04/2013 at 20:38.
    • yiddo
      Member
      Since: Jun 2010

      Dynamic weather is something I’ve been wanting for a long time. Not just a visual weather change either, one that changes the surface of the pitch. Really dry pitch initially? the ball has a strong bounce off the surface, pitch may be bobbly etc. Slight bit of drizzle smooths the surface a bit, makes it more sleek. Slightly weaker bounces, smoother dribbling and slide tackles etc.

      Comment posted on 17/04/2013 at 21:11.
  5. Erroneus
    Wanted "Trophy Hunter" but was too late.
    Since: May 2009

    A proper Vita version would be nice…

    Comment posted on 17/04/2013 at 14:58.
  6. kjkg
    Member
    Since: Apr 2010

    Was it not Fifa that once boasted over 140 (number might be way off but it was high) improvements to the previous year. They counted things like celebrations though. As in celebrations were new to Fifa but instead of that being one improvement, they counted every single celebration.

    What I’m trying to get at is that I take these press releases (EA/FIFA especially) with a pinch of salt since far too often the promises are a let down.

    And in fairness of balance, PES/Konami are just as bad.

    Comment posted on 17/04/2013 at 15:01.
  7. SpikeyMikey23
    Member
    Since: Jul 2009

    Love the intro to the Video. Very Slick!

    Comment posted on 17/04/2013 at 15:03.
    • blackredyellow
      Member
      Since: Mar 2009

      Yeah! BThe best bit of the vid :)

      Comment posted on 17/04/2013 at 20:05.
  8. Eldave0
    andUandU
    Since: Aug 2008

    Meh, still a PES man myself, though I’m not sure why these days.

    Comment posted on 17/04/2013 at 15:15.
  9. ghost5
    Member
    Since: Oct 2008

    This is what I would like to see from fifa

    1. For it to remember that I speak English when starting the game and also my kinect dialect

    2. To be able to save custom squads and formations and to be able to quickly load them when playing offline multi player

    3. To stop the constant on slaught of pacey players running non stop with balls over the top. They promised this with 2013 but nothing changed

    Comment posted on 17/04/2013 at 18:49.
    • teflon
      Community Team
      Since: May 2009

      Bah! I totally forgot to ask about the first one!

      The third is trickier, since that’s such a common sense play, and does work in real life too… But, with the tighter marking and better coordinated defensive AI, they’ll hopefully get a proper handle on things.

      Comment posted on 17/04/2013 at 20:41.
      • ghost5
        Member
        Since: Oct 2008

        When they released 2013 they said if you sprint around non stop your player will tire easier making them miss shots and passes more. I didn’t see any difference compared to 2012

        Comment posted on 17/04/2013 at 23:15.
  10. aerobes
    Member
    Since: Aug 2009

    If they don’t fix the online stability it’s all for nothing. Fifa 13 is woeful.

    Comment posted on 17/04/2013 at 19:43.

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