I’ve written about the FIFA franchise in the past, and I’ve written about this particular FIFA title (FIFA 14) before as well, so why am I writing about a game that has been out since September last year that I’ve written about before? Well the answer is simple. I have not actually written a review for FIFA 14 before and it’s currently the game I play the most, heck at the moment it can be considered the only game I’m playing.
So where should I start with this review?
Ok I got it!
I got FIFA 14 last year as an early birthday present from my sister because I was too impatient to wait till payday to buy it myself. Granted I’ve kicked myself in the arse for asking her for it due to the fact that it technically was the only gift I got from her from for my birthday and I got paid not to long after (screw you impatient hype).
More than 6 months have passed since I first got the game and I have to be honest I am having fun with it. Just today as of writing this article I beat a bloke 3-0 in ultimate team with my Buttonsmashers team (yes I named my team after the site lol). So yes I’m having fun with the game, but there are a few grips I have with this title and I intend to have them heard. Be it as it may the FIFA franchise is the most popular sports game franchise ever. I say that because it’s true and you and I both know it. Football or soccer as Americans call it is the most popular sport in the world. There are players that grossing a salaries each month that the average Joe would never see in his entire life time. With a sport this popular it is no wonder the video games sell like hot cakes each year, sometimes with only a few cosmetic updates and a new player on the cover. Sadly we the fans go out and buy it each year for a few shameful reasons:-
1: We’re lazy
Yes you read that right. We Sports game fans are a sorry, sick, lazy bunch of wankers. For you see we can just buy the game this year and move the players we want to the proper clubs after the transfer season, but no that’s too much work. Who wants to sit at home all afternoon moving players from club to club, manually changing stats and designing new kits? Well that’s what you have pro evo for, this is FIFA and everything has a license to it, even that one guy in the stands selling peanuts 😉 (Yeah John, see I didn’t forget your mention). Because of these licenses each year the developers at EA sports have to go back out there and make new negotiations with clubs, brands and players and this all costs money. Before there was DLC and updates via the internet we the gamers would either move around our players as we needed and in the case of PC gamers we had tons of kit, player, graphic and mechanical mods that allowed us to enjoy the sport without having to buy the next official update for a few years. These mods are still available and being made by a few communities, but most of us just don’t care to put in a little effort or time to search for such things when spending $60 can get us most of what we want.
2: herd mentality
Human beings are pack animals, we always have been and it did not changed after we left our caves or huts (some of us may still live in huts and to that I say awesome). What does having pack mentality have to do with FIFA? Well think about it for a sec. When the last FIFA game came out you had to get it right? Cool yeah but then there are some of you that were still playing the previous game and were contented with it, right? So what made you jump ship and shell out that $60 admission fee? Well Billy your friend from India had the new game and he was now playing only that and not the old game, then there was your buddy Hamid from long island who had also jumped ship. You see where I am going with this now? Maybe half of the people that got the new game got it because the friends that they played the previous title with got it and so if they wanted to continue paying with their friends they too had to get it.
3: The trailers
Video game trailers share one thing in common with movie trailers. That is that the trailer is more often than not better than the actual game it’s based on and FIFA games are no different. To be honest FIFA games are some of the most notorious for having trailers that sell you on a dream product. I think the only years that the trailers looked almost the same as the game were FIFA 07 and 09.
Every other year is a lie and you know it EA. This year’s trailer is so painfully a lie that I skip it every time it comes on because I can’t suffer the pain. (Up stand the PS4 and Xbox one owners) Yes, yes I know the next gen versions look like the trailers, but how is it so hard to make the current gen titles look like the trailers too? But Q the current gen games don’t have enough power to look that good. Oh really now? Look at last of us, uncharted, Forza 4 and Halo 4 and then tell me that nonsense. But you they are not Sports game the amount of players on the screen and fans would require way more processing power. PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 14………….. Oh so you’re silent now huh? Well I’m right that’s why. FIFA has Pro Evo beat in the branding and controls departments but Pro Evo beats them in more ways that would be more noticeable if they had more official licenses. Don’t even get me started on EA’s excuse for not porting the ignite engine to the current gen or insultingly the PC. If Fox engine can run on my mid-range PC with full graphic settings at 60 fps then there is no excuse.
Ok so now most fans of the FIFA franchise probably hate me, wrong. I have realized from discussions on raptr and forums that people are not satisfied by the current status of the FIFA franchise as they should be. I for one as a huge fan of the real sport and the games think that EA milks the fans for a game that they can just do an update for via DLC between engines.
So I’ve been a bit negative about the games but in the end I am a fan of them, and yes I too am a part of the problem as I buy them year after year. Most recently for the ultimate team mode that I have been addicted to for a few months now. It is a mode that allows the player to buy and sell players as though they are trading cards and then use them to play a fantasy style version of the sport. You can build a team with Benzema and Terry Henry in front while having Sanchez on the wing (I actually have a team like that). Ultimate team is one of the main reasons FIFA has the edge on Pro Evolution soccer. It gives the player a new formula that encourages multiplayer and social play. All while giving them reasons to keep playing the same game for 12 months after the release. Sure campaign, be a pro and manager modes do that as well and a mode like this can be easily cheaply replicated by manually moving the players you want to a created club and playing them together, but that would lose the charm that drives the FUT.
With all its missed opportunities and stupid marketing excuses FIFA is still one of the best sport replications of the sport of Football (soccer). It can be better but with EA at the reigns I don’t think that will be happening anytime soon. All we can do is sit cross our fingers and hope that Pro Evo gets more licences, embraces the FUT formula and in so doing put the squeeze on their competition so that we the gamers can benefit from better games and not just cheap updates with a full price tag each year.