The first details of Fifa 14 have recently been unveiled to further help replicate the beautiful game. First of all we hope they tighten up all the issues with Fifa 13 that we discussed in a previous article What’s wrong with Fifa 13?
Build Up Play
To kick things off (pun intended) defending has been tightened up with defenders marking much closer to free players than they have done in previous titles. This also includes anticipating attackers movements and thinking of what they should be doing and going to do in order to stop attackers getting through. This is due to defenders no longer reacting to one frame of animation from the attacker but several. Meaning they will attempt to see what you’re trying to do much earlier.
In early Fifa titles players could only really run in straight lines whether it be left/right, up/down or at a forty-five degree angle. Then in Fifa 13 this was expanded upon so players could run more freely allowing for quick turns and precious dribbling. Now in Fifa 14 this has been taken a step further with the ability to turn in any direction at any angle eliminating the large turning circles from games past. The animations for these movements have also been re-developed with players visibly shifting their weight as they move and holding out their arms to maintain balance.
There’s little more exciting than seeing Bale or Mata beat a player with a clever bit of skill and EA have tried to replicate that here. They tried to do this with the introduction of Complete Dribbling and Skilled Dribbling in Fifa 13 but I’m not sure they made it clear enough to players on how to use this effectively. We knew it was something to do with L2, at least. Mazy runs and improved dribbling will help to recreate the magic and athleticism of the great players with simpler button configurations.
Before the release of the previous title we were told the AI had been tweaked and they no longer ran offside without thinking about their run. However, a great idea on paper it still didn’t turn out so well and occasionally players would still drift offside, frustrating gamers everywhere. Mimicking real life, strikers will now intelligently make dummy runs and drop off defenders in order to run behind them. The AI players will also make runs up the back line and then bend their run when the ball is played to take the ball in their stride and stay onside.
Protecting The Ball
In Fifa 13, shielding the ball required several button presses at the same time and could only be done when you were standing still. This made it a more advanced technique and wasn’t used very often when casual pick up and play gamers booted the game. Now, shielding the ball can be done at different speeds by just pressing one of the left shoulder buttons (or triggers). It becomes very much like a racing game in that you’re holding R2 (for example) to sprint, then when a defender is on you, you switch to L2 to slow down and then use our body to hold the ball up.
Always a key part to the game and arguably the most exciting part. The shooting has yet again been improved thanks to research into ball physics and the way the ball dips and swerves when real life players strike it. EA have also added different shot types such as the rising, driven shot that comes from sweetly striking the ball as it bounces. We’ve been promised that shooting has never felt this good and the early signs point to this being the case.
Shooting can happen quicker as well with players prepared to shoot after every stride and no longer need two or three touches before shooting which led to lost chances. Like previous titles however, if you try to shoot on the turn or when you’re being jostled by a defender then the resulting shot is unlikely to be very impressive.
This may sound like the game will be a bit more difficult with defenders closing down earlier and players being able to shield the ball at pace but we believe this will ultimately lead to each goal being that bit more satisfactory. Nobody can argue with trying to make the game more realistic and the better players (read, Messi and Ronaldo) will be able to do all these abilities with more effectiveness than the lesser players. For example, when sprinting Messi will keep the ball closer to his body and have more control whereas Alan Smith will knock the ball further in front of himself with a heavier touch. It’s when the player sprinting with the ball knocks it in front of himself the defender has the vital window to kick it away as no longer is the ball glued to the toes of the attacker.
Yes, Messi will be able to confuse defenders with his quick feet but he won’t be as effective at holding the ball up as somebody like Didier Drogba.
Fifa 14 will be released in September 2013 for PS3, PC and XBOX 360. No word on whether it will be available on next gen consoles but we will update this article when we hear more.