The next generation of gaming is here and with it, the world’s most popular sports franchise has a whole new version available for the PlayStation 4 gaming system. This new edition has vastly upgraded graphics, a new physics engine, living worlds environments, a new precision movement system and much more. Given that FIFA 14 was built with this next-gen system in mind, it plays wonderfully and genuinely feels like the next evolution for the popular franchise.
If you haven’t read it already, be sure to check out our exclusive in-person interview with FIFA 14 Producer Santiago Jamarillo back at E3.
FIFA 14 for PS4 has its share of features, new and old. First, the “Pro Instincts” feature allows all 22 players on the pitch to have their own A.I. and react appropriately to all of the play around them. Touted to play just like their world-class counterparts, Pro Instincts brings a new level of artificial intelligence to the game. Fueled by the EA Sports Ignite engine, this system features “Future Physics” technology and allows all players to analyze potential outcomes of events near their vicinity. All 22 players independently make these decisions, making for much more realistic reactions, contests and defending.
While the stadiums in the FIFA franchise over the last few years have felt, for the most part, pretty authentic, they have been given some new love in the PS4 edition. With the introduction of “Living Worlds” technology, the crowd will now behave and react appropriately at all times. This will allow for more dynamic and unique pre-match ceremonies, sidelines that react both in audio and video to the crowd around them, and a great sense of a crowd that truly understands what is happening.
The new Precision Movement feature is purported to have 10 times more animation depth and details to player models. Now, players plant, pivot, cut, shift direction and alter their momentum with a tremendous amount of sensitivity and accuracy. Players will show off new, unique step animations that blend with trapping the ball, and players will have to shift their bodies and weight as they run for true balance and movement as they play.
Another feature powered by EA Sports Ignite is the Elite Technique feature that brings hundreds of new skills and actions. Working off of the Precision Movement system, players are no longer limited to a handful of random passing animations. Players can now trap the ball for a full 180-degrees and can even use a fluid motion to run past the ball instead of the old system that forced a “touch-and-turn” to receive a pass. Another facet of the Elite Technique system are headers. Before, gamers basically saw one of their players and one of the opponent’s players contest for a ball that was largely pre-determined. Now, there are situations where three or even four players can simultaneously vie for the ball, as players can also adjust the power and angle of the header while in the air.
With all of the changes brought about by the EA Sports Ignite engine and the physics, there is a lot for FIFA players to adjust to while playing the game. Even on easier modes, no longer will players just blow by unsuspecting defenders to get a 1:1 opportunity against the keeper. No longer, thanks to the improved A.I., will players simply run a formulaic triangle pass play with a through ball to create an uncontested opportunity. The game truly has changed, perhaps to the chagrin of players that enjoy a more casual “football” experience, but to the point where experienced players will totally appreciate all the subtleties that add up to big changes. The gameplay of FIFA 14 on PS4 is excellent, and while gamers might feel that this new generation is a tad on the difficult side and requires a fair amount of mental and physical re-calibration to master, it’s well worth the effort as the gameplay experience has certainly be elevated.
To truly be appreciated and enjoyed, the camera must be changed from the default setting to “Dynamic” or at the very least, put at an angle where the players are seen for all their glory. Clearly, the graphics of the player models are fluid, dynamic and realistic. The graphics have a sharpness to them that simply did not exist on the prior generation and the crowd moves fluidly to provide an authentic FIFA experience. FIFA 14’s first attempt at tapping into the robust hardware of the next generation has to go down as one of the most impressive “new generation” titles of any sports franchise.
It has long been said that FIFA has the best audio in the sports gaming industry and that holds true in the PS4’s edition of FIFA 14. The soundtrack is impressive, but not anything new from the previous generation. The commentary is absolutely outstanding and relevant during all facets of a match, while the crowd genuinely reacts at the right time, as opposed to a collective sigh whenever there’s a strike at the goal. While the audio actually sounds about the same as it does on the previous generation’s version of this game, that does not mean it is anything other than spectacular.
FIFA 14 on PlayStation 4 delivers the goods and satisfies the incredible expectations set upon it by the gaming public. The game actually feels next generation with the new physics, graphics and artificial intelligence. It also plays markedly different than the same title plays on a PS3, and for the better, assuming gamers are longtime fans of the franchise. While there are certainly going to be a lot of growing pains for experienced gamers to basically make dramatic adjustments in hand-eye coordination as well as in-game strategy, FIFA 14 will deliver hundreds of hours of entertainment.