EA SPORTS 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil – Review

Title   EA SPORTS 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
Developer  EA Canada
Publisher  EA Sports
Platform  PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Genre  Sports
Release Date  April 17, 2014

I wonder if I could get away with pasting my previous FIFA review in place of this one? I’d make some minor changes, just for the illusion of it being a new review, but I’d ultimately just be rehashing the same thing and I’d probably get away with it too. After all, that’s what EA have done with the clumsily-titled EA SPORTS 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil.

I don’t have to tell you this, of course. If you’ve dabbled with FIFA in the last few years, you’ll be well aware that each year’s update is really just the same game but with tweaks to the speed, the shooting, and some of the animations. It’s to be expected, given that EA have been perfectly simulating the sport of football since their last truly groundbreaking game, Euro 2008.

Moaning about it, however, is pointless. This is just how sport game franchises work. You’re paying for updated kits and squads half the time. Sure, it irks me because back on the PS2 you’d just download an options file and that’d update everything for you, but things aren’t going to change now given how well these things sell.

So what you get is the latest version of the most realistic and polished football simulation that has ever existed. On the pitch everything is a product of years of minor tweakage and it plays as good as you’d expect. The quality of the animation, the AI, and controls are spot on. It’s a tad slower than usual, the same as FIFA 14 was, and the players have slightly looser control which adds a little to the realism but the fact is that I can still pick up the game for the first time and play it exactly the way I played FIFA 14 with literally no adjustment.

Where FIFA games usually concentrate on the club sides, these major-event side releases focus on the national teams and so you are getting less of a game here. There’s no league, cup, or Champions League to worry about. There’s also no transfers or management, and that means no Ultimate Team either. Yep, EA’s cash-grabbing football Pokemon mode is skipped, which is great because Ultimate Team is a complete and utter cunt of a mode anyway.

Instead you get all the pageantry of the “greatest football tournament in the world” which means that there are plenty of cutscenes before and after matches. From excited crowds in the stands to behatted dickheads in pubs, EA SPORTS 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil (I was going to shorten that but it’s amusingly annoying to say the whole thing) does a great job of capturing the atmosphere of the World Cup itself.

A nice touch is that you can skip the ever-annoying EA Trax soundtrack and switch to a radio-style broadcast by some actual talk radio hosts which helps to build the atmosphere, but ultimately none of it really means anything. I’ve been playing FIFA games since FIFA Road to World Cup ’98 and so I’ve seen all this before and I’m going to skip every cutscene anyway, generally. Now I didn’t do that for the purposes of this review but I actually pressed ‘A’ once too often when I finally won the World Cup and it skipped all the celebrations. It’s that easy to avoid.

When it comes to modes, this is very stripped down. You get the obvious ‘World Cup’ mode or you can go for the longer version which includes the qualifying campaign. You also get the ‘Captain Your Country’ mode which is your standard ‘Be A Pro’ type action set across a qualifying campaign. This mode is quite good fun as you use friendlies and training sessions to impress the manager and work your way into the team for qualifiers and the tournament itself. It lacks the depth of the system they use in FIFA games where your stats improve based on specific things you do on the pitch but it still works.

That’s it for the offline modes. Of course there are online tournaments if you fancy exposing your sanity to the absolute fuckpigs that tend to play FIFA games online or you can stick to private matches, not that you’ll know many people that will own this. You see, the problem is that while you are getting a very stripped down FIFA title here, it still costs as much as the main games. Once the camera is on the pitch, everything outside of the white lines (including the stadia themselves) ceases to exist and that’s the sad truth of it.

Usually I say that if you own last year’s FIFA, you don’t need to own this year’s version and that’s truer here. In fact, you haven’t really needed to own any version since FIFA 09 and that’s not going to change with this title. £42 for this version or a quid or two for a just-as-good old version. That choice is up to you.

  • As ever, EA still deliver consistently excellent football action on the pitch.
  • Does a good job of capturing the World Cup atmosphere and will no doubt be a more exciting game to play during the month the real tournament is on.
  • No club sides and fewer modes than the usual FIFA games.
  • None of the pageantry really matters after you've seen it once.
  • Building up your pro is less sophisticated than usual.
  • Fundamentally the same game as any recent FIFA.
  • Pretty pricey for a stripped down FIFA game which could easily have been DLC for the last one.

Another international tournament gives EA a reason to dig out the code for FIFA, add a new menu, burn it to disc and package it as a new game. You literally have no reason to own this. FIFA 14 is the same game with more depth and is probably a bit cheaper and there was probably no reason to buy that version either. On the pitch it's as good as ever but it's no better there either. A polished, but pointless, football game.

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