COMMENTARY | The tradition of gamers and football supporters buying and then complaining about the recent FIFA franchise title continues with FIFA 14. This isn't to say that any perceived flaws in the game are imagined or overstated. My biggest problem less than one week after grabbing the XBox 360 version of FIFA 14 is that, outside of Ultimate Team, I don't find it all that fun to play.
3 things I hate about FIFA 14: Pace, anyone?
The default game play in FIFA 14 is sooooooo slooooooowwww. Not methodical. Just plain slow. "It feels as if no player in the game has any pace or explosion," one friend stated when discussing the game. Footballers are sluggish, as if running through quicksand, to the point that I find FIFA 14 nearly impossible to enjoy without at least changing game speed to Fast.
It's been many years since I felt that I absolutely had to tinker with sliders in order to get the best out of a sports title. NFL 2k5 is the first that comes to mind. I've played nearly three dozen full games in FIFA 14, and I cannot recall a single counterattack started by the computer.
3 things I hate about FIFA 14: The AI is dumb
There is zero doubt in my mind that the AI in FIFA 14 is the worst of the current generation era, perhaps as bad as I've seen since FIFA 10. This is especially true on Legendary mode. Players hold possession forever without doing anything, teammates bump into each other and cut off attacking runs, and I've lost count of the amount of goal scoring opportunities I created thanks to defenders allowing me to take possession of the ball with ease.
Virtual Pro mode in particular is nearly unplayable on Legendary unless your created character is on a top-tier team. This has nothing to do with difficulty. The games are just boring, filled with back passes and an absurd amount of holdup play that ultimately results in a forward leading the team in completed tackles. I've never before in any football simulation witnessed so many scoreless draws. With FIFA 14, EA has achieved something new: Make me yearn for Pro Evolution Soccer.
3 things I hate about FIFA 14: Physics
The EA impact engine has long been a source of unintentional humor (search "FIFA Funnies" for examples). I'd believe anybody who told me that someone was trying to create somewhat of a parody of the sport when putting together some of the animations I've witnessed. Players that don't have a high strength rating seem to lose their footing at the first hint of adversity, almost to the point where I'm left wondering if FIFA added diving to the game without notifying anybody.
Instead of what is "in the game being in the game," FIFA 14 matches largely feature players who stumble over each other in the midfield and guys seemingly looking to make contact with anything. It makes for an overall clunky gaming experience. Changing sliders should somewhat help this, but doing so shouldn't be a must for me to enjoy playing.
FIFA 14 feels like a game that wasn't ready for release, almost like a glorified demo. Ultimate Team is the only aspect that truly feels like a finished product. There's plenty I like about the game, but I can't say that I would recommend it to somebody who doesn't buy the latest version of the franchise every September.
Zac has been covering the USMNT, Holland, Tottenham Hotspur, New York Red Bulls, Major League Soccer and other soccer leagues for Yahoo Sports since 2010.
- Sports & Recreation