“ Genre: Sports / Video Game for Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows XP / ESRB Rating: Everyone / Release Date: 2013-09-27 / Published by Electronic Arts „
"OK, so your team rosters and 13/14' kits are up to date! That'll be £55 please..
Oh and don't forget to pick up an online pass for £20 ;)"
Origin: Both kinds
Oh how I pity the parents guilted into buying this piece of yearly dross. Anyone savvy in gaming circles will be well aware of EA (Electronic Arts - FIFA 14's publisher) and their business practices. The yearly update of an indefinite franchise is something us mere peasant could only wish to think of. Alas, the mega-conglomerate got its mitts on the idea first and have churned out a mixed bag of casual, friday night gaming and lack-lustre, cashgrabs. Available on all consoles (PS4, Xbone, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, Even PS2 (delicious Milk!)) and let's not forget EA's very own PC appstore 'Origin'. "How much is a digital copy of the game, without the case, manual, a disc, manufacturing, delivery charges?" THE SAME.
FIFA's audience? - Millions of frustrated football fans all wishing to suppress the withdrawal symptoms for the lack of Fußball.
Why the mass conscription-like hype? - No other game, can legally, boast official player/team imagery. So it's safe to say that there is no real threat to their video gaming football crown - Sorry Pro Evolution Soccer.
Why so expensive? - The previous reason withheld, because they can charge what they like: Despite the fact that 1. there is minimal change/improvement to gameplay and 2... well that's it really... Plus, it would be far too easy for me to say that EA are evil...
Co-op Seasons! That's right, you and your full RRP paying friends can now play the game mode that the majority didn't care about in the first place! Basically, this lets you play online seasons mode but with the choice to let your friend help out. It's basically a way to charge for online co-op.
13/14' Kits! Oh yeah, that colour you like is now looking sharper than ever with its new advertising sponsor adorned all over it! It's at this stage that I'd like to point out how easy and honest it would be to release a DLC of this sort of thing to gamers, rather than get them to dish out more and more for the same game wrapped up in this seasons fashion.
Up to date team rosters! Hoo boy, now you can save 10 minutes and let us assign the current players to your squad! Which ever player's had a good season will also get a boost to their stats as well as a slight enhancement to their appearance - instead of a half-assed default one.
Scouting! Sure the older games also had scouts for youth squads, but 14's scouts mean you can no longer search for players based on overall skill! So now you have to actually have some knowledge of up and coming players if you are to make a wise decision in the transfer market (that or make a wild guess as to whom EA deem to be a good player).
I'm slightly ashamed to say that I have played EA's football games since F.A Premier league stars 2001 so please don't assume I'm against the sport in any way. Without arrogance, I've played the games, I know what's changed - very little. Irrelevant news stories, unrealistic player emotions and demands. However, what is really jarring is the removal of what made the game fun to play. You can no longer tackle the referee, you can no longer dive, you can adjust 'sliders' to effectively cheat the game, you can create custom players with an overall score of 99. Regardless, the core of this game is as predictable and boring as ever. The opposition continue the same tactics they've always used. Hoof the ball into the box from every set piece. There is also a blatant 'momentum engine' which has been present for years (an official algorithm was published online), which means the computer 'forces' goals whenever it desires - be it via unavoidable handballs, loss of player control or down right cheating.
Oh dear God the music..
The only time your can guarantee a fair game. When you play against a friend - locally that is, you can't trust EA's servers' network connections. Team up against the AI however and you'll get the same ol' BS happening all over again - despicable referee calls, blind linesmen, delusional handballs and 6 month injures, to your players only. The best aspect of this game can be mutilated into an insult. What's more, the online play is costly, with an online pass necessary for one years worth of gaming and 'coins' to fuel the addiction of 'ultimate team' the gimmick that essentially gets people to spend real money in order to acquire virtual players for their online teams.
Difference between Xbox 360/PS3 and Xbox One/PS4 Versions
The truth is, there is no difference, not really. Graphical capabilities aside, the games feature no more, no less content and bare the same achievements. It is for all the negatives mentioned, that I personally insist on waiting for a massive price drop before purchasing these games - £55 is unfathomable, at least, for this.
The honorable thing to do would be to release yearly digital content at half the price instead of dressing it up as a 'new' game... That or take an additional year out to make a game properly!