FIFA 14 Hands-On Preview

    The FIFA franchise has historically offered a great simulation of soccer on mobile. For the most part, the essential gameplay and feature modes tend to closely mirror its console brother. FIFA 13 was an elegant and satisfying soccer game we loved. Naturally, I was eager to see what an extra year can do for the best portable soccer game around. In FIFA 14, the series makes bold moves to rethink how soccer should be played on a portable device.

    Virtual joysticks and buttons typically elicit strong feelings on both sides of the coin. Some people really hate them, while others adapt and consider them legit. FIFA 14 is EA’s first attempt at truly designing a control scheme tailored for touch-screen devices. No more joysticks. No more buttons. No more pretending that a touchscreen can realistically mimic a real controller. Using a series of taps, swipes, and holds, everything in the game is executed in an intuitive, almost RTS-like manner like you’re a conductor firmly in control. For the traditionalists that resist change, fear not, legacy controls are still available under the options menu.

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    Overall, playing FIFA 14 with the new controls is promising. Flying around the field and setting up to attack the defense felt natural. There were times where my players didn’t always navigate the pitch how I gestured, but we’re being told the game is being tuned right now at the production studio. One element that was certainly tuned for the better is FIFA’s looks. Everything appears to be richer and more detailed this time around, and the game’s menus have a modern Windows Metro style that is very slick. FIFA 14 will also support foreign language commentary, so if you enjoy your announcers speaking French, Spanish, or even German, start getting hyped now.

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    EA was a bit mum on detailing new headline features outside of the new touch controls and languages, but generally speaking, everything from FIFA 13 will be brought back along with some unannounced surprises. If the past few years is any indication, you can expect more leagues, more teams, more arenas, and more expanded online environments.

    FIFA 14 is coming to every platform under the sun, and I look forward to seeing how the full package shapes up this September.

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