GAME REVIEW: 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

Ahead of this summer’s footballing action in Brazil, Betfair have sent us over a copy of the new official FIFA videogame to review.

FIFA 14 saw the popular footie game debut to the Next Gen consoles with a lot of style. I own FIFA 14 on the PS4 and the enhanced game physics, graphics, side-line and crowd animation definitely increase the atmosphere, realism and overall enjoyment of the game. Strangely FIFA World Cup Brazil though launched over 6 months after FIFA 14 is only available on the last gen consoles Xbox 360 and PS3 and not on Xbox One, PS4 or PC. The game maintains many of the elements that makes its next gen sibling the best football game out there but its missing some of the new additions and player A.I that came out on PS4 and Xbox One versions of FIFA 14, although I assume some of these omissions were not possible due to the technology limitation.

 FIFA World Cup Brazil 1

 

OK so let’s get some official game info out the way. 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil contains all of the 203 national teams that took part in the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification process as well as all 12 official host city stadiums and an additional 11 stadiums. Multiple improvements and innovations have been made to the gameplay including 100 new player and side-line animations and newly rendered crowds.  An all new player movement system, ball control and physics have been added. Dribbling and passing have been refined to all players to turn at every angle, make pinpoint passes and be more responsive to what’s happening around them. What I like about the game is the emphasis on attacking which makes the game more fun and less frustrating as shooting and scoring seems a little easier even on harder difficulties but without making the game too one-sided. I was able on several occasions to score great goals worthy of the World Cup finals. This does though highlights a lack of AI with defenders and overall defending.

One of the key elements of any FIFA game is the television broadcast style presentation that makes players and even those watching them play feel like they are experiencing what they love watching on TV as well as playing in the park.  From the players in the tunnel to match facts, from the crowds to frantic managers on the side-line, FIFA World Cup Brazil feels like the grand spectacle that a World Cup is. There is an energetic atmosphere and nice little touches like the camera switching to show fans celebrating in front of a big screen back in the country of the scoring team. The games soundtrack adds to the carnival feel with a lot Brazilian-themed music and as well as more contemporary artists such as Tinie Tempah and Switchfoot.

 

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Game Modes. As well as the expected exhibition games, FIFA World Cup Brazil campaign modes are: Road to the FIFA World Cup which allows players to choose any of the 203 country teams and then play through the entire qualification period for their federation in an aim to qualify for the finals. Road to Rio de Janeiro allows players to compete in an online tournament across the 12 world cup venues. Players are given 10 matches to earn enough points to advanced to the next venue with the ultimate goal being making it to the Maracana. Story of Qualifying allows players to play over 60 real world scenarios that happened during the actually 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying stages.

My favourite mode is definitely Captain Your Country where I was able to create my own player (an attacking midfielder, wearing number 7) and then play as just that player only controlling him during games. The aim it to work your way up the squad list and gain enough points and star power to be eventually named captain of your chosen country and lead them in the World Cup Finals. A mode I am looking forward to playing is Story of the Finals. This mode is actually only available during the World Cup itself. Updated daily through the finals, it will allow gamers to play challenges based on the day’s events so I am look forward to playing the inevitable England losing on a penalty shoot-out. Additional Modes include 2014 FIFA World Cup, Kick Off, Skill Games, Online Friendlies, EA SPORTS Football Club. Sadly the addictive Ultimate Team mode from FIFA 14 isn’t included.

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Commentary has always been a strong point of FIFA games compared to the competition and that strength continues here. The game campaign modes feature 2 radio station style commentary in EA Sports Talk Radio, featuring game-related commentary by Andy Goldstein, Ian Darke and “The Men in Blazers” Michael Davies and Roger Bennett. Football fans like myself will be very familiar with these commentators and this adds to the realism of playing the game. If you play for a few hours then you will eventually start to get a sense of deja vu but overall the commentary feels realistic and natural to the gameplay.

A surprising addictive feature of the game is the skills challenge and training session. Players are able to train before each game using either via a pre-selected Adidas micoach training programme or a self-chosen programme. The training sessions allows you to build on the attributes of your individual players and areas of the team such as defence, midfield and attack. Scores are given for the sessions which you can compare to other players on your friends list and I found myself replaying sessions multiple time to get my score up or to complete a challenge more for my own satisfaction than the fact it improved the ability of my squad. Skills sessions can also be accessed as a standalone mode.

 

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Final thoughts With FIFA 14 making the leap to the PS4 and Xbox One, it’s a surprise that 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil did not make the same leap and is only available on Xbox 360 and PS3. The power of the current gen consoles would have added an additional element to the game and taken it from being a good game to a great one.  When compared FIFA 14 the graphics and animations of crowds, players and coaches really show their age but all that aside, FIFA World Cup Brazil is still a fun and addictive game if not quite as realistic a sim as the current gen FIFA 14. With the various modes and game options, there is more than enough content to justify it as  stand alone game that does not feel like an expansion or something that should have been a DLC for FIFA 14. Saying that if you already own FIFA 14 on any system and in particularl on the PS4 or Xbox One then you will have to be a die hard fan to also want to add this to your collection.

Score 7/10

Reviewer: Amaechi Oduah

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