FIFA 14 - First Impressions

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by Lord Hamsa, Sep 24, 2013.

  1. Lord Hamsa macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2013
    As many will now be aware, FIFA 14 was released in the US last night as a "free-to-play" app. I downloaded and have logged a little playtime, enough to get a feel for what the game has to offer, and what it lacks unless you buy the IAP upgrade.

    Oh yeah, quick detour. To cut off the "OMG, IAP!!!" comments, note that this is not a typical freemium "paywall" type of game (well, ultimate team mode might be, but that's not new to FIFA 14). The most important IAP is a one-time unlock of some of the games' play modes. More on that later.

    The first time you start up, it jumps straight into a tutorial (except that I believe it prompted me to download latest rosters first). Go with the defaults listed, or pick any league, any club, and the computer will match you up with an appropriate opponent. I chose Chelsea, and was the home side v. Arsenal, if I remember correctly. The AI difficulty on the tutorial is "easy", which is just as well, what with getting used to the new gesture-based controls. The game prompts you to use certain gestures to get used to how to move, pass, shoot, and defend with them. I won 1-0, and really had no defensive worries at all, but controlling the offense will take some getting used to.

    The basics of the gestures on offense are tap to pass (either directly to a teammate, or to a spot on the field), press and hold a player and then drag to direct where they go (otherwise, they move according to their AI), and swipe to shoot. This will take some getting used to. My passing worked fine, on the whole, though I still need to figure out how to vary the pace of a pass; most of my passes were fairly weak and slow, compared to what I'm used to from FIFA 13. I also have a tendency to want to swipe to pass, which frequently resulted in premature shots or booming the ball out of play. Controlling swipe speed is also critical to shooting - faster and longer swipes generate more power at the cost of accuracy.

    On defense, you can tap to switch defenders or let the automatic switching take over. Double-tap an opponent to press him, swipe to slide tackle. I haven't had to use any goalie controls yet - the one shot I've actually faced in four games was off a free kick and the wall blocked it (swipe up).

    If you don't like the new gestures, the virtual joystick and keypad is available as an option.

    I also played penalty shootout mode, which is about as identical to FIFA 13 as possible, with the exception that they've removed the timing gauge for keepers and the shape of your swipe seems to have more control on movement than before.

    I entered ultimate team mode briefly. This starts with a pair of practice games, and then presumably gives you your starting cards (with a squad much less advanced than the practice ones, I'm sure). I was off network at the time, so it couldn't make the transaction to actually give me the cards. Of course, this is where the real onerous IAP is going to be, in buying card packs and the like. But this appears to be much the same as FIFA 13, and is, in theory, supposed to work across platforms.

    I played one match in "Games of the Week", which appears to take six real matches from different parts of the world for the upcoming weekend (though I did get one listed as Oct 19) and let you play against the AI as either team in the matchup. My Chelsea side cruised to an easy 2-0 win vs. Cardiff City. Again, we're still on "easy" mode, though.

    The free features also includes online multiplayer. I haven't tried it out yet.

    No real comments on sounds or commentary quality yet. Note that the download does not include commentary by default. You can download specific-language commentary within the app (for free), but be aware of this if you have data caps to worry about. I didn't pre-load anything, and am off network, so no commentary for me until I get back to WiFi.

    So, what's missing from the free features? Well, unlike Madden 25, you don't have to level up or earn (or buy) coins to unlock plays in a playbook, or skills, or upgrades, etc. The upgrade IAP simply unlocks 3 game modes as a one-time purchase:

    1) Quick match vs. AI
    2) Manager ("career") mode
    3) Tournament mode

    All three modes are unlocked as a group. The IAP price is $4.99 (US), but I expect EA to occasionally discount it, as they have somewhat frequent sales.

    Now, manager mode is my favorite way to play, ever since I started the series with FIFA 12. So FIFA 14 won't feel like a "complete" game to me without it. But is it a fully-functional game as a freebie? Yes, it's quite playable, if a bit limited in the variety it offers against the AI. If you don't want to choose specific sides against the AI or play in manager mode, you'll never need the expansion.
  2. musicjunky macrumors regular

    Sep 20, 2013
    Good to hear it's not IAPed to death like the absurd Madden 25.
  3. apollo1444 macrumors 65816

    Jul 22, 2011
    the new controllers blow, way too gimmicky! glad I could switch to the FIFA 13 scheme
  4. Lord Hamsa, Sep 25, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013

    Lord Hamsa thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2013
    I'm not convinced about the gesture-based controls yet either way, to be honest.

    What I like about them is that I get a more "organic" football experience using them. I have to focus a lot more on gradually building up an attack, positioning, and moving the ball around. With the older-style control, it feels more "arcade" like, where I can speed-run around and sometimes through the defense and work on setting up breakaways or long crosses. The more I play with the gesture system, the more reliable I'm getting with it.

    On the other hand, I think the gesture system needs a fair bit of tweaking. I should be able to swipe to pass, and let the context of the swipe determine if it is a pass or a shot; it can already do this to some extent, as a defensive clearance is treated as a long pass if there's a teammate in the area, so they just need to expand it to the offensive end - if I swipe toward a teammate or an open space, treat it as a pass with the pace set by the speed and distance of the swipe (and try to bend it in the direction of the swipe if not straight). Conversely, if I swipe toward the goal area, treat it as a shot. Then, I can tap to move, rather than "tap and hold player until you see the white circle, then drag to move", which is error-prone and unintuitive, though I suppose that would still be useful for positioning guys who are off the ball.

    I also dislike the "tap and hold anywhere" to sprint. It often doesn't work at all, you can't change the sprint direction, and half the time when I lift my finger, it treats it as a swipe and blasts the ball in that direction.

    In my few attempts to use it, I also don't see the two-finger swipe gesture to change from balanced to/from defensive or attacking posture. I miss that, because even though I don't use it often, it's real handy when I do want it.
  5. 0xyMoron macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2012
    New controller sucks, luckily legacy mode is there to save the day.
    I like the new feature that allows you to save your squad for online mode, i've demanded this over and over at EA forums.
    (I don't own an Apple TV, yet)
    Does anyone know if FIFA 14 is capable of mirroring from my iPhone 5?
    I miss playing FIFA on my iPad, the iphone 5 screen is too tiny in comparison.
  6. rjkgr macrumors regular

    Aug 15, 2013
    it was not as good as 360 but it was okay i mean i love futbol and watching it and playing it
  7. gotluck macrumors 603


    Dec 8, 2011
    East Central Florida
  8. springsup macrumors 65816


    Feb 14, 2013
    I don't play Ultimate Team; don't understand how it works but it's chock-full of IAPs so I don't care.

    New controls stink. Good luck playing anything other than beginner with them. I keep dragging my guy forward but he just shoots. I thought I could hold somewhere to make him sprint there but he just sprints forwards from where he's facing. Total nightmare.

    Other than that, it's FIFA 13 with new graphics in the menus (not new menus - they all work exactly the same, just different pictures).

    They haven't even updated the commentary with new phrases or player names. Player appearances and graphics haven't changed.

    I mean, WTF is up with Soldado's moustache? It's like they just guessed what he might look like.

    If you have FIFA 13, don't buy this.
  9. technowar macrumors 6502

    Apr 1, 2011
    Cebu, Philippines
    One quick question, how do I buy the iAp? I mean, I'm from the Philippines, and my iTunes country is US. I haven't tried it yet. By the way, I do have a CC that is not US-based, will this work?

    P.S. I don't want to download the game from iTunes Philippines.
  10. Carlanga macrumors 604


    Nov 5, 2009
    If they make the IAP for $1 I will get it.

    Already have FIFA for my Vita, PSP Go and PS3 so in no hurry to get a freemium version of it.
  11. new-to-mac macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2012

    thanks Lord Hamsa, this was a nice objective review
  12. Lord Hamsa, Sep 30, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2013

    Lord Hamsa thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2013
    So far, I had been limiting myself to the new control system, but for comparative purposes, I tried out the "classic" controls.

    HOLY ****!!!!!

    What a huge difference to the gesture-based version! Not just in the controls themselves, but in the pace of the game and style of play. On my 4S, "classic" was much faster than FIFA 13 - everything was quicker and a bit more frenetic. Being familiar with the control scheme, I was, of course, having a very easy time with everything except timing.

    Edited to add: And I mean everything is different when switching control schemes: the visuals, the speed of the game, even the AI seems to be different.

    I'd say that the two control schemes are different enough that FIFA 14 is pretty much two games in one - the "classic controls" give you an arcade-style soccer game and the gesture-based controls give you a more realistic (and frustrating) simulator.

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