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on September 25, 2013
I have been a big fan of the FIFA series dating back to FIFA 10. I buy the game every year and have played thousands of matches over the last several years. Every year the game is fundamentally the same with a few minor differences. Sometimes the changes are for the better and sometimes they're for the worse. This year is pretty typical in that regard. There are some great new features and some shockingly bad ones. Here's quick breakdown of some of the game modes and some of the changes:

- Shot physics have been altered. Now the ball will dip and knuckle more than in previous FIFA games. This seems like it will improve the variety of goals you can score, yet many of the same flaws remain. The finesse shot (curling shot) is still very overpowered. Meanwhile, goalies are still way too good at making quick reflex saves on powerful shots at short range. What that all adds up to is that the finesse shot is still your go-to bread and butter shot in all 1-on-1 situations, so the variety that the developers aimed for wasn't totally achieved.

- Player movement has been altered. More specifically, players have a greater sense of momentum. It is harder to start and stop instantly. Sharp cuts and 180 degree shifts in direction will be more gradual. Some reviewers have praised this as being more realistic than the last few FIFA games, where sometimes it felt like you were steering a race car instead of an athlete. I agree that this change is more realistic, but is it more FUN? I don't think so. The slower movement gives the whole experience a less responsive feeling, which can be very frustrating. Many times you will spot an opening for your player and try to weave into that space, but the slow change of direction will result in him being tackled before he can react. The overall result here is that defense feels overpowered whereas attacking play has been nerfed. One of my favorite things in the game was to pull of crisp skill moves and slaloming runs with speedy players, but now I'm finding the game a bit muddy and slow. It might be more realistic, but it is a lot less fun than FIFA 10-13.

- AI has been upgraded. Computer players will have smarter movement on offense and defense. The good news here is that your computer teammates will be smarter about making runs so you pick them out with a pass. However, the CPU is still far too mechanical and tidy on higher difficulties. They will psychically sense your incoming tackle and change directions at the last moment to avoid you. The whole experience of playing against the computer can be very frustrating due to the lack of random variance and error. Even world class players make bad touches and mistakes in real life, but the CPU in FIFA plays like a machine. I much prefer to play against human players because there is more variety. It's also worth pointing out that many of the same AI flaws that have existed in the game for YEARS are still glaring. For example, defenders are absolutely horrible at making aerial challenges for the ball. So many times when a cross is whipped in, they will just stand flat-footed and let the attacker spike it right over them. In general, players lack awareness of the ball and aren't aggressive enough when it is near them. Many times the ball will squirt loose into space and your players will take steps away from it instead of trying to pounce like they would in real life. These minor AI flaws can really hinder the enjoyment of the game.

- Ultimate Team is back and better than ever. If you don't know what Ultimate Team is, it's a game mode that allows you to collect and trade players in order to build your "ultimate team." However, even though the game mode bills itself as Ultimate Team, there is a chemistry system in place that effectively prevents you from linking players in your lineup unless they play in the same league or have the same nationality. This really limits your creativity and prevents you from building your actual ultimate team. For example, you can't link Ibrahimovic with Cristiano Ronaldo and get full chemistry because they don't share a common league or nationality. Putting that aside, there are a number of nice new features in Ultimate Team this year. There are more leagues in the game than last year, including the Colombian league. The interface and player search feature have greatly been improved. Single online matches have returned after shockingly being left out last season, but now they can't end in a draw like they could in FIFA 12. If you are drawing after 90 minutes, you have to play extra time and go to penalties. Annoying because single matches are supposed to be more casual and not so win-at-all-costs like the tournaments and seasons.

My two favorite new features in Ultimate Team are the new chemistry styles and the removal of formation cards from the game. In previous FUT games, you had to convert your players to the correct formation every time you wanted to experiment with a new formation. Now all players get full chemistry from all formations, so there is much more room to experiment without having to invest a lot of coins in formation cards. The new chemistry styles add a layer of customization to the game by allowing you to apply chemistry styles cards to your players that boost specific traits. For example, you could use a chemistry style to increase a defender's heading and defending. Or you could use a different chemistry style to increase an attacking midfielders passing and dribbling.

Also, it's worth pointing out that while Ultimate Team is technically free, the game is designed to push you towards the pack store, where EA makes a lot of money off people spending points on packs in hopes of finding valuable players. I strongly discourage you from spending real money on Ultimate Team, as the players you get in packs are rarely worth much and your odds of getting someone like Ronaldo or Messi are INCREDIBLY low. It is basically a lottery ticket and not a good value at all. You are always better off saving coins and buying player direct.

- Career mode, skill games, and virtual clubs are back from last year. Clubs allow you to create a virtual pro for use in club games with your friends or with strangers, and to gradually build up his stats by fulfilling various achievements. For example, scoring 25 goals might improve his shooting stats. You can keep this player throughout your entire time using FIFA 14 and it is fun to gradually build him up. The only major drawback is that EA inexplicably ruined the drop-in match game mode by capping the former 11v11 player limit at 5v5 and removing the "ANY" option, which means that if you go into a drop-in match (a virtual pro match where you and strangers play a game using your virtual pro), over half of the players on the field will be controlled by the computer. It used to be that you could go full 11v11 or have one player designated as the "ANY" in smaller games to control all of the computer players. Drop-in games will be incredibly tedious and boring without the any feature, so I will not be playing them this year.

- The EA Sports Football Club that they introduced with FIFA 12 has once again carried over to the new game. With this feature, you'll gradually accumulate currency within the game just by playing FIFA 14. You can then use these points to unlock nice bonuses such as free Ultimate Team coins, extra kits, new celebrations, and extra boots for your players. This is a nice feature that provides another incentive system within the game.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: FIFA 14 brings a lot of new bells and whistles compared to the last few releases in the series, but the gameplay has taken a step backward. Although it might be more realistic than ever, the game is also slower and more methodical than ever. This is especially apparent in Ultimate Team, where lightning-paced high scoring games of years past have morphed into a more sluggish and frustrating experience. There was one stretch of games last night where my opponents and I combined for one goal in six full halves of play. This is the first time in the last five years that I have felt bored with FIFA so early in the release, so I have to consider this version a step back overall despite the aforementioned improvements. Realism is nice, but not if it comes at the expense of fun. So far, this FIFA just isn't that fun to play.
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on October 2, 2013
I've been playing FIFA religiously since 2006. Here are some of the major gameplay changes that I noticed from FIFA '13:

Smaller Field/ Slower Gameplay - The game play has been slowed down quite a bit, and you find yourself operating in close-quarters a lot. The field feels a lot smaller which is more realistic. However, it seems like it is easier to sit back and play defensively which is not much fun for me.

Catching Passes/First Touch - All players can catch passes and trap the ball more easily than in '13. I liked that it was harder in '13 because it took more skill on the behalf of the player. You couldn't run full speed with a Center Back and catch a pass in stride - you would have to slow down and trap the ball before continuing your run. Now it seems that everyone catches passes without losing the ball as much.

Finesse Shot - In '13, I found the "right-bounce", finesse shot to be almost useless. It was easier to just slide the ball along the ground past the keeper. In '14, this shot has made a comeback. This is a return to prior years, which I like. It takes more time to line this shot up, so you should be rewarded for being able to execute it.

Player Size/Strength - In '14, you can really utilize a player's strength and size. In '13, it seems that speed and dribbling were all that mattered. Now you can muscle people away from the ball and use your height to catch passes from the air (hopefully Messi can no longer wrestle air balls away from Center Backs while jumping!). I like this, however, it seems that it is much easier to score now on headers and corners. There is nothing more frustrating than when you trap your opponent outside the box and he tries a desperation cross only to score a header. Goals off of corners are also really weak, and I even feel bad when I convert on them. I'll take a win any way I can get it, but it is so much more satisfying when you actually beat your opponent and score.

Overall - These are my first impressions. With any new FIFA it takes time to adjust. I am biased towards the negative because I excelled at '13 right away. '14 does not really cater to my style of play. That being said, I will still play it every day until '15 comes out.

UPDATE: After playing this game for 2 months, I have become very frustrated with it. I may even switch to Madden or NHL until FIFA '15. The conversion rate on headers and corners is much too high. Over half of the goals online are scored on these plays. In FIFA '13 I could convert on 5-10% of corners. In '14 it is seriously around 40%. With Gareth Bale delivering on corners, my player gets his head on it 90% of the time. Every game on Xbox Live is Real Madrid vs. Real Madrid. Kick the ball upfield to Ronaldo or run down the sideline and cross it in. If you don't score on the cross, you'll convert on the corner. I do not enjoy this style of play at all, but it is so effective what else can I do? I could play my old style and lose every game. Finesse shots from outside the box are also much more effective. You can win your games without ever getting a direct shot from inside the box.
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on December 11, 2013
I was so psyched for this game to come out. It's a good game, and the minor tweaks they made here and there are great but there is still much to be worked on. One of the main flaws I found about this game is the AI. They are STUPID. I have yet to mess with the sliders in the game but on FIFA 13 I didnt have to mess with anything except for upping the difficulty. My guys are constantly getting caught offsides, and not in a "oh ok I can see, he made that run too early." kind of way. No, I will be in the box get a shot blocked and play goes back the other way, I'll intercept it and make a long pass to a player that is onsides and if it goes past him I get called for offsides. The replay will show that there was a player still by the box and I get called for it because he is the "closest player" This wouldn't be such a bad thing if it only happened occasionally but it happens ALL THE DAMN TIME. At least 3 times a game...at least.
Other than that, the game is still pretty solid. I mostly a career mode kind of guy and although the menus and features have changed a little bit, its still pretty much the same as last year. The menu is a little confusing and takes some getting used to but eventually it all gets figured out.
The mini modes are back and there are a lot more of them, which is good. Although I wish you could switch to the old arena mode from fifa 12 when you could play 1v1 with a friend. but thats minor.
Ultimate Team is back, though I havent messed around with it too much, but I like what I've seen so far.
This game is still a must buy despite its flaws, if you love football, then you'll love FIFA 14
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on September 21, 2015
This game is a blast. If you love soccer as much s I do but am only a casual gamer and not willing to spend $50 on latest game this one will suffice. In this year Real Madrid and Bayern were the top teams followed by FCB, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United. To players of course were Ronaldo, Messi, Ibrahimovic, Mueller, Götze, Hazard, Rooney. Not too much different form today.
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on January 17, 2014
There are many bugs such as the blowing of the whistle for half/game when the defending team takes possession of the ball in their own box. You don't always have to advance it back near midfield. Players just let soft passes bounce off them sometimes. Goalies too often just stand there and let a ball fly right by 'em. But none of those are as big as the one glaring omission that ruins this game for me.

NO 2v2 WITH FRIENDS. You can play 2 friends vs. a random stranger, or 1v1 with friends, but you can't just invite 2 or 3 friends to a session and play 2v1 and 2v2 with people you know. This is called NOT KNOWING YOUR CUSTOMER, and there's no excuse for it. I know I wont even consider FIFA 15 unless this feature is in there.

If you purchased this game to play with multiple friends, save your money and stick w/ 13. I personally think 13 was more fun anyways.
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on July 30, 2014
My son absolutely loves the game and I amazed at how realistic-looking the graphics are. Definitely a fun game to play after all the excitement of the World Cup earlier this summer. Would keep him occupied for hours if I let it, which I won't to his disappointment.
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on December 31, 2013
In terms of shipping, delivery, etc. Amazon was spot on.

However, I am disappointed with the game itself due to 4 reasons:

1. Squads not Updated: The game came out a few weeks after the transfer window closed, but big name signings are missing from the game, such as "Ozil to Arsenal" and "Bale to Real Madrid". The problem this creates is that people who do not have an internet connection cannot play the "Official" Career Mode with the proper squads in place.

2. Overpowered Headers: FIFA was quite balanced in the last few years but this year they screwed it up completely. The game is not balanced anymore since headers are so overpowered now.

3. Loss of Balance: This goes in with my previous point, which is, due to the overpowered headers, almost every player I play against now rushes to the wings and keeps crossing in the ball towards big players such as Zlatan, Negredo, Cristiano, etc.
Very few players actually play through the middle anymore.
This is ruined the beauty and balance of the game since "tika-taka" or "passing build up play" is not rewarded anymore in this game. I am the type of player who likes to play tika taka and this game is essentially ruined for me.

4. FIFA 14 for current gen consoles was intentionally made bad: EA made FIFA 14 much better for the next gen consoles (XBOX One, PS4) where they fixed the problems mentioned above. However, the patch that they released for FIFA 14 current generation consoles (PS3, XBOX 360) did not fix the issue of overpowered headers much at all. People still overload the game with crosses and it sucks playing like this.
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on January 2, 2014
Well let me say that it's not the best ever FIFA, it has it's side of glitches and online play is laggy. But it's better than Pes that's for sure. Career mode is fun to me. But the thing that bothers me is the defense of the opponents team clearly sucks, I made 13 goals in a row! If only EA would fix these problems then it would make it a better game. Overall it's not that bad. Oh and the soundtrack is okay. I liked FIFA 13's soundtrack better though.
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on April 20, 2016
My kids love soccer, and they LOVE this game. During cold Oregon rains, they play soccer inside on the Xbox 360. It sounds like a herd of elk are running through the house, but it keeps them active and they have fun.
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on October 2, 2013
Dear FIFA when we said we want a realistic game - we meant more leagues, better commentators, better celebration of trophies, maybe add world club cup, more physical contact, a much better career mode and more. Instead I got a career where I can get fired if I cussed out the referee. They need revolutionized FIFA game because since 2010 there's not much of new but proving the image of players and make them more realistic. I don't care how good they look, I care how good they can play! If you are going to improve visual then improve then add more amazing stadiums, make the fans be part of the team and can we for once see the coach or the bench? is there's a way we can take a better look at trophy or at least have better celebration ceremony instead of the same fireworks. Also we need more league and please remove the Saudi league because it sucks. If you are going to add middle eastern or African leagues then you can start with big leagues like the Egyptians where they have one of the best team in Africa like Ahly or the Moroccan league where they have one of the best derby in the world Wydad vs Raja. Speaking of leagues let make it more realistic because I never seen Barca winning La Liga by winning almost every game or by big different of 25 points or CR scoring more 50 goals in la liga. Let talk about the matches - I like the physical change and how the players can grab each other and the referee will let the game play but when you have a player from segunda league beating CR for speed then there's a problem. Because of that the case then just remove all the rating for the players. Now the career mode - So if I win treble with Fc Barcelona and I want to coach AC Milan I can't because I'm not that good. But if I don't want to coach Fc Barcelona anymore I can't unless if I forfeit like 3-4 important games. I still don't understand why there's no option to quit coaching a specific team?!! It just take the fun of the whole career mode. Also why the schedule is making the team play 2 games in 2 days. There's a lot space and things that need improvement but instead they are focusing how to make Neymar's hair looks real. I do still enjoy the game. But we need to move forward with better career mode, better match and more better fun of the game. Forget making it realistic leave that to PES and bring back the fun of the true and the amazing FIFA!
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