FIFA 14 draws ever closer. Although EA Canada is yet to confirm an official release date, the publisher recently released a gameplay trailer showcasing the title's new features.
Before I rabbit on, take a look at the video below. Not so eagle-eyed watchers will spot Gareth Bale curling a ball off the crossbar, Mario Balotelli scoring a wondrous shot from the outside of his boot and Marco Reus nose-planting into the turf. Without further adieu, here's the trailer:
All of EA Sports' marketing terms may spruce the promotion campaign up, but how does the company define FIFA 14 from its predecessors? Let's break it down.
Protect the Ball
One of FIFA 14's most important changes allows defensive players to overcome the threat of pace. While consistent sprinters can no longer prosper due to quickly-diminishing fatigue levels, strength is now an ample combatant against speed.
Subtle changes in the way each player's body can be used makes this possible. As gameplay producer Kantcho Doskov told to me during a recent hands-on for VG247, slowing down and using strength is key for dribblers who don't possess Lionel Messi's relentless control.
You can be a team full of 90-rated pace players, but if their dribbling attributes are low, even lower than 80s or 70s, you’re going to notice the effect of error.
So it’s not going to be perfect like a player such as Messi, whose got 90+ dribbling and will be able to sprint at full pace while keeping close control. A player like Theo Walcott won’t be able to do that. You won’t be able to just build a team full of pace players and expect to be as effective as you were last year because the ball will get away.
As such, protecting the ball is an important ingredient for maintaining possession in vital areas.
Certain aspects of FIFA 13 have been exploited across a year's worth of play. Most frustratingly, coming up against ridiculous pace in the online arena often leaves players in danger of having to buy a new controller. EA Canada understands FIFA 13's defensive intelligence fails to compete with its sharp attacking instincts, as recalled by Doskov on VG247:
The main feature we’ve had feedback on [from FIFA 13], even amongst ourselves, is the defensive AI. We’ve made a lot of improvements to the AI and the offensive runs that were made last year, as unfortunately, the defensive AI couldn’t always handle that.
They would stop tracking their mark or would pass them onto another defender, but that defender would stick with their mark. Things like this would lead to players breaking through on goal and being unmarked, leading to a lot of goals the community would call ‘sweaty goals.’ Your defender didn’t track back as well as he should have.
Better throw away the towels; it seems "sweaty goals" could be no more. Whether or not the community finds a way to overcome the precision movement of defenders throughout the year remains to be seen. Considering your AI-controlled teammates can think two steps ahead of play, this wouldn't be surprising.
Real Ball Physics
As summed up via the "Pure Shot" section of the trailer, EA Canada want players to feel rewarded when scoring goals. Your team can now stride away from last-minute challenges, adjust their stance to create goalscoring opportunities and shoot when off balance.
The trajectory of the ball has been designed to increase realism. Low shots can be drilled with accuracy and power, while long shots will feel right when you've spanked a corker. The ball will squirm, dip and curl just like their real-world designs. Let's hope the Jabulani isn't included.
Expect to see plenty of FIFA 14 coverage on Bleacher Report in the near future. As we head towards a new virtual season, what are you hoping for from the upcoming game? Let me know in the comments section below and be sure follow me on Twitter: