We are only two short weeks away from the start of the 2014 World Cup hosted by Brazil. Whilst the country gets all excited with flags flying high and BBQ’s ready to be lit with copious amounts of beer in fridges the length and breadth of the country, EA has yet again used the World Cup as inspiration for releasing the Official Video game of the tournament, ‘2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil’. Those who may have been enjoying Fifa 14 may wish to jump from playing Club football into the mayhem that is the International game but is it worth forking out more money for a full retail release game just to join in the buzz of the World Cup?
The first thing that hits you with ‘2014 Fifa World Cup Brazil’ is the branding it gets from being the official game of the World Cup Tournament. All bright colours and Brazilian Samba menu music try to envelope you to embrace the spirit of Brazil. It is quite a contrast from the rather clinical look of FIFA 14’s menu layout and background but the menu system is still the same and game modes accessed in the same way. The game features 203 national teams which means 7,349 players, with 21 national stadium as 12 are the official stadiums in Brazil that will host the world cup matches. They have even gone as far as to include 19 fully licensed managers, yes that is right, 19!
The following game modes make up what this title release offers players:
- Road to the FIFA World Cup – The most immersive tournament mode in EA SPORTS FIFA history. Choose from any of the 203 National Teams sanctioned by FIFA and play with up to 32 players locally through the qualifying rounds, and proceed on to the group stage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil.
- Road to Rio de Janeiro – Compete online with any of the 203 National Teams and progress across a map of Brazil’s 12 host cities. Win the final and hoist the FIFA World Cup Trophy at Estadio do Maracana in Rio.
- Captain your Country – The popular FIFA game mode returns. Work your way through the squad list and lead your country through qualifying and to FIFA World Cup glory.
- Story of Qualifying – Over 60 real scenarios taken directly from 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying. Relive, recreate and/or change the outcome of some the best matches.
Road to The Fifa World Cup is an offline mode which allows players to pick one of the 203 national teams and take all the way back to the qualifying stages tasking you with earning a place in the World Cup tournament and then trying to win it. Along with friendly matches and training days where you will complete mini games in order to increase the stats of your national team. This is a long mode to work your way through with plenty of matches as you work your way up to the tournament itself and then work through the group stages and then final aiming to win the world cup.
Captain your Country is an offline career mode which allows you to pick anyone of the 7,349 players in the game or create your own, and endeavour to work your way from no body to national star an hoping to earn that famous Captain’s arm band and lead your national side to winning the world cup. You will have to beat rivals to be noticed enough to progress in your career, out performing them in matches and outscoring them in practice challenges.
Road to Rio de Janerio is an online mode where you pick a national team and starting off at the first of the 12 official World Cup Stadiums, Amazonia, you challenge other players online in matches. Winning a match will see you promoted to the next stadium. Lose the match and you are relegated down a stadium. The aim is to win all 12 Stadiums and then win the World Cup itself. Online World Cup recreates the later stages of the tournament by challenging online players and the first four matches serve as the group stages. Win the group by having the most points, and your next match will be against another player who won their group games as a Qtr final. Continuing winning to complete semi finals and then face off in the final itself to win the World Cup. Fail to get enough points or being knocked out in the later ‘finals’ will mean having to start a new tournament and repeat. Both game modes follow the same principle of aiming to win online matches in order to proceed.
Story of Qualifying is a challenge mode. Focusing on the events that lead to the finals in Brazil, you will be asked to recreate an event that happened during the qualifying stages or change the result of a match depending on the challenge. It could be having to win the game when down to ten men and only three minutes of the match left. This mode is a great way to show what it takes to earn a place in the World Cup finals and see the more dramatic moments outside of whichever national team a player may follow and again is something that FIFA 14 used as weekly challenges.
The enhancements to the gameplay itself come in the form of new animations for celebrations, penalty saving and the presentation of the matches. Each match begins with the National anthems of both teams playing before kick off, well more of a sample of the anthems. During the match, fans will be shown in the stadium wearing scarves and shirts of the teams playing and when goals are scored there will even be cut away scenes showing fans celebrating as they watch the game on a TV. For the offline modes ‘Captain your Country’ and ‘Road to Fifa World Cup’, there is the addition of EA Sports Talk Radio. You are giving the choice of either Andy Goldstein and Ian Dark or Men in Blazers hosts Michael Davies and Roger Bennett. Whomever you choose, they will give you pre-recorded information on matches taken place during those modes. Over 50 hours of audio was recorded of this addition, and depending on how you are doing in the mode, what you hear is tailored around making it a more personal experience. It is a nice touch to change from just having information via text on-screen so keeps the pace and the flow of the gameplay balanced rather than having to stop and read all the information before moving on.
Essentially, ‘2014 Fifa World Cup Brazil’ is a whole bunch of game types taken out of Fifa 14 and repackaged with a world cup theme and over the top use of the World Cup branding in its presentation. The menu layout is the same as Fifa 14, the game play, all be it in with some new celebrations and some improvements is almost identical and feels the same as Fifa 14’s gameplay. I was not a fan of the gameplay in Fifa 14 and the same cheap tactics such as the over head chip forward pass which leaves defenders standing still and the over use and ease of simply crossing into the box for cheap headers is still present in ‘2014 Fifa World Cup Brazil’.
The modes above are really just re-skinned modes from FIFA 14 but with the World Cup branding but do little to justify the cost of a whole new game and I feel could as easily have been made as DLC much as with Fifa 12 and the Euro 2012 tournament was added as DLC rather than as a full retail release. The additional presentation to the matches become more of a nuisance then adding anything to the experience, especially online which basically had both myself and the player I was facing skipping each time the game broke away from the action. Some of the animation of the crowds celebrating or complaining following a goal really needed more thought with generic looking people wearing baseball caps and sunglasses even if it was match played at night and some of the outfits worn by female supporters are questionable in what they actually add to the experience.
For me, there is not enough to justify a full retail price for this game. Whilst it goes to great length to bring the World Cup spirit to the experience, it would make more sense if this was DLC for Fifa 14 and at a reduced price to make it more acceptable than the blatant cash cow this release is. It is modes taken out of Fifa 14 with a new desktop theme and asking people to pay full RRP for that is not something I can justify to people to go out and spend. If you really want to have the same world cup experience, I would suggest waiting till the tournament in real life is over and the price of this game will drop quickly and picked up on the cheap. With Fifa 15 only months away from release, this is a game that can only appeal to die-hard World Cup fans which is no doubt the very reason for its existence as a full retail release and not the DLC it quite frankly should have been.
Thanks to Xbox UK for providing the copy of ‘2014 Fifa World Cup Brazil’ to ThisIsXbox.com
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