Kick Off At Your Own (Virtual) Football Game

Get into the spirit of the international football phenomenon and be a champion in your own football video game

Issue: Jun 2014

With the FIFA14 video game, you won’t just have to cheer on the sidelines, you can play in the big leagues, too
With the FIFA14 video game, you won’t just have to cheer on the sidelines, you can play in the big leagues, too
Photo credit: Gamesmartz

If FIFA World Cup 2014 has inspired you to rock it like Ronaldo, swerve like Suarez, or move like Messi but your real talents aren’t quite up to scratch, fret not. You can always be a virtual virtuoso and live out your football dream through electronic soccer games.

As the world gathers to see who will take home the golden trophy next, we help you join in the frenzy by reviewing some football games that let you become the king of your own pitch.

2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

Platform: Xbox, PlayStation 3

Price: S$69.90 (Xbox and PlayStation 3)

About the game: This is the official video game for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, letting you be any world-class team or player (choose to play with any of the 203 official national teams and nearly 7,500 players) in football’s most watched and coveted competition.

Special features: World Class Control introduces a new control system with fresh mechanics – Response Dribbling and Pinpoint Passing. The former lets you turn quickly at any angle and still maintain control of the ball. The latter has new animations and improvements that result in more responsive passes and a more precise experience with the ball.

Over-the-Back Headers lets you jump well over your opponent to win the ball. For the defense, this mechanism lets you jump over the attacker to clear the ball to safety.

Part of the excitement of the World Cup comes from the fact that matches can turn on penalties. New Penalty Kicks includes mechanics and animation that bring to life the intensity of the penalties. You can also use Goalkeeper Antics to get your Keeper to distract the kick-taker with various moves.

One of the most exciting features of this game is the online Story of the Finals mode which sets up games for you to play as they actually happen at this World Cup.

Realism Quotient: The creators of the game, EA Sports, partnered adidas to bring gamers adidas Ball Physics. Using data collected by adidas’ Innovation Lab, the ball movements have been refined till they react as they would in real life. This includes true-to-life flight, grass friction and moisture that can affect the way the ball moves.

There are 15 hours of game commentary by Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend and the duo is so spot-on with what is happening in the game, it is uncanny.

Care has also been taken to bring the World Cup atmosphere into your living room with new crowd scenes complete with banners, flags, and seat cards. For added authenticity, you can view live shots from over 15 different locations worldwide. Add to this the incredible details put in to replicate both the inside and the outside of the 12 World Cup stadiums and you could just as well be in the Brazil for real.

Difficulty Level: For the trainee, there is a new beginner difficulty level, in-mode training, and simplified two-button controls lead to make the game user-friendly.

Verdict: This is the game to get this season to complete your World Cup experience.

1/2

FIFA 14

FIFA 14
Photo credit: Gamemartz

Platform: Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, Wii, Nintendo 3Ds, Microsoft Windows, iOS, Andoid, Windows Phone 8

Price: S$69 (Xbox and PlayStation)

S$59 (Wii)

S$54.90 (PlayStation Portable)

About the game: This football simulation game lets you play as different football clubs, national teams, and even players in various stadiums.

Special features: Two new gameplay features have been added to make every shot and every goal feel real. Pure Shot lets you feel what it is like to connect with the perfect strike (combining perfect timing, anticipation, and great positioning) while Real Ball Physics will ensure the trajectory of the ball mimics real life. Biomechanics of real footballers are recreated in Precision Movement, letting players speed up and slowdown more dynamically so momentum becomes another factor to consider. New run types have been introduced as well so that players can create more goal-scoring opportunities by making more space and distancing themselves from defenders.

In addition, FIFA 14 lets you customise your squad to play any style of football with the all-new FUT (FIFA Ultimate Team) Chemistry Styles. For the first time in FUT, you can also customise your squad’s kit numbers and set-piece takers directly from the squad screen.

There are over 60 stadiums you can play in, including 32 real-world ones. New additions to look out for include La Bombonera in Buenos Aires, Barcelona’s Camp Nou, and England’s first purpose-built football stadium.

Realism Quotient: How the players run, accelerate, decelerate, pivot, kick, and basically move have been improved as has the way the ball moves to reflect real-world dynamics.

Difficulty Level: With more realism comes greater difficulty. Some FIFA 13 veterans say that they cannot maintain their game with this upgraded version. If you enjoy planning your match with pre-game strategies and formations, FIFA 14 will challenge. If you prefer gameplay, it might frustrate you a little.

Verdict: For fans who love football beyond the thrill of the once-in-four-years experience, this is the game.

FIFA Street

FIFA Street
Photo credit: Gamemartz

Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable

Price: S$54 (Xbox and PlayStation)

About the game: Also known as FIFA Street 2012 and FIFA Street 4, this is the street soccer experience brought to the small screen. Play as real-life street soccer stars or football stalwarts or create yourself in the game, you can compete anywhere, from the streets of Amsterdam to the beaches of Rio de Janeiro.

Special features: The brand new Attack Dribbling System delivers an increased arsenal of dribbling moves and skills compared to FIFA 12 FIFA Street 3.

Realism Quotient: Pick from real life players from 3,000 teams, both national and club, found in the world’s biggest leagues. When you pick an arena, the game tries to reflect the style of football played in that country.

The animation is good but not outstanding. While there is an attempt to recreate the atmosphere of real street soccer, the lack of details does take away some of the realism.

There is no live commentary. Instead, you hear the players calling out to each other, sometimes in accents incongruent with their nationality.

Difficulty Level: Those used to regular football games might have to adjust to the smaller pitch, shorter passes, and greater reliance on close control. On the plus side, the matches are shorter so the gratification is more immediate. There are also fewer controls to master, making it easier to play.

Verdict: Beginners can enjoy a virtual game without being intimated by complex controls. For veterans, this provides a nice variation to full-blown games.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2014

Pro Evolution Soccer 2014
Photo credit: Gamemartz

Platform: Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Price: S$39.90 (PlayStation)

About the game: Also known as PES 2014, this game lets you play the different leagues including UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup, UEFA Europa League, AFC Champions League, Argentine Primera Division, and Chilean Primera Division.

Special features: PES 2014 uses an all-new engine, Fox Engine, that is a cross-platform game engine designed for the next generation of video games. This has allowed quite a measure of rework in the game for greater excitement and variety.

TrueBall Tech transforms how the ball moves and how players manipulate it, making the player’s move look more natural. The improved system also allows for closer control making it possible to kick the ball ahead while sprinting.

Along with this is the Motion Animation Stability System (MASS) that allow for dynamic interactions between players that factor in speed and orientation at the moment of contact.

Combination Play is a big tactical innovation. It lets you assign specific plays to key areas of the pitch, creating space for manoeuvres.

Realism Quotient: Thanks to the new engine, the game is visually stunning: the players look tremendously life-like right down to the skin texture, the kits remarkably detailed with close attention to the fabric, and the crowds realistically alive, complete with banners and reaction to the ebb and flow of each game. The animation is also super smooth, mimicking the skills and awareness of the world’s greatest players.

Difficulty Level: The more complex ball control may make it a challenge to play at first. But practise your passes and you will be fine.

Verdict: There will always be die-hard PES 2014 fans who say it feels more like real football. But truth be told, many still prefer FIFA 14 for its gameplay, handling, and overall fun factor.

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