When I reviewed FIFA 14, I found it a great addition to the stellar franchise. Every four years, during the World Cup, EA Sports releases a special edition of the game that focuses on international teams and their quest to win the Cup. This year is no different and with the better than ever FIFA 14 as a base, 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil is set up to be a major success. Thanks to Betfair, we got to review the game and while it doesn’t reach the heights that were expected, it gives a good showing nonetheless.
Each World Cup game has special graphical themes based on the designs of the international tournament. With Brazil as the host nation, the game’s menu screens are spalshed with yellow, blue, and green with designs that look like jungle foliage. As individual games load, you are shown a stylized mock-up of the arena you’ll be playing in with it’s name; every one of the 12 World Cup stadiums is faithfully recreated from the Estádio Beira-Rio in Porto Allegre to the world famous Maracanã in Rio. Occasionally, as your players score a goal or foul the opponent, the camera will switch over to the coach shouting instructions on the sideline or a public viewing of the game in a major city from your country like Berlin, Buenos Aires, or Amsterdam. The character models aren’t the best looking things in the world and their movements are very stuttered, but for as infrequent as they show up, it isn’t a huge problem.
Perhaps the first thing you notice when you actually start a match is how simplified the controls are compared to the already streamlined controls of FIFA 14. However, this doesn’t work as well as EA Sports might have thought. The controls suffer from being too limited compared to its big brother and feel exceedingly floaty; which is most evident in the passing game. You’ll get extremely frustrated when you find your passes either going wide of your teammate or getting picked off by defenders because they lack speed. Luckily, first touch control of the ball remains sharp so if you can get the ball where you want it to go, you can make the necessary moves to advance the ball. One of the complaints I had with FIFA 14 is how clueless defenders seemed to be off set pieces. FIFA World Cup Brazil fixed this problem and now you’ll have to struggle and fight for position in the box.
World Cup features the same varied game modes that have been around in the last few FIFA games. You can take control of a country and guide them through the two year qualification process to make the Cup, or you can play as the captain of a country’s team and lead them on the pitch. If you’d rather just play as one of the teams that qualified for the tournament, you have that option as well.
One of my favorite additions is EA Sports Talk Radio which plays from time to time during campaign modes and features Andy Goldstein, Ian Darke and “The Men in Blazers”, Michael Davies and Roger Bennett. Like any other sports talk radio, the banter is mostly meaningless, but fun to listen to regardless. While this doesn’t add much to the gameplay, it’s a nice little touch to immerse you the World Cup atmosphere.
Overall, it’s hard to recommend this game over the much more in-depth FIFA 14, except to those huge fans of international play. However, with the recent popularity surge, especially in the US, 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil is the perfect way to keep that futbol fever burning a while longer while waiting the four long years before the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
[+As usual, the stylized menu system looks great][+You can choose from an insane amount of countries][+EA Sports Talk Radio][+Improved defensive AI during set peices][+Fun fan views from time to time][-Controls oversimplified and floaty][-Character models look pretty bad]