The World Cup clock is ticking, and fans all over the planet are gearing up for a month-long TV marathon by, well, sitting in front of the TV playing EA Sport’s latest instalment in the FIFA series. So how does it compare to previous FIFA games, and how realistic is it this time around?
Game v Reality
The beauty of the FIFA games has always been that if your team gets ejected from a tournament in real life, you can immediately replay the offending match and keep doing so until your guys win. Bear that in mind when the Finals start on 12th June! You can download a free World Cup schedule from Sportsinteraction in the mean time.
Design and Gameplay
Real teams, real stadiums and increasingly convincing-looking players are now the norm, along with commentary that gets more uncannily lifelike with each release. World Cup Brazil is no different in that regard, but how much of a leap forward is it for gamers who have already paid for FIFA 14?
The overall design, including the menus, is very Brazilian, meaning green and yellow absolutely everywhere, though the actual layout of menus will be familiar to FIFA 14 players. The physics of the game has also changed little; it feels a little quicker at times, but it’s not as different as some of the previous tournament versions have been to their predecessors.
This may be because of market issues; the World Cup games these days sell a lot of units to people who don’t buy the regular versions, so using the tournament games to bring in a lot of new features may be a thing of the past.
The accuracy in terms of the real-life finals is, as you’d expect, excellent. All the Brazilian host stadiums are represented faithfully, and the crowds of various nations are featured in varying moods, both at the games and at big-screen locations elsewhere.
As always a truckload of new commentary has been recorded, with World Cup-specific facts and figures, and pro TV commentators selected for each territory. The usual tournament game problem – there aren’t enough actual games to play, even if you win the Cup – is solved this time by having qualification modes, in which you can play against any of the over 200 nations who attempted to get to the last 32. Older players will remember Road To World Cup 98, which created an entire release out of this mode.
The overall verdict is that it’s a highly polished game with a decent World Cup atmosphere and excellent playability; those who’ve recently bought the previous version may want to test it out in-store first though.