So, with FIFA 13 heading towards the exit door and FIFA 14 slowly appearing on the horizon, its time to have a look back at the last year of awesome goals, annoying controls, iffy AI and controller smashing annoyance. FIFA 13 was probably the strongest FIFA game to date but even then it got blood-curdlingly frustrating at time. So what major differences would we like to see in the next instalment? I've taken a few minutes to comprise a short list of what I would like to see.
A few honourable mentions before I begin because I either didn't think of them before I started writing or I didn't feel they were as important. I'd like a better physics engine as players are constantly tripping over each other just by brushing past or falling over a piece of paper someone left on the field. I would also like to see a Road to the World Cup style mini game, which you can get to a point in FIFA 13, except that it's called the World Championships and just doesn't feel like the World Cup.
I'd like to have a bit more freedom in the Player Career mode. It would be nice to be able to buy things with your salary, appearing on shows, do news conferences and interviews. And while they're at it, they could make the goalkeeper mode less boring as well.
1) LESS SCRIPTING
Scripting is a bit of a myth in FIFA. There are people who swear it happens just about every time and others who say it's all down to the fitness levels of your players etc. If you don't know what scripting is, it's FIFA lingo for a goal, or game that you can't prevent or win. For example, if your winning 2-1 in the 90th minute and suddenly it feels like your players are crap, you can't manage to get the ball and the opponents run straight to your goal and score, that is scripting.
I'm not sure I truly believe that this happens, but you can't deny that the amount of 90 minute goals scored both by the AI and the player is an absolute joke. You hardly ever see last minute goals in the premier league and yet you will be scoring them every game or so in FIFA. So, I would like to see less of it. Conceding a goal gets even more frustrating when it feels like there's nothing I could have done about it.
2) BETTER FINESSE SHOTS
Again, for those who don't know what this is, a finesse shot is choosing placement over power. In FIFA 12, they were overpowered. If you used one you were almost certain to score assuming you were within scoring distance and didn't blast it over. However, in FIFA 13, they nerfed them to buggery. This wouldn't be a bad thing if they didn't do it so haphazardly. They've turned them from all powerful shots into the equivalent of a five years old's shooting.
So some kind of balance would be nice. To not score ever single shot, but not miss ever single one.
3) LESS PACE WHORING
In FIFA 13 all your team needs is pace. If you have a fast squad you will be just about unbeatable. Sure there are other stats that make it easier, such as having high stamina, but generally as long as your fast you're going to win. The way the AI has your players making runs effectively means a well time chipped through pass over the top will leave the defenders eating dust, so as long as you don't choke when you get one on one, you're going to score.
Defenders are generally slow, but strong whereas attackers are fast and weak. This is supposed to balance out as centre backs can muscle forwards off the ball, but they can't get anywhere near them in the first place. I would like to be able to employ a better tactic than 'run past the opponent' in FIFA 14.
4) OFFICIAL CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LICENCE
Any football fan knows that the Champions League is the biggest tournament in club football so it makes absolutely no sense that the official football game of the FA isn't actually allowed to call the tournament the 'Champions League' using the much more generic 'Champions Cup'. I think having the official name and logos will add to the atmosphere of career mode more than just about anything else.
Also, a small nit pick, but I would like for them to have the correct match orders in the Champions Cup as well. They don't seem to understand how the fixtures are set during the group stage which annoys me more than it should.
5) BETTER PLAYER FACES AND STADIUMS
Marouane Fellaini is the face that really annoys me in this game. He is a really good player attracting interest from all the good clubs, but his face just looks like crap in the game. It looks like EA grabbed the postman that morning, stuck an afro on him and tried to pass him off as Fellaini. It's not enough just to use the players name, I want to actually feel like I am controlling the official players not their uglier twin brothers.
As for the stadiums, there are a couple in FIFA 13 such as the Etihad and these ones are by far the best. The generic stadiums just don't feel right for some reason. Any small boys dream is to play at Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge or the Emirates, but, as an Everton fan, I have always wanted to play at Goodison Park. Unfortunately, there is no sign of it in FIFA 13.
As I said, I believe FIFA 13 is the strongest in the long line of football games, but it is no where near perfect. Polish the game play, fix a few issues and generally tart it up and I believe FIFA 14 could be the defining football game.