It's safe to say that the World Cup represents the pinnacle of sporting achievement. Not only is it watched by a rather huge worldwide audience that no other sport can even get close to rivalling, it also warrants the release of an independent video game, in addition to its already yearly release. Yes, the World Cup is a big deal and EA Sports has attempted to replicate that by releasing the official game for the World Cup that looks to highlight how far the franchise has come since the last tie-in for the World Cup in South Africa.
With the game featuring all 203 national teams that took part in the rather exhaustive qualification process, it's safe to say that no matter where you are playing this game, you will be able to find an allegiance somewhere. It's for this reason that EA decided to opt to release the game only on the PS3 and Xbox 360, as these consoles have the most global support to ensure they could realise their vision, and get enough people to play it.
There are numerous modes featured as part of the package, but they will all be rather familiar to either general FIFA fans, or those who played the 2010 FIFA World Cup game. The main difference this time around is that the Road to the FIFA World Cup mode can be enjoyed by anyone wishing to play as a team outside the UEFA and CONMEBOL regions.
By selecting this mode or "Story of Qualifying" you will be able to choose to replicate the real-world qualifying schedule or rewrite things entirely and generate a new script. Each has its perks; on the one hand you can show international managers just how it should be done while on the other you can end up with a very different final landscape.
In addition to this, you also have the classic "Captain Your Country", "Story of the Finals" and the "Online FIFA World Cup", but these modes were all present in the 2010 edition. It means that aside from opening up the main campaign mode to different regions, the level of deviation from what was offered four years ago remains quite small. Perhaps EA felt they hit the nail on the head last time, but it does feel a little bit stale as the modes themselves are very similar throughout too.
This is highlight quite well in the Captain Your Country mode. Here, not much has changed, but even throughout the campaign things start to get rather tedious. You are tasked with increasing your player's standing by performing well on the pitch. You are also tasked with improving their skills through drills "“ drills which offer almost no variety and serve no real purpose.
Ignoring modes, it's the quality of the gameplay that shines through. Using many of the gameplay improvements featured in FIFA 14, the World Cup game sees improved dribbling mechanics, better accuracy in the passing and the new first-touch mechanics.
FIFA has been at the top of the footballing game for a few years now and it's easy to see why. There is of course, still room for improvement when it comes to realism, but the passage of play and feel is there for all to see. Having a focus on the international scene makes it all so much more personal too as you are stuck with the resources you're given.
There is nothing quite like stringing together a load of one-touch passes that started off with your goal keeper, only to go all the way through to scoring the perfect goal. It's even sweeter when playing on the harder difficulties or online, when the opposition can be so well organised defensively that everything hangs on a knife edge.
As with the gameplay, visuals in 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil are rather akin to those found in FIFA 14. The same can also be said for the animations, which while great, don't appear to have been improved all that much. The main difference comes with the pre-match fun and games and the introduction of a bit more spice from TalkSport. These do help to add a bit more atmosphere, but with TalkSport in particular, it's quite easy to not even hear the full segment as they get cut-off once you're finished with the specific task.
2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil is a strong game and it represents itself well in preparation for the big spectacle by featuring all the major improvements from FIFA 14 and a wide range of modes. There just isn't that much that differentiates it from either the mainstay FIFA experience or even the last World Cup game back in 2010. There is a place for a game like this, but more effort needs to be made to allow it to stand out on its own.
|Captaining your country to the World Cup.|
|Gameplay is as solid as ever.|
|There are 203 countries to play as.|
|Modes can get quite stale.|
|Not all that different from the 2010 edition.|
|Drills aren't as inspired as they have been in previous games.|