on 18 April 2014
Long story short - the only reason I am giving this 2 stars is because there is no other alternative for a good football (or soccer if you prefer) game on the PS4.
Now for the long(ish) story
I have played this game for well over 100 hours on the PS4 and before that played it on the PS3. Eagerly awaiting the PS4's release I was hoping for improved AI, graphics (though I don't care that much for those), and the continuation of the overall solidity of the game's versions on the PS3 and Xbox 360.
Alas, after a positive start where the game loads relatively quickly, and the graphics are good, this game turned out to be awful in contrast to what a reasonable person could expect from it.
EA have produced so many versions of this game now, how they struggle to get so many seemingly simple things even half right is a mystery to me.
I mainly play online seasons and occasionally career mode, or just against my mates, or with them against online players (more on this later...). I have only spent several hours on ultimate team
I will list the most irritating things instead of writing an essay - I will try to do it in order from the most frustrating one, however they all seem equally bad to me.
- Goalkeepers are retards. Tipping the ball over the bar when it can easily be caught. When the ball is very slowly rolling out for a corner, they could easily get to it... but instead tip toe on their line and let it go out. Another situation I have seen very often is a long ball coming to a goalkeeper for ages, instead of catching it they somehow dive and spill it out in front of them. Oh yeah, they ALWAYS dive. They just have to. Oh and when you pass it back to your keeper, when he can take a touch he will smash it outfield to the other team. When he is under pressure, he will take a large touch, get tackled, and you will concede. I have no words for the AI on goalkeepers.
- Defenders are retards. Positioning is dreadful. When a long ball is played through, if you click the pass button whilst running backwards, the defender somehow attempts a pathetic jump when the ball is 20 foot above him in the air going to the striker. Needless to say they lose momentum and get outpaced. This is literally laughable. A careful analysis of most goals shows that a lot of the time, when a ball is played in to the box, a defender will be running in the opposite direction (their reason for it? I am yet to find out). As I will explain later, 8/10 times you cross the ball onto your strikers head, he will score, as the defender does not even attempt to jump for it. I have had 6'4 defenders outjumped by 5'10 midgets.
- Midfielders are retards. Cross the ball into the box. The ball gets cleared, towards an opposition player, yet the midfielders are still running into the box despite the ball being behind them for a good 2-3 seconds already. Another thing I have noticed players from every formation do is have dreadful touches, or somehow managing to let the ball nutmeg them from a simple pass. This is Carlos Tevez from Juventus doing this, not your everyday Adam from League Two (no offence).
- Strikers, for the most part, are also retards. Same reasons as above. It sometimes genuinely feels like I am playing a disabled football simulator. I like situations where one of my players takes a weak shot, and the ball is very slowly rolling or bouncing across the goal. The goalkeeper is retarded so he does not pick it up like he should, but my striker could easily run onto it and tap it in, however instead he is just... stood there.
- Whilst on the subject of players being mentally challenged, what on earth have they done to throw ins? 9/10 times players mess about like blind people trying to find a ball. When they find one, you have to wait for ages for another player to clear a different ball from the pitch (why is it even there?). But it doesn't end there. If you want to throw the ball to a player close to you, once you throw it, he will start running forwards, and simply let it fly over him so that the opposition player can latch onto it and go forwards. I have actually scored from this against online opponents. It's ridiculous.
- Offsides. Put a nice long ball through, but as soon as it is played the referee makes an immediate decision that it was an offside. Fair play to the refs - no, actually, not fair play to them, I will explain this in the next point - but seriously, a lot of the time it is played to a different player who isn't even offside. Or, you can play a long ball, the player is offside but you don't use him to take part. The opposition gets the ball, and a good 5 seconds later you start pressuring them and the referee... gives an offside. This game doesn't even follow real life rules.
- Referees. Put a lovely slide tackle in, get the ball and none of the player, and it's a foul. A lot of the time it will be a yellow card as well - or a red for that matter. Put a leg-breaker tackle in, making the opponent fly, and either get a telling off, or have the ref wave play on - why not, let's be consistent. Oh and you cannot control when penalties are given against you. If an opposition player runs into your player in the penalty area and somehow falls down it will be a penalty. I would like to think that they did this to make the game more realistic, with diving. But we all know it's just idiotic AI.
- If you want to score, cross it in and get a header in. If you want to play nice-on-the-eye football, go for it, but you will not score unless you cross it in.
- Apparently it was necessary to get rid of tournament mode, and the ability to play as 2 players in online seasons against another online opponent. Why? I don't know. It's idiotic. It ruins the game.
- Ok, the graphics are not even that much better. And the 3D fans they advertised so loudly as one of the main new features of the game? They look poor... really poor.
- Career mode is idiotic. Win the title and the cup with an average or weak team, in fact, do it 3 seasons in a row, and the only job you can apply for is some random bottom of the league Portuguese team I have never heard of. They actually had this right in the older fifas where after each season you were offered new jobs, or to stay on. In this one, it's dreadful. The global scouting system is dreadful. It's as if they are attempting to copy Football Manager... just give up.
- Another average soundtrack, but I am only really pointing this out because there is so much wrong with this game I may as well say it.
- Online seasons. You search for a game, sometimes it takes a good minute or two which is fairly long, you find an opponent, cool, go into the game, and suddenly it turns out that apparently you or your opponent have a different squad file... how? Just how? They get downloaded before you go into the squad selection screen, how can they be different?!
- Some team ratings. How are Turkey 4.5 stars? How is FC Krasnodar 3 stars?
- When I play against my mates on single player, it is literally impossible to score. And we are not bad players, we do not overhit the shots, even headers do not go in. Keepers (and they are not even on a high difficulty level) save everything, but for the most part, strikers with at least 85 finishing skills miss every time, no matter how much power is put in the shot. Why is this happening? I go to play online and this actually works fine, it's possible to score. Why is it impossible when playing your mates? I have not changed any settings. Why???
- Lags online. Not my connection's fault either.
- Not part of the gameplay but can we after all this time not have more teams? What's the point of Venezuela and Paraguay national teams if the names are fake? No badges for lower league clubs. Thank you for including the Indian national football team - I am sure everyone plays with them.
I realise that this looks like a rant and there could be reasons for my displeasure with this game - me being impatient (I really am patient as I am still giving this game a chance despite writing this review) me being poor at this game (I am not the best, but I like to think I'm a fairly average player at least), but that isn't the case. This is a fully honest review, I am not hating on this game, it's just the way it has been produced has ruined it. They have literally taken something that wasn't broken and attempted to fix it (however I find that hard to believe), making it a really, really awful product in the meantime. I recommend avoiding or just sticking to the ps3 or xbox360 versions - they too have their faults, but are not as bad as this one. Or at least they are not such disappointments because I really expected big things from a next gen title. What a shame.
2/5 at a stretch.