FIFA 14 - Preview

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Release Date: 16/05/2013

FIFA 14 Preview for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 at GAME

It Definitely Moved In The Air

With FIFA 14, EA Sports' team of designers at Vancouver, Canada want you to feel the real-life thrill of scoring an amazing goal. Obviously the game won't make you feel exactly like Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott and Fernando Torres (yes, even Fernando Torres) do just after they've banged in a daisy-cutter from 20 yards, but it'll try to do the next best thing. How will it do it? With more realistic ball physics.

Sports Science

The developers have spent hours painstakingly researching how balls move in real life, and they've found (no doubt to their horror) that previous games in the series had footballs that were as dull as Paul Scholes holding a boiling kettle. Here's the science bit: the drag coefficient was too linear, which means there was linear deceleration. In English? The ball didn't move about much at all.

Any football fan worth an armchair opinion will tell you this isn't how things work in real life. When Cristiano Ronaldo smacks a free kick from a seemingly impossible distance, the ball jerks about in the air like a burst balloon. In real life, balls do all sorts of crazy stuff the moment they leave a player's boot - and so will the balls in FIFA 14.

FIFA 14 Preview for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 at GAME

For a start, you'll notice you can hit the ball harder, and put more spin on passes and shots. You'll gawp at the magic and wonder of the curved, lofted through-ball - a surprising first for a FIFA game. There are all-new shots, too, such as Gareth Bale's trademark dipping shot. You won't have to press a complex combination of buttons on the joypad in order to trigger these fancy new passes and shots either. They'll just happen as part of the impressive-sounding simulation, built upon how the player's boot strikes the ball. Press the shoot button and get the timing right, and you're on your way to giving the opposition's goalkeeper serious nightmares.

As you'd expect, there are other gameplay improvements. One of the most interesting is the addition of a Protect the Ball move - put into play with a push of L2 on PlayStation, or the left trigger on Xbox. This new move has a different effect on play depending on the situation at hand. You can use it to swat away at a defender who is trying to slow down your run, for example. You can use it to slow down a little as you're running with the ball, perhaps because you know the opposition defender will catch you up. You can even use it to jostle for position as you're waiting for the ball to land at your feet. Think of Protect the Ball like accelerating and breaking in a driving game and you're halfway there.

FIFA 14 Preview for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 at GAME

Get Stuck In

With its new realistic ball physics system and Protect the Ball move, FIFA 14 is shaping up to be a more tactical, thoughtful game of virtual footie than previous entries in the series have offered. By slowing your players down as they run with the ball, or shielding the ball like Didier Drogba in his pomp, you'll be able to better control the pace of the average FIFA match.

You'll still be able to play a direct style, by passing midfield and heading straight for your speedy strikers, but with better, smarter defenders this time around it'll be harder to score by relying on a quick counter-attack alone. Instead, expect a battle for midfield supremacy, the odd push and shove behind the ref's back, and eye-popping goals that make you leap up from your sofa, run out the door and slide on your knees on the cold, hard concrete. Just make sure you're wearing trousers before you sit down to play.

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