E3: FIFA 14 iOS hands-on

Hands-on with EA mobile’s annual update to the FIFA series…

While the iOS version of FIFA 14 won’t come close to the next and current gen console versions in terms of AI, reactive animations and other bells and whistles, it’s still good to see that the team at EA mobile are constantly pushing for the best football experience in the mobile space.

FIFA 14 includes the usual updates of more teams and more players, and improvements to manager mode. But the biggest update is to the core gameplay, and in particular the controls.

They’ve pretty much gone back to drawing board on controls, preferring to ditch the virtual analogue and button combo as the primary control method, and instead focusing on a full gesture based/touch interface.

While it may not be to the taste of FIFA die-hards, as a mobile experience I think its a huge improvement. At the cost of detailed control over a single player on the pitch, you now have a much greater grasp of your entire team.

You can draw a path for any player on the pitch to follow, allowing you to form up multiple players on an attack on goal, or go defensive on a single opposing player. It’s like drawing your strategy directly on the pitch.

To pass you simply tap the screen, while shooting is done by swiping in the direction of goal, and with an arc to influence the curve of the ball.

After a bit of practice I was able to concentrate my attention on one player’s attack up the middle of the field – with small drags in varied directions to avoid attacking defenders – while also ensuring team mates were running up the wing for support. A few one-two’s and a shot on goal later and I was feeling more in control of a game of FIFA than I have ever been. For purists of course they’ve kept in the old virtual controls, but as more of a hardcore secondary option.

Details on the multiplayer was lacking in my demo, but expect Origin based match-ups. I was sad to hear, however, that the local multiplayer mode where you can use two iPhones as controllers with an iPad acting as the main screen has been dropped. I was clearly in the minority, as EA have discovered many players don’t use this option and so it has been pulled in favour of other features.

Finally, the game’s UI has been given an overhaul. Now the menus are presented in clear and easy to access tiles of information, giving the game a more polished and professional look and feel more closely resembling the big brother versions of FIFA.

Look out for more info on FIFA 14 for iOS, and expect it’s release to coincide with the console versions later this year.

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  • nizy

    The controls sound a lot like the system that Konami developed for PES on the Wii. In my opinion that was the best control system I have ever used in a footie game, allowing me to control my entire team, to decide where my players make runs, and to put the ball exactly where I want it.

    That said I’m not sure how well it’ll transition to iOS. I think it wil fare better on iPad than iPhone due to more screen real estate, but maybe I’m wrong. Either way it’s certainly an interesting move.