FIFA 14: The Gold Cup of Mobile Sports Games
Many people freaked out when EA announced all of their new apps were going to the free to play model. Some of those fears were confirmed when Madden 25 recently released on the Google Play store and was met with a rather, unsatisfactory review. What’s worse, is that EA also removed Madden 12 from the Android market. That doesn’t mean that everything EA is putting out now is terrible, even with the free to play option.
FIFA 14, the world’s most popular sports game, also recently came out on Android, and even being a different sport than Madden 25, is more different than it’s American football counterpart in every way possible. While it also uses the free to play model, it feels more like a mobile version of the console game than a game which attempts to trick you out of your hard earned money.
FIFA 14 has updated its entire control scheme from FIFA 12. While the older mobile FIFA relied on a terrible joystick to move players about, as well as giant buttons on the screen to shoot and pass, FIFA 14’s new control mechanism are based more on using the touchscreen itself to play the game. Movement is done by selecting the player you want to move, then holding down with your finger as to where you’d like to move the player. Passing can be done in two simple ways; either by selecting the player you want the ball to go to by touching them, or by tapping anywhere on the screen to lead your teammate somewhere else from where they currently are. Of course, you have to make sure to be careful as to where you choose to go, as defenders can also pick off the passes. Shooting, probably the most improved feature in FIFA 14, is done by swiping. This allows a player to “Bend it like Beckham” so to speak, giving them massively more control over the shot then in FIFA 12.
One of the complaints my colleague had about Madden 25 on Android was that the game was only about the Ultimate Team mode. While FIFA 14 also has its Ultimate Team mode, similar to the console version, it is not the main focus of the mobile version. In fact, there is a full career and manager mode with FIFA 14, that must be unlocked with a $5 purchase. For $5 though, the career mode offers almost everything the console version has. The mobile version of FIFA 14 even has commentary, which comes in many languages but does need to be downloaded separately.
The graphics in FIFA 14 are absolutely stunning. Playing this game on some of the newer devices really lets the colors and display explode in such a way that will make users forget they are playing a mobile game. Whether your device has a Snapdragon or a Tegra inside of it, you will be able to see how great the graphics are. Of course, there are limitations to how well this game looks; close ups of the players aren’t nearly as good as they would be on a console, appearing a tad more blocky, reminiscent of graphics one would expect from the original Xbox/PS2 era. Still, considering how most mobile games look graphically, FIFA 14 stands out way ahead of anything else.
Players need to make sure they have a sizeable amount of open space on their Android device before grabbing FIFA 14. The game’s download eclipses 1GB, with additional content taking up even more room. But this large space is necessary for the graphical display, full soundtrack and sheer amount of things to do in the mobile version of FIFA 14.
Of course, there are heavy amounts of IAPs in the FIFA Ultimate Team mode. Real money is used to purchase card packs to unlock more and hopefully, vastly improved players. There are three different types of packs; bronze, silver and gold. Gold obviously contains the best players. However, those who have played the console version are used to how the FIFA Ultimate Team operates. Like in the console version, players can buy coins with real world money in order to buy packs without having to grind their way through thousands of game’s just to get one gold pack.
When you use the term free-to-play with FIFA 14, it’s not quite what you expect. This game isn’t heavily reliant on IAP to make its money. Instead EA treated FIFA 14 as a mobile game that was to resemble the console version closely. I would in fact argue, that FIFA 14 is probably the best sports game on the Google Play marketplace in terms of realism, graphics, sound, functionality and playability. Downloading the “full” mode for $5 is well worth it for any player, making FIFA 14 undoubtedly one of the best things EA has put on the Android marketplace.