Anyone who knows me will know that I’m not really a huge fan of the beautiful game. I am, however, quite into gaming, and so thought that it was only fair this latest upgrade get a review. I’ll look at a few different sections. Without further ado…

New features

As ever, FIFA’s changes have been incremental, despite some no doubt wishing for a significant shaking-up. Perhaps one of the more notable additions this year would be the £1.04 million of watches handed out, many of them to FIFA executives, by the Brazilian Football Confederation after this year’s world cup. I’ve yet to see any positive effect on the actual game from this, but maybe things will get fixed in a patch. Or DLC, at worst. Let’s hope it costs less than £16k.

There was also supposed to be a bug fix for some ‘corruption’ issues that have been happening (presumably in save files). Unfortunately, it looks like this patch won’t be going public. Fingers crossed it gets rolled out in some kind of closed beta, for now.

Graphics

FIFA tries to look better every year, but is often marred by the same visual mis-steps. Some of the lighting effects are particularly impressive, such as in the executive boardroom:

Regrettably, however, some of the textures really are still rather horrible, with no real change in recent years.

Audio

FIFA is often praised for its up-to-the-minute and well-selected soundtracks. I’m not entirely sure why - judging purely from what I can hear from Craven Cottage when I leave my windows open on a Saturday, it’s largely a sort of incoherent roaring. Perhaps adopting this as an official anthem would attract more music to the game.

Multiplayer

FIFA’s multiplayer remains as popular as ever, whether played on the same TV or online. Matches these days can even support up to 22 individual players on the pitch at once (not counting the refereeing team, etcetera).

This year, of course, brought a huge addition to FIFA’s multiplayer in the shape of the World Cup in Brazil. Unfortunately, this DLC that was totally unavoidable, retailing at a cost of about $14 billion - more than twice as much as the last time it was released. Of course, you could wait until the prices drop, but by that time nobody will be playing anymore. That, and Brazil’s government will be wondering what’s happened to their education budget.

There were concerns over some hacking incidents on the World Cup servers, such as forcing stadiums to sell alcohol, despite an earlier bugfix being implemented after some violence errors. Hopefully this has now been patched.

Controls

Nobody appears to have any control over what FIFA does.

Conclusion

What did you expect? It’s the same. Every year - same game, same corrupt organisation. Yawn. My copy of FIFA ‘04 will do fine. In the meantime, I’m going back to playing To The Moon. Toodles.