FIFA 14 Xbox One, PS4 preview
A couple of weeks ago, thanks to a hands-on session at EA's UK office, Pocket-lint played a 65 per cent finished build of the Xbox 360 version of FIFA 14. And we loved it.
There are plenty of new features which yet again raise the bar for the annual footy games series and current console owners will be getting a treat when the latest hits the streets. However, the next-generation versions of FIFA 14, for Xbox One and PS4, are in a different league once again.
Powered by what EA is calling EA Sports Ignite, the next-generation versions of FIFA offer even more new features on top of the current gen - graphical enhancements aside, from some time with the Xbox One version at E3 2013 in Los Angeles, the game itself is even better to play.
It is said that the Xbox One is 10 times more powerful and while many will instantly see and understand the benefits that brings to the graphics engine, it's actually the tiniest, previously unavailable details and nuances that make the most difference.
The crowd is completely different. Thanks to the processing power of the next-gen machines, every member of the crowd is a 3D model. It adds depth and scope to the stadium, making it look populated by people rather than cardboard cutouts. The crowd also has its own artificial intelligence, allowing them to react to the action on the field in either positive or negative ways. You know that thing where fans start to leave before the final whistle when their team is performing badly? Yeah, that.
Also, while the graphical presentation on the pitch is similar - a little more crisp, perhaps, but not markedly different - the animations of the footballers are smoother and have many more tiny steps than their current-gen counterparts. It makes the action easier on the eye and the control of players decisively more intuitive for the gamer.
The players also have a keener AI, allowing them to make more human-like decisions. Sometimes it makes you want to watch the action off the ball, rather than on. Plus, there are additional shot types and on-pitch behaviours.
In short, this version of FIFA14 is the best we've ever played, even from the 20 minutes or so we spent with it. That doesn't mean that the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions are bad, far far from it, just that this proudly waves the flag of the next generation in a way that will attract a vast section of the games-playing audience.