FIFA 14 finally comes free for Windows Phone. EA puts the strongest emphasis on Ultimate Team, whereas some of the other game modes are only available through in-app purchases. FIFA 14 has a great game interface and new touch controls.
Ultimate Team and in-app purchases
FIFA 14 allows you to play matches in Ultimate Team, Games of the Week, Support Your Club, Penalty Shootout, and Online modes.
The modes let you challenge other players all over the world through its multiplayer function. Try to beat them and climb the worldwide leaderboard!
Manager, Tournament and Kick Off modes, however, are only unlockable via in-app purchases.
Just like in the PC and console versions FIFA 14 for iPhone also brings back Match of the Day, a function that lets you reflect on the events of real life games from every single team. You can see injuries, if players are on form, or changes to tactics; these are reflected in the game from time to time with corresponding updates to the team lineup.
FIFA 14 for Windows Phone is strongly in favor of Ultimate Team mode, which lets you create and manage your virtual team. You can participate in auctions to buy and sell players, trying to grow your team and the camaraderie between your players. And of course, you can participate in games and competitions with your Ultimate Team. If you win, you get points and virtual money to spend so that you can buy new cards to improve your team.
FIFA 14 supports 33 leagues (Serie A, La Liga, Premier League, Bundesliga...), more than 600 fully-licensed teams, over 16,000 players and as many as 34 stadiums, faithfully recreated in the app. And just as you can on the console version, you can get get trophies and achievements when you fulfill certain objectives.
The game interface has been completely re-done in the style and design of the new PC version, which offers improved usability and navigation through the menus.
New touch controls
FIFA 14 also introduces a new type of touch control, based on gestures, swiping and tapping. The idea is interesting, but it does requires a bit of practice to feel confident with the controls. To this end, the game includes an in-depth tutorial that explains how to use the new controls.
If you prefer the old and classic virtual joypad, you can still select it from the options menu. During our test, we got a better feeling with this set of controls rather than with the new gesture-based ones.
Slightly better graphics, excellent soundtrack
The 3D graphics are good quality and the animations of the players, although a bit slow, are compelling. Maybe a touch of fluidity and increase in the pace of the action would give an edge to the title. Despite these minor setbacks, you can definitely see major improvements compared to the previous release.
The music on the menu is excellent, but it isn't new: EA has always looked after the entire soundtrack of the FIFA franchise.
The sound effects during the match are pretty average and not much different than the previous release. The presence of the commentary (in English, Italian, Spanish, German and French), however, makes the game more exciting.
FIFA is free, at last!
FIFA 14 is an innovative release of the EA game. The freemium approach allows you to play the best soccer simulator for Windows Phone for free. In the end, you may decide to buy the other modes (Manager, Tournament and Kick Off), which can greatly increase the depth of play.
The default modes, however, allow a fair level of challenge, and are excellent (especially Ultimate Team) in online multiplayer mode.
The game tutorial is made with great attention to detail and is really useful for any mode.
The new touch controls are a big gamble for EA, since they drastically affect gameplay. Personally, I still prefer the feeling from the old virtual joypad, which is selectable from the options - I think it's the best way to make the most of the simulator gameplay that EA has to offer.
Although there are no obvious improvements in the sound effects, or to some of the animations which affect the speed and pace of the action, FIFA 14 remains an essential title for lovers of soccer simulations for their iPhone or iPad. And it's free! So what are you waiting for?