First and foremost, this is not an issue with GameSpot's review of Fifa 14. This is the issues I have with deciding how I feel I should rate the game.
I am the proud owner of a PS4. It was well worth the purchase price, and I couldn't be happier with the system (except that my thumb seems to slip off the left joystick a lot, curse my sweaty hands). Other than the FTP DC Universe and the Plus games I've gotten for free, I only have FIFA 14 and AC IV: Black Flag. I can easily say AC IV is the best in the series. It's just so much fun.
FIFA 14, on the other hand, I have some issues with. There are some major problems with the game. When I read the reviews, not just on GameSpot, but on other sites as well, it commented on how there seem to be independent ball mechanics, and that possession no longer switches back and forth, but there are times when the ball is free and both teams scramble for it. I was very excited about that, because it was ALWAYS my biggest gripe with previous FIFA iterations, that if the AI decided the other team had the ball, my players would back up, even if the ball was completely unattended in the opponents box, and if even one player had moved toward the ball, it would be an easy goal. By the time I switch to one of these players and move him myself, the window of opportunity has closed.
So I was very excited to hear that they finally had fixed this problem.
Except they didn't.
When I first started playing the game, I was floored. "This is amazing!" I said, not just to myself, but to friends, relatives, anyone that would listen. Yet slowly, the same old problems began to creep in. Just last night, playing a match, my players backed away from an open ball and an easy goal because possession had arbitrarily switched back to the other team. While this is my BIGGEST pet peeve with the game, it is not the only problem.
Using L1 to switch players sometimes gives me the most random choices. There will be two players jostling for the ball, I'll hit L1 to switch to that player, and instead it will switch to some guy on the opposite side of the pitch, or 15 yards behind the action. Sometimes the players seem lazy, slow to respond to commands, or start moving in the opposite direction of the joystick before correcting and going the right way. The player collision physics are significantly worse than FIFA 13, with players falling down with seemingly no physical contact whatsoever. Speaking of player collisions, my own teammates collide into each other in EVERY SINGLE GAME, usually multiple times in the game. Colliding with the ball carrier, to defenders smacking into each other, refusing to get out of the way of their own teammates. It's the most ridiculous thing in the world.
Not to mention the commentary, which is rarely talking about the right thing. My favorite is when I put a player I'm not using up in the transfer window in career mode. I'm not using the player. He's not in my 18 on game day. He's just sitting in my reserves. Yet the commentary will say, "Well, the manager's made an odd decision. He felt this player was surplus, but he's picked him to start today." Excuse me, Alan, NO I DIDN'T. HE'S NOT EVEN ON THE BENCH!!! Or I will let a tired player sit, yet he'll say, "It's no wonder Falcao is starting, he's in fantastic form." HE'S NOT STARTING. Another fun one is when I am attacking in the run of play, miss a shot, and Alan will say, "Well, that was a well worked corner routine, just couldn't finish it off." Corner routine!? CORNER ROUTINE!? THAT WASN'T A CORNER ROUTINE!!!
I get very frustrated playing the game with all these problems. There is a LOT of work that needs to be done to get FIFA to where I feel it should be, especially when you consider a lot of these problems have been around in the FIFA games for years. They should be fixing this, especially with all this extra computing power of the next gen systems. It's great to have 3D models for the crowds, but I would MUCH rather have prefered them to fix the actual gameplay issues first, rather than spend so much time, money, and bandwidth on cosmetic changes, and not even player cosmetic changes (the smiles on the players faces belong in a horror movie, not a soccer game).
All that having been said, I play FIFA 14 almost exclusively. It is hands down the funnest video game I have ever played, and I am not a novice when it comes to video games. It is so addicting. It is so involved. It is the best representation of the sport out there. I feel like with all the problems of the game, it deserves a 6 or at best a 7, yet if I'm giving it such a low rating, why can I spend 4 hours straight every day playing it? This is my dilemma. This is the issue I have with FIFA 14, and also why I feel like EA probably won't fix these glaring issues: the core experience is still so wonderfully fun and addictive, that despite the fact that it makes me want to curse every time I play (and I don't curse), I still come back to it every time I have the chance to play my PS4. Its why I've completed 3 seasons of soccer in career mode (2 with Real Salt Lake and 1 with Monaco) and only completed the first 3 memory sequences in AC IV. Is it fair to give a game a 6 or a 7 when it is pretty much the ONLY game I play?