Fans of the FIFA franchise have been eagerly awaiting to hear news of this year’s iteration, and will no doubt rejoice that the yearly wait has finally come to a close. EA Sports revealed several new additions to the game, as well as a series of in-game screenshots that are sure to entice those hungry for the usual amendment of physics updates and improved AI.

Suffice to say, FIFA 14 is looking to once again refine a winning formula that has garnered them record-breaking sales last year where in four weeks it became the biggest sports launch game of all-time.

With FIFA 13 having won its fair share of rewards, it’s no easy task to keep making substantial improvements to a game which follows a yearly release schedule. Despite this hurdle, EA Sports has presented a number of improvements focused on gameplay rather than new additions. Exercising their licensing superiority over rival games series, EA Sports has promised ‘complete authenticity’ for fans of the series, which means leagues like Italy’s Serie B and Portugal’s Premieira Liga may finally have proper clubs, kits and players.

We already wrote an article on 6 ways the FIFA Franchise could improve the Major League Soccer experience, though only time will tell if the “we’ll do it our way” Americanized-league will finally reflect it’s unique features in-game. As of right now, there’s no official list of leagues which will feature in ‘14. With FIFA 13 already featuring an impressive 30 leagues, bumping the number up would be nice, but it certainly wouldn’t be a requirement.

Check out the screenshots below for your first taste of FIFA 14 matchday action:

As per the usual, upgrades to the games’ AI will allow for more natural, fluid gameplay that feels more like a football match and less like a team of robots. Players are even better are recognizing when to make runs, but defenders will be able to predict these to better accuracy as well. The first-time inclusion of sprint-dribble turns allow for realistic and fluid fast-paced attacks, whilst Variable Dribble Touches will allow players a variety of attacking moves whilst sprinting on the ball. The highly popular Ultimate Team mode will also feature a massive UI overhaul, which shouldn’t come as a surprise – it’s been a major money-maker for EA Sports through DLC Card Packages.

FIFA 14‘s biggest improvements will mainly focus on gameplay, and will feature heavily on three main fronts:

  • Pure Shot: Players will now adjust their stride and angle of approach when on-the-ball, which makes for more intelligent finishing.
  • Real Ball Physics: With a new trajectory system, shots will now feel more dynamic and versatile. Dipping shots and low-rising power hits are now on the cards.
  • Protect The Ball: Jostling was a main improvement in prior games, and FIFA 14 takes it a step further: AI will know push out opponent prior to receiving passes, and will block them out while making runs if possible.

The FIFA franchise has outsold their rivals Pro Evolution Soccer by a high ratio, and the yearly battle is due to commence once again in the near future. With plenty of licenses and pleasantly dynamic gameplay, only time will tell if FIFA can protect their crown.

FIFA 14 is expected for a September or October release on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U and PC.

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