EA has at last revealed details about one of the biggest releases of 2013 – FIFA 14.
New features this year include enhanced teammate intelligence, EA says midfielders will no longer go missing when the opposition attack as improved run tracking results in tighter marking, off ball pressure and more midfield battles.
A range of new run types has boosted attacking intelligence, limiting the likelihood of scoring cheap goals through simplistic, back and forth gameplay.
Forwards can perform checked runs and can now run into space or along the backline. For the Didier Drogbas of this world, strikers can embrace their physicality and back into defenders before turning and pulling the trigger.
The protect the ball mechanic has been in FIFA for a while but EA is implementing improvements that it hopes will make it a key gameplay element in FIFA 14. Now, as an intuitive mechanism that can be initiated at any speed, players will find it's easier to use and more integral to midfield battles.
Finishing in FIFA 14 has been improved with the 'Pure Shot' mechanic. This gives players the ability to adjust their stride and angle when bombing towards the goal and allows strikers to shoot when off-balance and pull off rushed shots when under pressure.
This unpredictable attacking style is also demonstrated by the real ball physics. Goalkeepers will have to contend with new flight paths, attempts that dip and shots that will curve and move around in the air a la Gerrard in the 2006 FA Cup final.
Both the physics and the new shooting visuals and animation are going to feel amazing,” said EA producer Sebastian Enrique. You will feel really rewarded when scoring or even when missing the target.”
There is now an added focus on build up play, with sprint dribble turns allowing players to move around the opposition at speed in any direction and a 1st touch control skill for dribbling called variable dribble turns.
FIFA 14 will also enhance sprint dribbling as players can now knock the ball in front of them and bend their run to pull off more angled crosses.
Career mode has also been given a makeover with a new hub and a global scouting network that allows you to search for traits as opposed to numbered stats.
FIFA 14 has been confirmed for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC with additional platforms being announced in the coming months. Next-gen wasn't mentioned... but let's not bet against it.