FIFA 14 Launches In South Africa

Posted: 3 October 2013
Category: Features Comments View Comments


Local gamers were treated to exciting challenges against pro players, great prizes, and a fun evening of gaming and socialising at the recent South African launch of FIFA 14, which was hosted by MWEB in Cape Town.

FIFA 14 Launches In South Africa: The MCave

Last Friday MWEB GameZone held a FIFA 14 launch party in Cape Town at its enticing, tech-filled gaming haven, dubbed the MCave, to celebrate the much anticipated release of the latest version of the popular football game by Electronic Arts.

FIFA 14 Launches In South Africa: Carl Wastie

Thirty winners of a golden ticket competition were invited to attend the event, as well as meet Good Hope FM DJs and sports enthusiasts Carl Wastie and Tammy B (who competed in the 2upGamer's MWEB GameZone Celebrity Challenge in May). The FIFA 14 event was live streamed over the Internet so that gamers in other parts of the country could join in on some of the fun.

FIFA 14 Launches In South Africa: Tammy B

Gaming stations for PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 were set up all around the MCave and the gamers were given the chance to try out FIFA 14 on their platform of choice, as well as compete against Morné Roman (pictured below, left), who holds Western Cape provincial colours in FIFA, and Yazeed Dollie (pictured below, third from left), who holds regional (Cape Town) colours in FIFA, to win prizes such as ROCCAT headsets, Gunnar gaming eyewear, and Mad Catz Major League Gaming controllers - if they could score a goal against the pros. One lucky gamer also won a 23-inch Dell monitor in a lucky draw held during the course of the evening and all the attendees received goodie bags filled with gear and gadgets.

FIFA 14 Launches In South Africa: FIFA pros

The latest instalment in the successful FIFA series presents updated graphics and improved artificial intelligence and physics. The animations that represent player's movements, dubbed Precision Movement, have been refined so that players noticeably accelerate and decelerate, and shift momentum with both foot planting, which is calculated with regards to the player's speed, direction, and change in momentum, and push offs, all of which affect gameplay. The deceleration is particularly important as it results in smoother, more lifelike movement and a greater degree of turning (which used to be limited to 23 degrees), though it requires an extra element of skill on the part of gamers to anticipate the change in the momentum and how that will affect what's happening around the players in the game. It also slows the pace of the game slightly but at the same time makes it a more realistic experience.

FIFA 14 Launches In South Africa: PC graphics

Another feature, called Pure Shot, works with player artificial intelligence to cause the player to adjust his stride and angle of approach as he kicks the ball. The ball is now also better and more realistically controlled with a technology called Real Ball Physics, which helps gamers to determine trajectories more accurately so that they can perform more complicated manoeuvres with the ball. Players can now also protect the ball more skillfully while dribbling and team members can "out muscle opponents for position" before they receive the ball.

FIFA 14 Launches In South Africa: PlayStation3 graphics

Pictured above are graphics released by EA from the PlayStation 3 version of the game, presumably taken during a replay as most of the time you play with a top-down perspective of the field. However in the replays and animated interjected moments of crucial events during a match the camera perspective switches to something similar to this view. The graphics have been improved and the adjustments to the movement make the players seem less robotic but there are still areas in the visuals that can be improved. If you look at the close-up images below, which are from the same screenshot, you can see some bad clipping and jagged edges around objects (notably the players' heads) and if you look very carefully at their shorts you'll notice that the exact same texture has been applied to both characters on their thighs to simulate folds and shadows. A similar repetition happens with their shirts under the arms and across the body.

FIFA 14 Launches In South Africa: PlayStation 3 graphics

At the launch last week gamers eagerly crowded around the various stations to try out the new version of the game, play against their friends or computer-controlled opponents, and discuss their experiences with like-minded individuals. Some commented that the adjustments to the artificial intelligence have resulted in gamers having to be far more precise with passing and setting up shots otherwise you can easily lose the ball to your opponent due to enhanced team-based artificial intelligence called Teammate Intelligence. The goalkeepers are also more intelligent, which makes it easier to protect your goal area and more difficult to score against an opponent. They are more likely to be proactive and they put extra effort into manouevring to protect the ball, even if a shot at the goal hasn't yet taken place.

FIFA 14 Launches In South Africa: Xbox 360 graphics

Games journalist James Wernich, who has spent time playing the game this week, also commented on Zaid Kriel's weekly gaming radio show on Tuesday night that the defenders will also tighten up even if you aren't at that moment in control of any of them and the team, as a whole, plays as a team, not as a bunch of individual characters on the field that a gamer controls one by one. While you're, say, busy passing the ball some of your players will be jostling for position against your opponent's players in anticipation of being able to receive or intercept the ball (the aforementioned "out muscling of opponents"). They will also adjust their positioning depending on what's happening on the field and whether they, as a team, should be playing defensively or offensively.

FIFA 14 Launches In South Africa: The MCave

The gamers at the launch also noted that although the physical controls are the same, which allows experienced FIFA gamers to jump right in and know exactly what they're doing and which buttons to press, the new mechanics mean that everyone has to re-learn certain elements of the gameplay, which creates a level playing field for future e-sports tournaments and gives a chance, at least for the next few weeks, for newcomers to take on the masters at local events with a better shot at winning.

FIFA 14 Launches In South Africa: Pirates vs Chiefs

In fact, if you think you're ready, or even if you just want to give it a shot, there will be a 2upGamers FIFA 14 tournament later this month at Trenchtown in Observatory. (Keep an eye on the 2upGamers Facebook page for details.) You'll be able to meet some of the local gamers there, and possibly some of the pros as well. You have your best chance at ranking while everyone's still getting used to the new version of the game, and it will be a great chance to try it out and see how it compares to previous versions.

FIFA 14 Launches In South Africa: gamers compete against Morne Roman

[ YouTube link ]

Tags: #cape_town, #games

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