FIFA 14 by EA Sports
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that FIFA 14 is a very realistic simulation of the world's most popular sport, faithfully recreating the game and just as faithfully following its rules. This year's version is notably different from past installments, though, as it adopts a freemium model. Online play is free (as are penalty shootouts and Ultimate Team mode), but people wanting to access Tournaments, Manager Mode, or the single-game exhibition mode must pay $5. There's no violence or language issues, and although one team's jerseys advertise Corona beer, nothing else promotes the brand. The corporate sponsorships are simply a part of the game. Some features require an EA account; you must be at least 13 to register.
What kids can learn
Health & Fitness
Engagement, Approach, Support
FIFA 14 is about as realistic as a soccer sim can get, which should capture the attention of fans of the sport.
By studying methods players use on the field, kids can learn how to improve their own soccer games.
The game has a good tutorial mode walking players through the new controls and gently guiding them into the action.
What's it about?
The game can be controlled in one of two ways. The default touchscreen control system lets players move on their own. You touch teammates to pass the ball to them and swipe the screen to take shots on the goal. In Classic mode, you pass the ball back and forth between teammates via a virtual joystick. Additional buttons on the screen are used to sprint, take shots on goal, or slide-tackle opposing team members. The game recreates the championships of 30 of the sport's most popular leagues. Regardless of the control method you use, you'll swipe to kick the ball on corner and goal and for penalty kicks.
Is it any good?
The latest mobile installment of EA's FIFA series is an odd duck. FIFA 14 is certainly a terrific game with great gameplay, an absurdly thorough roster, and eye-popping graphics. But, unlike previous entries in the series, you're only getting half a game initially. Although the free version offers limited single-player matches, if you're a FIFA fan who prefers to build up your dynasty against artificial opponents, you'll have to pay a premium. That's especially noteworthy for younger kids, whose parents might discourage playing against strangers online.
That said, those who do pay the upgrade charge will have plenty of game options -- and it's well worth the money. The new touch-control scheme, meanwhile, makes playing easier for those younger players, though veterans of the series may find it limiting. As a free game, FIFA 14 isn't a bad one, but you'll want to pay the $5 to upgrade to the full experience.
Families can talk about...
See if the game sparks an increased interest in real-world soccer, and, if so, take kids to a game.
Steer kids who tend to be sedentary to this game to show them the thrill of running up and down a field, playing with others.
Ask kids to describe a time when they had to use teamwork to accomplish a goal, sports-related or otherwise.