The FIFA series is about as well known around the world as any other video game series thanks to the global reach of the sport and the availability of the series year after year on pretty much any platform you can imagine. Ever since 1998, the series has also had a companion game every four years that is based around the FIFA World Cup, and with 2014 FIFA World Cup set to begin in only about a month and a half in Brazil, it was the perfect time for 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil to release.
While the series took the leap to next generation consoles back in November, EA Sports chose to release 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil only for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The reasoning behind this decision was that the countries where this game may have the biggest impact, such as Brazil, have a low adoption rate of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One thus far, and as a result, they did not feel the need. However, this is pretty disappointing for us that have next generation consoles and have had the opportunity to experience FIFA 14 in action on either system. While the graphics are still quality that you expect from the FIFA series, it is pretty jarring to go back to them after the phenomenal graphics we’ve already seen on next generation systems.
There is no doubt for me that the greatest addition to this game is the Road to the FIFA World Cup mode, as it brings something to the series that while long requested, has never been in the series before. The games in the past have always had the ability to play through the World Cup of course, hence the name of the game, but this one actually lets you play through the qualifying rounds leading up to the World Cup for the first time. Within this, you have the choice to use the actual opening round matchups that we saw in real life or you can also customize them however you wish.
The only real concern I found with Road to the FIFA World Cup mode is the same thing that I have found in similar modes in other games like NCAA Football and MLB The Show. Granted you control a full team here rather than one player, but playing these qualifying matches are more on the level of high school and minor league games in Road to Glory and Road to the Show from the respective aforementioned titles when compared to the grandeur of the World Cup matchups. However, I still had an absolute blast most of the time playing through the qualifying matches, as I am all about playing through realistic schedules in sports games.
Even more similar to modes like Road to Glory and Road to the Show is the returning Captain Your Country mode, where you take control of a player and work your way up through the team with the goal of leading your team to victory through the qualifying rounds and the 2014 FIFA World Cup. This game mode allows you to put a little more personal touch on the game itself, by allowing you to choose the type of player you want to be, whether it is an existing player or your own player made from scratch. For those that prefer to make a brand new character, you can also import your Game Face as in many other EA Sports games, to make it feel even more like you. However, the one drawback for this mode is that you are at the mercy of how the rest of your team performs, as you are still only one man on the squad.
Just like with FIFA 14, one of the biggest selling points of the game is the ability to play with the real rosters of teams from all around the world. This game specifically gives us the chance to take control of 203 different teams, all of which participated in the qualifying rounds of the actual World Cup for this year. On top of that, we have gotten 21 new stadiums in the game, which include the 12 stadiums we will see used in Brazil during the World Cup. This is one of the coolest aspects of the game, as we get the opportunity to play in the authentic stadiums before the real teams even get the chance.