Currently playing: FIFA 14

I’m not sure if it’s my inability to get on with the 360 pad, my sloth-like reflexes and arthritic fingers, or just the fact that I haven’t practised enough, but I’m finding the latest FIFA fairly hard going. I’ll reserve judgement on the main game for now, but in terms of presentation, part of the draw of FIFA is that it has all the licenses and money behind it to deliver an authentic experience, as opposed to the enjoyable but intermittently ludicrous alternative reality offered by the older PES titles.

It seems to me that the more EA strive for perfection, the more it jars when they miss the mark. The decision, for example, to have Alan McInally interrupt your game with updates from other matches initially seems an impressive touch, but it soon becomes tiresome as you realise a) his performance isn’t that convincing; b) these updates repeat themselves very quickly; and c) you actually don’t care about what’s happening in the other matches. Meanwhile, I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard Martin “Puma World Football ’98” Tyler refer to a player as ‘this lad’ in real life, which he does repeatedly here.

Most crucially, though, the feeling persists that, for all the real names and photos, you’re never quite immersed in another world of football in the same way you are with, say, the Championship Manager/Football Manager series. I mean, they’ve improved things quite a bit since the screen below made me despair, but it still sort of sums up my feelings on what they’re getting wrong: