EA's international tournament entries are often treated as fun, if disposable, warm-ups for the full FIFA games in September. Which is fair, but to overlook 2014 FWC would be a disservice to a superb game that offers interesting ideas and a ton of content.
There have been a surprising number of tweaks to the formula for a mid-season game, with player management adjustments offering the most intriguing insight into FIFA 15.
Be A Pro (Captain Your Country here) pits you against three teammates vying for selection for the full team heading to Brazil. You must make a series of 'cuts' within a limited number of games, consistently outperforming your rivals. It's a refreshing layer of competitiveness for one of FIFA's lacklustre modes. The one issue is that all four name bars appear on the screen at once, taking up too much space and obscuring the view.
Training has also been integrated into player development across all game modes. Between matches you can take four players and run them through drills (which includes skill games and other new additions) to improve their stats. This allows a greater level of customisation and a chance to plug team weaknesses you couldn't before.
On-pitch action is fast and frantic. It may be to simulate the pressures of knock-out football, but end-to-end contests seem much more frequent, with chances at either goal. Players are able to get the ball out of their feet quicker to make passes, but still suffer when it comes to intricate dribbles.
In an attempt to balance lobbed through balls, EA has practically nerfed them entirely. Crossing has also been affected, with EA clearly studying at the school of Nani: many attempts fail to beat the first defender. Like heading in 14, hopefully a patch can address this.
2014 FWC is exactly what fans of the sport want for the most important four weeks of the summer. It's a shame it isn't available on next-gen, but this is still a quality game, offering a lot of interesting ideas that'll be even more exciting when fully realised come September.
Version Tested: Xbox 360. Played for 7 hours.