FIFA 14: Previewing Career Mode, Best Young Players and Ultimate Team Features

Brian Mazique@@UniqueMaziqueCorrespondent IIISeptember 20, 2013

image from EA Sports
image from EA Sports

What's a sports video game without a solid career mode? Lost and left on the shelf if its left up to me. Thankfully, it has been a while since I came across a sports game that dared to release without some option that allows me to live vicariously through a cyber character or team.

FIFA 14 is set to release on Sept. 24, and with it will come a new and ideally improved version of career mode.

What will hopefully make this version of career mode the thing that keeps you up at night, in a good way? First and foremost, the new Global Transfer Network. This new and interactive way to scout players is designed to enhance the realism in this ever-important aspect of managing a club.

You can literally scout players from anywhere on the globe in hopes of acquiring the next great young player on the transfer market.

Each club will be assigned a set number of scouts from the outset which is based on the economic standing of the club. The most successful clubs can carry as many as six scouts. Scouts are rated based on the reliability of their information. Once a scout delivers the 411, you have the option to act on it immediately or to store it. Perhaps you will choose to revisit the prospects of acquiring this player at a later date.

This is acceptable, but you can’t wait too long. In the Global Transfer Network, information has a shelf life. Players age, progress and regress. If you ponder pursuing a player too long, the information could be outdated and thus useless.

The Global Transfer Network also recognizes age-specific transfer rules. In EA Sports’ blog about the enhancements to career mode, it says: 

Eligible players can now be signed on a pre-contract agreement in FIFA 14. If a player is over the age of 23 and has less than six months remaining on their contract, they will be free to search for a new club on their own. Notifications will be made if and when a player is approaching this period of their contract.

Maximizing the realism to any aspect of the game is always a plus in my book. Theoretically this sounds excellent, but we’ll have to wait for the full release to see for sure.


Young Players to Target

Neymar, 21 years old, FC Barcelona

BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 18:  Neymar of FC Barcelona looks on during the UEFA Champions League Group H match between FC Barcelona and Ajax Amsterdam ag the Camp Nou stadium on September 18, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images
David Ramos/Getty Images

You can bet on paying a pretty penny to try and pry Neymar away from Barcelona anytime soon, but at just 21 years old, he has more than a few years left as a major star. Keeping an eye on him is more than a good idea as your career mode transpires.

We know he isn’t rated among the top 50 players in the game, per EA Sports, but he can’t be much lower than an 85 overall rating.

Considering he’s still on the upswing, you could build your financial assets and attempt to purchase his services down the road.


Mauro Caballero, 18 years old, Porto

A more realistic target could be this up-and-coming Paraguayan teenager. The striker had just two goals during the 2012-2013 season, but major clubs have already noticed the second-generation star’s promise.

His dad of the same name is a former standout for the Paraguayan national team. Chelsea has already taken note of young Mauro, per The Mirror, so you may have to act fast in your career mode.


Manuel Lanzini, 20 Years Old, River Plate

This talented Argentinian may not be with River Plate long. One of the top European clubs is almost sure to snatch him up soon. Bleacher Report’s Dan Colasimone tabbed Lanzini as one of the best South American players in the word under the age of 25.

His youth and skill should make him a target on the real and fantasy transfer market.


Ultimate Team Features

Back with legends and a new team chemistry based system of team building, Ultimate Team seems set to become even more addictive than it already is.

Over 40 legends are unlockable within the mode this year, which adds an element of nostalgia that has worked well for other sports games recently. Here’s a look at some of the legends available via this trailer from EA Sports.

In this year’s version of FIFA 14, gamers are encouraged to match players from the same real-life team or country. That link enhances the overall chemistry of your club and creates a ratings boost.

If you’re like me, you can’t wait for this game to become available via EA Season Ticket on Sept. 20. By the time you read this, it may already be available for download on Xbox Live or Playstation Network.

If you’ve played the demo then you already have a good idea of what to expect. If not, what are you waiting for? It’s free. Give it a spin and decide if it's the right purchase for you.


Follow me for musings on sports video games, boxing, MMA, NBA and WWE.