Kicked into touch.
You sense it's taken game makers a little too long to wise up to what many game players have suspected for some time now - that virtual buttons and joysticks are a poor substitute for the real thing, and that the tactile feel of a console controller can never adequately be replicated on a touchscreen.
FIFA 14 is probably the biggest example in recent months where a very different approach has been taken to the thorny issue of precision touchscreen gaming. It's true that the familiar virtual stick and buttons are still there to be unlocked in this new edition of the soccer series, but that's now an option hidden within the menu screens. Instead, and by default, you'll be making use of a new strategic tap and swipe system when it comes to dominating the opposition within your chosen league.
The end result is a FIFA that feels qutie unlike any other incarnation of the series - either on traditional consoles or mobiles. By tapping on players to determine passes, swiping to create elegant shots and lobs, or simply drawing players towards new open spaces, the systems offers up a new perspective for the game. It's one where you get to sit back a little, take in the entire pitch, and execute a far more strategic march to victory in the process.
It works almost flawlessly, although it will take some time and practice before your fingers make effortless tackles instead of accidental runs, or you learn to select players without obscuring a critical moment on the screen. Don't be too tempted to return to the older control system though, as your perseverance will be rewarded with a very new, and very satisfying FIFA game.
The control system isn't the only thing that's new about this year's edition of the game either. While the news that FIFA 14 is a free-to-play offering will likely have fans instinctively recoiling, EA has very sensibly chosen its Ultimate Team mode to fly the flag for the business model, and it's the default mode in the free version of the game.
Given a basic collection of players to assemble your squad from, you'll then play with that team to earn coins, which are then used to buy new card packs or to bid for specific players on the global market. It's as compelling in this mobile edition as it is on consoles, and if you don't wish to grind out game coins then you can always dip into your wallet to buy randomized booster decks. It's by no means necessary to spend real cash though, and progress without spending a penny still feels rewarding.
If you want to get stuck into the Kickoff, Tournament and Manager modes, then it's true you'll need to shell out a one-off payment to the tune of $4.99. It's here that you'll have access to the more traditional FIFA experience, where quick matches are played against favorite rivals, your skills are put to the test across an entire season, or you simply don the overcoat of great responsibility and manage your team's victories from the sidelines.
In combining the old with the new, EA has done a remarkable job of adding a genuine bit of innovation to a rather predictable series, and there's very little to dislike about the game. No matter how much FIFA you might have played on your mobile prior to this morning, we're confident you've never played a FIFA quite like this one.
What's Hot:A fantastic new control system which powers enhanced versions of all the FIFA modes you love.
What's Not:Replay textures are fairly primitive and stadium can seem a little quiet.