Football fans, put your worries about survival and promotion to one side because there is another reason to look optimistically to the start of next season, FIFA 14 is coming and EA Sports has officially unveiled details about the latest instalment of its huge franchise.
FIFA 13 brought improved first touch capabilities, a FIFA Street-inspired dribbling system and new free-kick mechanics amongst other new features, so how is EA Sports planning to make one of the best football games even better? We've picked out the new moves and features you will need to get to grips with before you are challenging your mates to a game.when it arrives later this year on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
Pure Shot and real ball physics
Re-creating the unpredictability of football has been a major focus in previous FIFA instalments and now EA Sports has turned its attention to the shooting mechanics making opportunities in front of goal more authentic. The new Pure Shot feature means you can now make a Van Persie-esque connection with the ball and with less talented players hit off balanced or rushed shots thanks to the ability to adjust stride and approach angle. The new real ball physics also means a greater variety in terms of shot trajectory which means you can hit dipping strikes from distance and more accurate low rising shots.
Second chance for defenders
For FIFA players who get frustrated when defenders miss out on tackles and struggle to recover, FIFA 14 now improves the ability to stifle attacks and make up for those miscalculated challenges when you've jumped in to early and the nippy winger is skipping past you.
New Through Ball
Often one of the best ways to breach a defensive back line in just one single move, players will now be able to add curl to lofted through balls making them more precise and likely to land to a teaammate or in the space just in front of wingers to run onto instead of flying out for a throw-in.
Scouting all over the world
Career Mode continues to improve year on year adding enough detail and options to make the experience a satisfying alternative to playing against mates online and now the ability to unearth gems from around the world can be aided by the new Global Scouting Network. This means you can send out your scouting team to unmask attributes about new players while a scouting hub will serve up the latest live reports to make sure you are better prepared when transfer deadline day is fast approaching and you star striker wants out of the club.
Protect the Ball
Whether it's trying to waste time down by the corner flag or you are trying to slow down the pace of the game, FIFA 14 will make it more difficult to jockey players off the ball even when they are running with the ball. From an attacker's perspective you will now be able to out muscle opponents to make room once the ball is played into your path making it easier to carve out opportunities.
While you hope that your teammates are on the same wavelength, it's not necessarily always the case. Now defensive players will mark smarter and tighter and follow attacking runs while as a unit defenders should provide better support. For attackers, there will be a greater variety to lose markers and beat the offside trap while midfielders will be able to have more contested battles to win the ball in the middle of the pitch.
Sprint and Variable dribbling
One of the key areas improved in FIFA 13 was dribbling and now there is a greater emphasis on attacking players carrying the ball at speed and maintaining a natural momentum as you try to take full backs on. As well as having tighter control with the ball, the ability to hold onto the ball will vary depending on the ability of the player with the ball at his feet. If a League 1 defender is trying to charge through an entire Premier League defence, don't expect him to have much success.
Introduced in FIFA 13 to keep us occupied during loading times, the skill games remain in FIFA 14 helping you hone your skills and also introducing mini-games that you will be able to play against friends.