Today I want to talk about something that’s just really been pissing me off this past weekend, and that’s sluggish user interfaces. The UI in a game is a huge deal and we spend a lot more time with it than you really expect to, especially in sports titles. Sure, you don’t play around with it too much in your average FPS, but in RPGs and sports titles, it’s a necessity to have a fluid system in place in order to keep the experience moving. However, EA Sports has a huge problem with making this happen and instead, all of their titles are now filled with a sluggish interface.
Over this past weekend I’ve played a ton of FIFA 14 from EA Sports. I’m talking 15-plus hours of straight soccer gaming. The problem with this is that I’ve spent a lot of that time within the menu system because everything takes a long time to do. You see, this was a problem that plagued NCAA first a couple of years back, which then made it into the NHL franchise, then to Madden. All this time later and it’s become a problem in FIFA. I just don’t get it. I don’t buy a game so that the menu navigation and roster maneuvers are going to take as much time to do as playing the actual game. In fact, sometimes the sluggishness gets so bad my entire system locks up. That’s absurd. It can happen at any time as well whether you’re just finishing a match or browsing through the transfer options.
Even with an autosave functionality, this can result in the loss of time and energy. It’s barbaric and a shame considering all of the previous titles in each franchise were never plagued with this problem. In FIFA 14, for example, if you’re trying to change your squad from the Squad section, you’re forced to wait for the game to catch up with your player selection before you can select players to change. This causes a 30-second task to take 2-3 minutes if you plan on making quite a few changes. In Madden it’s even worse, especially during the draft. Last year when you drafted players, the Twitter feed in-game would update with each pick made; this year, that doesn’t happen because I don’t think the sluggish UI and update system can work together in harmony. Hell, when you make draft picks, there is a slight delay as well before it goes to the next pick. It’s quite aggravating to say the least.
Oddly this seems to plague sports titles more than any other genre unless I just haven’t played any others facing this same issue. Do you guys feel like this is something I should be pissed about or do you think it’s not that big of a deal? How does this stuff even get greenlit past testing? Do you know of any other games where navigating the menu is a huge bitch to do? Let us know below!