What looks like football doesn’t always feel like football, and crafting a playable product from the world’s most beloved sport is more complex than making sure player’s nose hairs are accurate. This year FIFA 15 pulls off a difficult trick. Not only is the game closer to a TV-style broadcast than ever, but the experience is better than FIFA’s been in years.
The presentation’s been completely revamped, affecting everything from fully remodelled players, to authentic camera angles, to bouncy hair physics and turf degradation. For the first time, in the FIFA series the game is fully licensed by the Premier League, all 20 Barclay’s Premier League stadiums are faithfully represented, from West Ham’s Boleyn Ground to Leicester City’s King Power Stadium.
How did the game managed to look?
FIFA 15 manages to maintain its high standards with a further addition of new animations and even better visuals.Players look like much like their real life counterparts,with lightest of facial hair, facial scars or wrinkles. During games, new replays stand out. Blaze a shot wide and you’re treated to a super-slow-mo replay of your player’s disappointed little face; goalkeepers who’ve kept their side in it are slowly patted on the back.
Nowhere is this more obvious than with goalkeepers, whose new animations make them instantly more lifelike in terms of both look and behavior. Their movements are more diverse, allowing skilful players to perform a range of spectacular gymnastics in an effort to keep the ball out of the goal. More importantly, their movements hint at a keeper’s basic thought processes, which does a great deal to humanise keepers and shake that feeling of playing against a pre-programmed machine.
This year, EA Sports is aiming to play up the game’s emotional side, and it achieves this almost entirely through its audio-visuals. Players will more frequently react to on-field incidents, and crowds will bellow team-specific chants. This is the sort of thing FIFA has done well for a while, and this year it does it better than ever before.
A Little Emotional Sense of Gameplay
A range of new save animations and improved intelligence means goalkeepers are more capable of responding to rebounds and deflections. At times they seem almost superhuman. And yet at the same time they’re prone to horrendous mistakes, letting daisy-cutters through their legs and exhibiting wildly unpredictable behaviour when the ball breaks loose in the penalty area. Team-mate positioning is extremely questionable, often leaving huge gaps for smart opponents to exploit, and they’re less likely than last year to make intelligent overlapping runs, even when you couldn’t make it clearer that you’re looking to play them in.
Elsewhere, the collision, momentum and ball physics have been tweaked, which sometimes makes for a more organic game. Witnessing a truly scrappy goal where the ball dribbles over the line courtesy of an unfortunate ricochet can often seem more authentic than a thirty-yard thunderbolt. And yet, the more it resembles the real thing, the more you notice the occasions when it doesn’t. It’s symptomatic of a general sloppiness you wouldn’t ordinarily associate with FIFA. he AI is less of a problem in multiplayer, of course. Here it’s even more apparent that FIFA 15 has prioritised attacking play in lieu of fixing its defensive weaknesses. Close control has been improved, making it easier – particularly for flair players – to retain the ball, even at speed. Meanwhile, slide tackles have become a less reliable option than in previous years. The result is that defending feels even more inelegant than usual, and so online games tend to be unrealistically high-scoring affairs.
How does the Game feel?
Off the pitch, shiny new menus hide a distinct lack of new modes–that’s FIFA 15 in a microcosm. Not that there’s anything extra EA could possibly cram in. Career lets you manage or play with anyone, from Bursapor to Shrewsbury. Highlights of the Week let you relive recent high-profile games. Match Day alters player stats based on real world form, and Match Day Live gives you a stream of stats and stories based on a team of your choice. In Career, these stories are tailored to your own team. Enquire about a transfer and the media will sniff out the story; score with Di María on his debut and you can read about him starting with a bang. FIFA’s growing relationship with the real thing makes you feel more connected than ever, whether you carve through mountains of text or merely catch it in your periphery.
Keeper Respond To Rebounds And Deflections, Explained. The inconsistencies carry over to dead-ball situations, too. Corners and free-kicks are unusually snappy – as soon as the ball goes out of play, you’re maybe a couple of seconds away from slinging it into the box, without having to sit and watch a player slowly, deliberately placing the ball down. And yet you’ll be kept waiting for players to jog over to take a throw-in, unable to hurry things along, no matter how much you mash the buttons.
Tell me more about “Career Mode and FIFA My Ultimate Team”
The supremely popular FIFA Ultimate Team mode shares this highlight reel feel, with star players now available on short loan periods for those times when you can’t afford to purchase them outright. Rather than grind out those tough early victories using your team of journeyman footballers, you can now just loan the likes of Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, immediately making you feel like the manager of a credible team.
If you’re not interested in spending the time and money to build up a quality Ultimate Team squad, you can dive into Tournament Mode returns, which makes a welcome return in FIFA 15. There are a huge amount of tournaments on offer, with major competitions such as the English FA Cup and German Deutscher Pokal rubbing shoulders with comparative minnows like Mexico’s Apertura and Norway’s Braathens Cup. Licensing restrictions means international tournaments, such as the World Cup, European Championship, and Copa America are missing, which is a shame.
Career continues to be the deepest mode, allowing you to take on a role as a player or a manager. As manager your job revolves around winning trophies and building a working team, while as a player you need only worry about performing well enough to cement your place as a first-team regular. If you played career in FIFA 14 then you’ll know what to expect here, with improved presentation and scouting options being the only real changes to the working formula.
It’s straight down to Bad and Goods!
- New goalkeeper animations add diversity and visual flair
- Opposition AI is more adaptable, less predictable
- Ultimate Team’s ‘loan’ system reduces the mode’s inherent grind
- Tactics and formations are easier to implement and design
- Focus on attacking play makes for great online matches
- Commentary remains awkward
- Emphasis on exciting football could limit long-term depth
- Inconsistent AI