Ask almost anyone what the biggest sport on the planet is and they’ll probably say football. The same would probably apply when asking a gamer what the biggest sports game is; their answer is most likely going to be FIFA. The series has gained quite a following over the years with almost every instalment being an improvement over the last. FIFA 15 has been released recently and seems to take a few good steps forward while also taking a few steps back.
FIFA 15 plays rather similarly to last year’s instalment of the popular football game. Fans of the series need not be worried about any major changes as gameplay remains largely the same. However, there are some tweaks to the game which improve the experience with FIFA 15. Goalkeeping has been improved with keepers now being more fluid in their actions; they will now twist their bodies in an attempt to match the flight pattern of the ball. This is exactly what a real keeper would do and definitely adds to the realism of the game.
Unlike FIFA 14, this year’s instalment has a lot less glitches present in the game. There were times where players would experience instances where a keeper would dive to the opposite side of where the ball was going. For example, a player would shoot left while the keeper would dive all the way right. Thankfully this has been fixed with FIFA 15 and goalkeepers are a little challenging to beat at times. However, I did notice that they seem to panic a little when a player from the opposing team gets really close to their position in front of the net; I took this as my opportunity to score nearly every time. Getting through the defensive back line can be quite challenging but it certainly is exhilarating when you manage to do so right before scoring. It’s actually equally exciting even when not scoring. As a newcomer to the most recent FIFA titles, I enjoyed this quite a bit and could feel my hands tensing up when they were wrapped around my controller.
As mentioned before, breaking through the opponent’s defence can be a challenging affair; this is mostly due to the willingness of your opponent’s AI block the ball at any cost. However, the same cannot be said for the AI players on your team. Most times, I found that the AI players on my team failed to anticipate my passing of the ball to them and because of this, would lose possession of the ball. Being in possession of the ball, however, is a significantly more enjoyable than attempting to steal it away from your opponent. It’s as if the opposing team’s players have a shield around them. Players are going to have to try a lot harder when trying to steal the ball as opposition AI have learned to shift their weight to dodge an incoming sliding tackle. Manage to land a tackle, however, and you may just see one of your players earning themselves a yellow card. That applies to accidental collisions too.
Visually, FIFA 15 doesn’t really fail to impress but it does have a few issues. The addition of wear and tear to players’ uniforms is a small but noticeable feature which contributes to the overall experience. The animations of players dribbling look more fluid and definitely more realistic. With regards to realism, FIFA 15 features instances where the game would cut away from the action for a moment to show a highlight from a match. These range from a recently scored goal to a tackle that may have resulted in a free kick. It’s a nice touch that makes you feel as if you’re watching an actual football match. However, these can take some time and cannot be skipped. While I do like the cutaway feature, I feel that it should be optional; or at the very least, skippable.
Audio wise, FIFA 15 does some good and some bad. The roar of a crowd during a match is enough to make the player feel quite immersed when playing and is something that has improved over the years. The commentary, however, seems to have taken a strange twist. Martin Tyler and Alan Smith have done a decent job at recording commentary but some of it seems a little inconsistent in that each commentator has their own aspect that they would like to focus on. One tends to comment on the FIFA World Cup while the other focuses on how the ball entered the net. The two never seem to stay on one topic and this can be rather jarring for the player.
FIFA 15 features some decent upgrades but also takes a few unnecessary steps back. While it isn’t a terrible instalment, it does seem to favour a more comprehensive list of new features than it does its attempt to deliver a well-rounded football simulation experience. However, it’s a little hard to deny that FIFA 15 is most likely the best football game on the market.
Lasting appeal: 9/10
Known as Brady Ruiters by day and GuitarDemon by night (Well, on the PSN mostly…) Professional, creative and frank, a self-proclaimed gaming journalist moulded by a passion and fascination for gaming and music, and in turn, taking a crack at shaping the rest of the world with the very same obsession. That, however, remains a trying task.