By Aitch Cee
Fans got FIFA 14 last year on the new consoles and in all fairness it was a high resolution version of the current gen models. While it had a few tweaks here and there, fans still eagerly awaited what the new FIFA 15 version to see what it could do. Many got the opportunity to do so with EA Access’s early admission to the game and got a chance to see what the improvements are.
After playing a few games, FIFA 15 has a noticeably weightier feel to it. And by that I mean that the game feels less arcade-like that it has in past years and more strategic in gameplay. Gone are the days when you can pinball passes around hoping for an easy score when now every pass you play needs to be played right but more on that in a moment.
In this department, I have to say that there are times when FIFA 15 shines and times when it really doesn’t. EA did a lot of work in fixing some of the players’ facial models to make them look more like their real world counterparts but in a lot of places they still miss. Also EA Sports still really needs to take cues from 2K Sports in really bringing players to life as you still don’t get to see a lot of what sets players apart including their tattoos.
The stadiums for the most part looks better and it looked like EA finally squashed one of the weird lighting bugs that has been occurring since the FIFA 12 iteration that caused the game to go to night time temporarily when players subbed in and out. While the crowds do look less like 2D pop outs, It’s still too many clumps of people doing the same thing that really keeps them from looking individualized but, we really didn’t come to this game to watch the crowd, right?
The lighting effects while better still leaves a lot to be desired as there are times I am wondering why a game played at 9pm still has the look of a 3pm afternoon affair.
One of the bigger improvements in FIFA 15 is in the menus. One of the touches I really liked is the ability to create and save your starting line ups so with a few easy clicks you can easily plug in your Starting XI with little fuss. But now there is so much more one can do within those menus such as creating and improving formations, deciding what particular players will do as far as possibly defending or attacking, widening or closing his space and much more. You get to tinker so much with your formations and tactics, and once you find what you like, you can save it.
The commentary this year is much more dynamic in years past and so far what I have noticed is that there are very few dead spots in the game when there isn’t commentary going on. EA Sports has also improved how the ticker looks as well as in game graphics including scores from other matches. EA Sports has really started taking lessons from 2K Sports in how to actually present a game and give it a lifelike feel.
This is the biggest improvement made to the same since FIFA 13. Now instead of canned animations, there will be more jostling for the ball, shirt pulling and even some shoving. A big improvement is also how players bring in passes. The ball just doesn’t “stick” to the foot when passed. Players have to be conscious of the fact that passes may get away from time to time and balls may take unexpected bounces like what occurs in real games. One thing I did notice is that sometimes, there may be instances when passes are made and a ball gets loose and sometimes the AI doesn’t always respond right away and on the flip side of that, I have noticed now when players are in the box, if shots are missed, especially as the bang off the posts, players on both sides now make more of an effort to get to the ball. Also depending on the score situation, one can notice how the AI’s demeanor can change. They will make more of an effort to secure a win if they are ahead by playing more defensively or get more aggressive to get the ball if you are ahead. A few other tweaks I have noticed is that you can give team mates instructions during corner kicks such as to crowd the goalkeeper, or go to the near or far post. Also the goalkeeper can give instructions during goal kicks. Either way, as you play, games do tend to have a certain feel to it as it’s not as arcade-like as it has been, it’s not as easy to always get the ball back and forth on the pitch and score as depending on your opponent, they can and will play aggressively. Also I am not too sold on EA’s touting of the emotions engine. You can see players get happy or frustrated during games but to me, it nothing that you haven’t seen before.
This year’s FIFA 15 is a nice strep forward into the next gen lifecycle. While there are certainly a few more issues that EA could improve on, FIFA 15 is moving in the right direction to further its claim of being the better game over PES. While the graphics may have improved somewhat, the presentation and gameplay is a big step forward in keeping fans wanting to play.
It will release in the US on September 23, 2014, in Europe on September 25th, 2014 and in the UK on September 26th, 2014.
On a scale of one to 5 it gets a 4.