We got our hands on this year’s Fifa entry on our next-gen console. Were we impressed?
Read on and find out…
Developer: EA Sports
Reviewed on: PS4
Also available on: Xbox One
If we had to give it a numerical score: 9.0/10
What we loved
- Next-gen visuals
- Set-piece abilities
- Improved dribbling
- Improved goalkeepers
- FUT mode better than even
Not so much
- Changing direction feels a bit off
- A few AI clumsy bits here and there
Fifa 14 introduced us to the impressive new IGNITE Engine, but to me it felt awfully safe as a new entry. Don’t get me wrong, I played 14 until the night before I received Fifa 15. Fifa 14 however felt visually more impressive than any before it, and it was technically very apt, it just always impressed but never wowed me. Fifa 15 however, has taken me by surprise a little. If you played last year’s game casually, you might only be able to point out the even more impressive and realistic-looking animations. Or you might have noticed the brilliant step forward in the presentation side of things – the amazingly realistic ambiance in the stadium or the ‘Living Pitch’. You should definitely have heard and seen that players’ moods are now even depicted, boasting over 600 celebrations.
Some like me, who literally spent hundreds of hours with every Fifa in the last decade, will find quite a bit more. It’s more evident than ever that both the soccer franchises in the videogame world have learnt from each other, and I for one am grateful for this. It seems as though user feedback was really the focus with Fifa 15. I have seen little touches that I would have asked for, some of which were from the “other” camp, and have now made the cut in a Fifa game. The highlight for me, and where I think the Fifa makers just gave into, is how much of anything and everything is customizable. With Fifa games of old, the settings menu was very basic in what you could change. Fifa 15 lets you tinker with pages of various settings. Far more than changing camera angles and match times is on offer – you can tweak and adjust just about anything you want. Every last bit of assisted AI can be fiddled with, and you can therefore take the game from an exhibition to hardcore sim experience.
On the technical front, FIFA 15 is definitely advanced, but you really need to be familiar with last year’s game to REALLY see the improvements. I have noticed little tweaks here and there with player movement and mechanics in general. Small things that make a huge difference to me – things like the players’ sprinting speed which is finally as realistic as I could’ve wanted. The gameplay in general seems to have been improved up to make for the most realistic adaptation yet. Fifa 15 will encourage you to dribble a bit more, as this mechanic in general has been improved upon. Strikers can actually think about what they’re doing in the box instead of firing the moment you get anywhere near the box. You can actually drag the ball along the sidelines instead of fumbling past. The pitch play is really outstanding, it makes the pitch truly feel the size of a pitch.
Before I get carried away, yes I admit, the gameplay is not quite squeaky clean – I think an update to smoothen things out a bit is necessary, but you could easily miss these imperfections, so for the most part it’s smooth gameplay. The other aspect that doesn’t quite convince me yet, and it is born from Fifa games of old not catering at all for, is the players’ sudden change of direction – this sometimes feels and looks unnatural to me.
Another major improvement on the technical front that really has been realised in Fifa 15 is the set pieces. What was once totally vanilla in the series, is now a technical marvel. Not only can you use tactics use in set pieces, you can now even set it all up and switch control to the receiving player. So set up a corner for a near-post run for example, and then switch to the receiving player to finish off the move. So we really can look for those free-kick or corner situations, which are no longer random.
Don’t think you’ll be scoring off every set-piece though, or scoring off every shot for that matter. While the shooting in general seems to have been improved upon, or toughened up at least, the ball is not magnetically attracted to the back of the net anymore. Goals are no longer the scripted pieces that the series was once criticised for – so expect to miss. And to makes things tougher (more realistic), the goalies have clearly been tweaked to actually save the ball – they’re in top form and I for one love it.
As far as game modes go, it’s business as usual. I’m not complaining though, as my favourite Career mode, and every other mode for that matter, seems to have improved upon, clearly taking user feedback into consideration. The incredibly interesting FUT mode is better than ever, having learned and built upon an already strong platform. But again, there are little touches here and there in the various modes that make for the most complete and smooth gaming experiences. There are more tournaments options, more customization options and a wealth of information to guide you through THE most complete and competent football game yet.
I’m not sure if Fifa 15 will be the best soccer game this year, but I do know that I don’t care. As a Fifa old hand, last year’s game wasn’t quite enough to usher in my new-gen console. Fifa 15, simply put, is all I expected and wanted out of a next-gen soccer game. It is as impressive and as thorough as I would want. It does everything with the flash that expected from Fifa games, but with more technical prowess. Aesthetics aside (like I care), Fifa 15 really feels like it was build with user feedback in mind. It is not quite all perfect, but anyone that thoroughly played last year’s title, will find so many little tweaks and additions in Fifa 15, that they should easily justify splashing out for this latest offering. If you skipped last year’s game, compared to previous-gen Fifa instalments, you are in for a real surprise.
Read about our ratings here.