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FIFA 15 Review

Format:
FIFA finds itself at the top of the sports genre with its first truly next-generation edition.

Release Date: 25/09/2014

FIFA 15 Ultimate Team

As both a football fan and a gamer, the final days of summer are signalled by a couple of things: a new season of English Premier League, and another edition of EA Sports FIFA. Unfortunately, both of these things can lead to a surprisingly amount of heartbreak, but while the actual football season is still young, we can take a look at FIFA’s first-ever built for next gen edition in FIFA 15.

Visual stunner


It may seem trite to begin with the game’s graphical presentation, but this is where FIFA 15 sets itself apart from last year’s edition. Built from the ground up specifically to take advantage of the graphical capabilities of PS4 and Xbox One, you will have to forgive us for discussing the visuals at some length.

Venues like Old Trafford and Etihad were remodelled from the ground up, and the impressive camera pans across their facades during pre-game and halftime look breathtaking. The cynic may point out the lack of significant activity on the pathways outside the stadiums, but the structures as well as their interiors are absolutely gorgeous.

FIFA has always been about its atmosphere, and this is again where we see next-generation in force. Gone are the days of homogenised crowds full of clones and their mirrored movements. While you may catch the same fan at various spots in the crowd, each one feels like an individual with his or her own reactions.

Commentators will even point out specific fan behaviour as the game plays out, and when time is tight, you’ll even see the ball boy quickly throw a ball back onto the pitch to avoid wasted time. EA Sports refers to these efforts as Dynamic Match Presentation, and these elements, in-cluding the same club-specific chants and movements we’ve come to ex-pect, make the game feel alive.

The pitch is alive


Another feature included in FIFA 15 is the Living Pitch, which creates a more realistic field than in past iterations. As the match goes on and players run up and down the pitch, marks left on the grass never fade away. During the ample rain storms we played through, you will see chunks of grass fly into the air, and unlike last year’s game, the pitch de-grades to add another aspect of realism that enhances the game’s at-mosphere.

The realism translates into the players as well. Take this scenario: you are dribbling with Ronaldo and get hit with a hard slide by Pique. At first there might not be much of a reaction after the whistle, but a repeated offence by Pique later in the game may trigger a confrontation where Ronaldo gets up from the ground and gets in Pique’s face.

Moreover, after Pique fouls Ronaldo for the second time, other players on Real Madrid will also react negatively to the endangerment of their best player, adding drama to an already-heightened battle.

Locking down the keep


As for the actual gameplay, good luck getting the ball past the new and improved goalies this year. Developer EA Canada listened to gamer out-cry, and keepers were completely revamped to mirror the playing styles of their real-world counterparts.

In previous games, goalies moved with the grace of zombie robots, blindly following the ball across the box in hopes of getting in the way of a shot. In FIFA 15, these smarter goalies are no longer a wandering mass of digital goop. They do a better job of recognising in-game situations, like crosses into a crowded box, and they position themselves based on the flow of the game. Scoring on these remodelled stoppers will take some getting used to, but those of us up for the challenge will appreciate the change.

Deeper options available


The ability to customise team sheets in advance streamlines the FIFA experience. In previous games, hardcore players had to adjust their teams before games kicked off to exploit the opposing team’s weak-nesses. While that's not necessarily anything major to complain about, the time it took to cover all of your bases before kickoff could be a bit ex-cessive. Now you can customise team sheets with up to six different playing styles, making it easy to apply game plans based on the strengths and shortcomings of opponents.

Surprisingly, we tried our best to uncover weaknesses within the game, but outside of some minor ghosting when player close-ups are shown, there's not much to complain about. We wish there was a World Cup mode instead of having to wait for the official FIFA World Cup game to come out every four years. Additional tournaments and enhanced League customisation options to promote unique world competitions wouldn't hurt either, and we would have liked to see a few more online options for filtering teams or types of players when choosing opponents.

Ultimately, FIFA 15 succeeds in creating the ultimate football experience for fans. Whether you want to manage a club to a Champions League Ti-tle, or have a 10 year career with a custom player, FIFA 15 delivers. This year’s edition sets a high bar for football games, and we can only wonder about what EA will have to bring to the table to impress us with FIFA 16.

GAME's Verdict: 9/10

The Good

  • Gorgeous visual presentation brings you into the game.
  • Improved keepers make the game more of a challenge.
  • A variety of modes make this a long-lasting game in your library.

The Bad

  • Additional tournament modes would have been nice to see.
  • If you aren’t into the core mechanics of FIFA’s gameplay, this won’t change your mind.
  • Very minor visual issues during player close-ups.

 

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Pegi Rating:

Suitable for people aged and over.

Genre

Sport

Customer Rating:

No rating yet

SKU:

Reviews-305327

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