By FRANCO PANIZO
Christmas has once again come early. At least, for soccer gamers it has.
EA Sports released its much-anticipated FIFA 15 video game on the Xbox One, Playstation 4, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 consoles in North America on Tuesday, giving fans the chance to get their hands on the latest installment of the popular franchise. FIFA 15 comes equipped with all the favorite game modes that soccer aficionados across the globe have come to know and love, and also offers an upgrade in several departments.
Along with the customary updated rosters for clubs and country, FIFA 15’s gameplay has been refined to further resemble the world’s most popular sport. Passes, crosses, runs and shots are a lot less perfect than they have been in years past, making for a more realistic and enjoyable experience.
The artificial intelligence of goalkeepers has had a drastic makeover, thanks in part to Tim Howard. Goalkeepers react much better, make smarter decisions in terms of coming off their lines, and tend to avoid the type of frustrating in-game brain farts that made gamers want to hurl their wireless controllers through their TVs in years past.
The very popular FIFA Ultimate Team is back and so is Seasons, complementing all the other well-known offline modes to give the $60 video game the type of replay value that will have fans playing for many months to come.
SBI got its hands on a copy of FIFA 15 over the weekend, and spent some time playing it to offer up a review for those who might be on the fence about getting the game. Here are some good and bad things that were noticeable during the initial hours of gameplay:
Right off the bat, you will notice that FIFA 15 is nowhere near as “perfect” as its predecessors. It feels a little heavier and you have more control of how the players respond. It seems like the developers have pushed the game in the direction of being more manual than automatic.
That is a good thing, as the game plays much more like its real life counterpart, with subtle slight touches and barely overhit passes killing promising attacks or spells of possession. There are still moments when the dreaded ping-pong passing works too effectively, but for the most part everything is harder to execute and makes it feel more rewarding when you do piece together an impressive attacking sequence.
Speaking of harder, scoring goals is not going to be easy in this version of FIFA. Along with the improved goalkeepers, shooting has been tweaked so as to be less accurate. Shots tend to go high and wide more frequently, and it matters now more than ever if you have your player kicking with his preferred foot.
You’re going to miss attempts that you’re used to making, but you will not be too frustrated because it will feel a bit more real and games won’t end in a 5-4 shootout in regulation as often as they have in the past.
The graphics are incredible like usual, but it still does not feel like players have individuality aside from their body shapes and sizes. Speed is the only real distinguishable trait, and you still cannot really tell apart the styles of play of, say, a Landon Donovan from a Thierry Henry, which is a shame and something that Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer has done better than FIFA for many years now.
There are also still times during gameplay when the defense and midfield inexplicably fail to connect, especially after kickoffs. It is too easy, too often, for opponents to bypass the midfield and have a favorable matchup with numbers against the back line, which will leave you aggravated.
FIFA 15 does do a lot right, however, and this game feels different enough from its predecessor to warrant a purchase. Yes, it has its flaws, but overall it is another step in the right direction by EA Sports.
FIFA 15 away, folks.
Will you be getting FIFA 15? What system are you buying it for?Anything in particular that has you really excited about this year’s edition? Which teams and players are you most looking forward to play with? It has not happened yet, but would you be interested in an SBI FIFA league?
Share your thoughts below.