In a year, with multiple AAA games releasing and receiving all the hype, it is no surprise that the next installment of the FIFA 15 franchise goes a tad overlooked. Even though over 5.5 million gamers played the demo, (setting an EA record) I could not help but feel that the game was somewhat overshadowed. Even as I was in line checking out with the game in my hand, I felt no sense of urgency to play it, like I have with other games. However, as I started kicking the FIFA 15 ball around I was pleasantly surprised.
When last year’s FIFA hit next gen consoles the graphics were superb. And this year’s presentation has even improved upon that. It looks beautiful. One problem I had with FIFA 14 was that the game never really drew me in to the excitement of the match. This is one thing that FIFA 15 seems to do right. The introduction before every game is crisp, and it gets me more excited to play. The crowd seems more into the match then ever before, reacting to missed shots, aggressive tackles and good set-ups. Martin Tyler and Alan Smith are back with some fresh commentating with the help of Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend adding in bits of news here and there throughout the match. I do like how the commentators will spit out the latest happenings in the real futbol world keeping the talk nice and fresh. The cutscenes in between plays do seem a little more dynamic, making me want to actually watch what is getting replayed.
Back in FIFA 14, the menu layout got a major overhaul from FIFA 13. In this years game, the menu layout is just about the same as FIFA 14, however it does seem a bit more enhanced and is a little more appealing.
And then, there’s the music. The music in this years game is good, but forgettable. There are about three or four tracks that I like, but for the most part it isn’t the focus.
The presentation is outstanding and really creates an exciting futbol atmosphere.
When I started playing with my pro I noticed that the players move more realistically than ever. There is a flow to your movement which creates a certain finesse needed to get around defenders, and it makes scoring that much more fun. The ball finally bounces and moves like a real ball too. For some reason, in FIFA 14, the ball would always bounce and react the same way every time. However, in FIFA 15, the ball is unpredictable in a sense that you don’t know where it will bounce when it hits off of a player or the post. It makes the gameplay feel even more realistic.
The defenders you go up against seem to have a brain in their heads this time. Although if you are fast enough, running right by them seems to still work. However, the opposing defenders make bolder tackles, read the lanes well and really try to get the ball from you. It is more difficult to set up a play and to try to score than it has ever been before. Which is partially to blame for the new and improved goalkeeper. EA must have spent some time on this because the goalkeeper is vastly improved from the last game. You no longer get those easy goals that required minimal effort. The keeper will now make you work for it. Just about every one-on-one shot I had with the keeper was either blocked away or stopped. This improvement makes you plan out a set-up, and it forces you to have to execute that plan. Mind you, there will be easily scored goals, but the newly modified keeper will surprise you.
The new gameplay is much appreciated and plays fluidly.
With EA making some controversial moves this year in regards to left out game modes and features, FIFA 15 still comes with plenty. You can still dive into all of your favorite game modes such as Pro Clubs, Ultimate Team, Match Day Live, Be A Pro, Seasons and more. So it is good that FIFA 15 still comes with a lot to do. The skill challenges are also back and are really fun to do before each match. But man, they can be tough!
One thing I was kind of hoping for was that the player creation features would be different. Instead of creating a new process with new options, you will go through the exact same process as FIFA 14. Which will include all the same hair styles, kit customizations and boots (I think they did add more boots). It may not seem like a big issue, but dammit I want some Kyle Beckerman dreadlocks! The only other negative thing I found was that I could not figure out how to skip through the replays during the match. It was a little thing that could slightly slow down the pace and action of the game.
FIFA 15 really impresses with its new gameplay and improved presentation. There are some little things that I am disappointed with like the bland player creation process, but it does not necessarily take away from the experience. Though there was not a huge improvement overall, I can say that this year’s FIFA game is solid and a good step forward into the future of soccer games.