Thursday, 1 October 2015

FIFA 16 Review

FIFA 16 is a landmark for the franchise - Women's National Teams are finally in the game (Yet not deemed important enough to have clubs) but has it really changed? The sporting behemoth has been ridiculed a little over the past couple of years for not changing much, even though the games have been as enjoyable as ever. FIFA 16, however, seems to have taken a backwards step.

What's most obvious when you start up a game is how drastically the gameplay formula has been changed again - though if you didn't played FIFA 15, you probably won't. FIFA 16 has set out to become a more realistic, believable game that simulates football better than ever and it easily achieves that goal. However, these changes seem to have affected the fun of the franchise negatively - sometimes too much realism is a bad thing.

The gameplay feels a lot less dramatic, a lot more grounded, and overall less exciting. It feels a lot harder to say, shoot into the top corner, make a last-ditch slider tackle or execute a tiki-taka move. Pace has been hugely nerfed (As expected, according to FIFA pattern) which makes games a lot less frustrating - no constant Real Madrid vs Real Madrid matches - but also forces you to innovate in attack.

Defenders have also been buffed a lot, and the AI has been greatly improved to become even more intelligent - yet slightly too overpowered. If you fail to tackle your opponent, your AI teammates will often succeed, catching up to even the fastest players that have beaten them. Offense is more about passing rather than crossing or running, which is good for defending players but a little annoying for attackers.

The defensive options have been changed a lot, too. There are more ways than ever to defend the goal based on the situation you're in, but it requires a lot more concentration and judgement than defending in previous installments. Using the same tactic over and over again never works, which means you've got to learn all of the controls in order to defend effectively. Still, expect your AI buddies to bail you out of bad situations - it's the best FIFA AI in a while, yet it allows you to sit back and relax a little at times when you really shouldn't be able to, making attacking a lot more frustrating for the other team. Whereas in FIFA 15 most matches were played on the wing, FIFA 16 matches are scrappy, dirty and always played in midfield.

Anyone who wants a realistic football sim rather than an acradey fun approach (A la PES, which I reviewed for Push Square) will be satisfied with FIFA 16 as it's a lot more tactical than previous games, yet it does sacrifice the end-to-end game that many FIFA players have come to love. While games are little less pulse-raising and a little less magical, you can still have some great moments when playing matches, they're just few and far between.

Still, for anyone that wants to retrain and relearn the ropes of the beautiful game, the FIFA Trainer has been added to help. Giving you context-sensitive instructions for both newbies and long-time players, it can be turned off with a click of the right stick. It does feel a little like it's holding your hand, showing you where to go and what button to press, but it does feel very helpful and can help you perfect your ability, making it a good place to start for newcomers.

Off the pitch, FIFA 16 is a lot more positive and well-made. Of course, we have some beautiful presentation and menus that the FIFA franchise is always known for, along with plenty of news updates to keep you connected to the football world. I especially liked the customizable main menu that's also present in PES, as it gives the menu a personal touch and allows you to get right into the mode that you love.There's a lot more data and graphics shown during matches than usual, and while they can be a bit of a nuisance, they do make the games a little more believable and add that special something.

There's no real graphical change; the grass looking nice and the players looking good. The new stadiums look and sound nice, but there are some graphical and collision glitches that are quite obvious and occur quite often. In all honesty, the game needs a visual upgrade, because it's starting to look a little stale. The women player models have had just as much care put into them as the men, it's just a shame that the options for them are so limited. Hopefully in future games there'll be women's clubs, Ultimate Team cards etc. but for now it's simply exhibition matches.

The other big addition is FUT Draft, as showcased by a great Jamie Carragher/Gary Neville video back at gamescom. It allows you to play with much better players without having to work too hard, and the whole "Here's the players, you sort them out" spiel makes for quite a fun mode, especially with the huge assortment of gifted players. Still, the problem is it costs 15,000 coins to by a FUT Draft token, which feels like a waste when you could be buying some good players, especially with how hard it is to earn coins in Ultimate Team.

While FUT Draft and Women's Football are some great additions to the franchise, and the presentation is as stellar as ever, it feels like FIFA 16 has made some big mistakes in terms of gameplay - defense feels a bit too overpowered, for instance. Still, FIFA 16 will be a great entry for newcomers and fans of the franchise alike, but anyone who's bored by how stale it all feels should move franchises and start playing PES.

Thanks to EA for the review copy!

1 comment:

    Then you probably need additional coins!
    Start auto-trading with FUT Millionaire.