“Just look at that fouls”

After a couple of months playing the new FIFA, we are able to confirm this is not the best FIFA ever. While the franchise is an icon to sports games, and one that will be hardly defeated on the short term, EA is playing on amateur mode and just resting on their laurels thanks to past successes. On the opposite sidewalk, Konami’s PES is speeding up and might not be so far behind.

FIFA 16

Publisher: EA
Developer: EA Canada
Available On: PlayStation 4, Android, PlayStation 3, Xbox One (tested), iOS, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows

fifa-16-new

Layout

First issue is the strongest one. As always, EA remains adamant about their strongholds. They have encountered a GUI that they like and they have stuck to it firmly. I personally hate the layout. The divided and stick handled mode rectangles are not only hideous but repetitive already. Those cosmetics changes may do some good in the future. At this point, it seems that the game is the same over and over again. The same old training field. The same tests (how many times will I take those free kicks on exactly the same positions?), the same options. And obviously the same game modes. Don’t get me wrong, they are brilliant, funny and addictive. They are also the same modes featured in the game’s last five editions.

FIFA 16 1In this new installment they gave a step forward in a much appreciated social way. EA included all eight female international squads. This event helps a lot to make woman feel included on our wrongly described “Manly Gaming World”. Hopefully this aspect of the game will continue to grow with every and each future iteration of the game, taking the amount of female squads to higher grounds. It will be appreciated.

For what it’s left, a change of colors does not make a “new game”. Sometimes EA and FIFA remind me of those Famicom bootleg cartridges with “1000 games”, where 900 of them were the same game with a color tweaking. Maybe, and this is an idea, Electronic Arts should change FIFA’s year surname to “Just another FIFA”.

Dynamics

Now, let’s get where the important things happen. The green field of dreams. The stadium. The grass. The players running wild behind footballs. Oh damn, what a beautiful sport. FIFA’s dynamic is even sweeter than years before. The collisions are so much more detailed now. Doing a tackle makes you feel more like a rugby player than a football one. The violence is formidable. The feeling of the joystick when you make an aggressive foul is vibrant.

FIFA 16 2

I’m a more slow paced player. I work the angles. Touch the ball to the flanks trying to broad the opposing team and find open spots. I don’t like the ones that, in a hectic fashion, are always looking for the through pass and just keep pressing the triangle (or Y, in this case). That’s not only not realistic but also, an ugly way to play. You see, football is not a sport of speed, but a sport of velocities. The one who handles better the speed and acceleration and knows when to rest is –usually- the one who wins (every time there’s not an internet connection involved).

Why do I explain all of these? Well, because FIFA just got more realistic. Passing sucks if the player holding the ball has no good stats on that field. There’s always the option of tuning the options but where’s the fun in that?
So, passing now requires skill and you won’t look like Barcelona right from the start. That, for more arcade gamers will be a turn off. But for simulator lovers may be the real winner of the competition. Now, this is not enough being the champion in the race against PES which got a really excellent edition. There aren’t real visual changes between 15 and 16 edition that were made with the Ignite engine. They are mostly the same game but with those changes I numbered.

Conclusion

The deal is this: if you are a FIFA follower you’ll love this edition just in the same way you liked the ones before. No biggy. The game is like, exactly the same. A carbon copy you would say, but with slight changes and improvements that give reason to the price tag. The online is beautiful and some of the new inclusions like the female teams and the possibility of leveling your player by performing the skill games are much appreciated but they don’t make the game what it was: a revolutionary football simulator. Scoring is easy when you find out the AI weaknesses (coming from the corner and shooting to the opposite side).
I always liked FIFA. I owned FIFA ’94 to ’97 for Sega Genesis, and then I played like a madman the tremendous FIFA Road to World Cup ’98 because all those games changed the way it was before they came out. They reinvented the scene. They did it again a few years ago. Now, again, they are stalling.

 

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