FIFA 15 REVIEW

It is that time of year again soccer fans, FIFA 15 is here. This is the first iteration made for the next-gen consoles and man… is it awesome!

WHATS NEW

The latest edition of FIFA has brought us a new way to track your favorite club and their progress throughout the year. “Match Day Live” is a central hub where you can follow one club and their players as the season in real life plays out including news headlines, team stats and their current standing in their league’s table. It will have regular updates that will reward teams and players that are doing well as well as ones that are struggling. The nice thing is that the stat modifications can be turned off while playing a pick up game so that a team’s recent struggles will not impact you if you do not want it to.

FIFA Ultimate Team also brings new offerings to the table to give you a more real-world feel including the ability to sign players on a loan. This is an aspect of contracts that is unique to soccer compared to any other sport where you can sign a player for a set amount of games and then after that term expires, the player goes back to their parent club.

As many players have found, the FUT servers have having problems with games disconnecting. The game will play out as normal but as you go to exit the game will disconnect making the match and everything that happened disappear. EA is well aware of the issue and have even put up a form on the Community forum for players to fill out that asks you about the match and your internet connection so they can gather more information to fix the bug. Until then FUT is an after thought to most players which is disappointing considering how much fun the mode is.

PRESENTATION

Stamford Bridge Home to Chelsea FC

Being the first game that was made for the new consoles you would expect the graphics to impress and that could not be anymore evident. EA boasts that all 20 English Premier League stadiums have been copied in full detail to make the game look as real as possible and they have delivered. Everything from the red brick dugouts at Old Trafford to the giant scoreboard at the end of White Hart Lane has been recreated. You are also going to see some of the big named clubs have their stadium recreated as well like Camp Nou for Barcelona and the Allianz Arena for Bayern Munich but most teams use generic stadiums.

The stadiums are not the only thing that has gotten a face lift, the fans and sounds also have become more realistic. As shown in the opening game of Arsenal vs. Manchester City at Anfield, the chants and songs have become more accurate. It is not uncommon now to hear those Liverpool fans singing their trademark “You’ll Never Walk Alone” or the Manchester United fans various players names.

The playing surfaces have also gotten much more realistic, like the changes to the ice in NHL 15, the soccer pitch will

Reheem Sterling (Liverpool FC) cuts between a pair of defenders

degrade throughout the match. As the match progresses and slide tackles happen there will be cuts in the grass where the tackles occurred and in the high traffic areas around the center circle.

There have been more cut scenes added that you would see in a game on TV. Everything from a panning in as you prep for a corner kick or a keeper prepping for a goal kick gives that extra bump to the game to make it play out more like a game you are watching would feel. One place I have noticed the biggest improvement is the goal scoring celebrations. As in NHL 15 the kits, or jerseys, have been given that extra touch of fluidity that really shines in these close ups. EA has also added in the ability to interact with the corner flags because who does’t want to jump kick them to rub your recent goal in your opponent’s face?

GAMEPLAY

Anyone who has played FIFA in the past knows how smooth the game play is and FIFA 15 is no different. Using the EA Ignite system, EA has been able to bring forth the most realistic feeling game play to date. The passing and ball control tactics have been sharpened and of course the striking has been fine tuned. EA has added in set piece tactics, which allow you to have your teammates crash the near or far post as well as crowd the keeper to give you that extra advantage to your upcoming corner kick.

One thing that EA made special mention of is the goalkeeper play in this new version for those willing to take on the task.

Seasoned players know that in the past if you started a career as a keeper there was an annoying bug that made your match rating decrease for no reason if you were the away team. This would cause your player to not play for weeks at a time so most players would abandon the season and play as another position. Luckily this has been resolved and the only time your rating will go down is if you deserve it.

FINAL VERDICT

9/10. The latest installment of the FIFA series is amazing. If EA can manage to fix the connection issues with FUT the game would be next to perfect. It is a must own for any soccer fan regardless if you are a die hard or casual fan of the beautiful game. Buy it. Now.

+ Incredible graphics

+ Most realistic and precise game play to date

+ Much needed overhaul of keeper controls

– FUT server issues

-Noticed frame drops while camera follows the ball playing as a keeper

Follow Chris Austin on Twitter or find him on XBox Live (Gamertag: Caustin588)

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*Pictures from the EA Sports FIFA 15 webpage

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