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FIFA 15 Review

I've been playing FIFA ever since EA first released the game on the MegaDrive sometime back in 1994. I was only a kid then but I distinctly remember it being the best thing I'd ever seen. Fast forward 20 odd years and how things have changed, with realistic graphics, 3D crowds and footballers who'd rather visit a salon than get their shorts dirty. It's fair to say that FIFA has come a long way, although with so many yearly releases of this game, you begin to wonder if it's starting to stall a little.

Before I give my thoughts on the game in general, it's best to start with what FIFA 15 - beautiful. The players look more realistic than ever; the match atmosphere is stunning; there's the addition of yet more licensed stadiums; new terrace chants and pitches with grass so real you want to reach out and touch the screen.

This year's next gen version is also more fleshed out thanks to the return of Tournament mode, which was sadly removed from FIFA 14 on PS4/Xbox One, while other modes such as Ultimate Team, Career mode and all the like remain. There are a few additions to some of the modes, for instance, in Ultimate Team you can now loan players, allowing you to try out some of the superstars such as Messi for a few games at a time. This gives you a chance to get some great players in your team for a limited time. Another new feature in Ultimate Team is The Concept Squad, where players have access to the game's database and can create a dream squad. This allows you to plan future squads should you ever get these players in card packs or purchase them from the transfer market.

The cynical person in me does wonder if these changes to Ultimate Team is EA's way of enticing you to spend more cash on FIFA points so that you can to get these players on your team full time. They are a business after all.

So what about on the pitch? after all that's where the action is. Well, there have been changes here and not always for the better. The action feels slower to me, while passing feels more rapid. There's also new dribbling controls, allowing even an amateur player to change direction without having to make too much effort. To counter this, Defending has been tightened up, opponents now seem to read the ball better and anticipate the moves you are going to make, they are also much more adept at last minute tackles, even when they've made the mistake in the first place.

When defending for yourself you begin to see the error of FIFA 15's ways. Sure it's nice that any player can dribble easily, but the defending doesn't seem to have caught up, meaning that you'll often lose silly goals to average players. It really does feel like the balance has been lost in this respect, which is why I found myself switching to legacy defending after getting frustrated with the experience.

I think what's happened to make the defending so frustrating is that the slide tackles are now less effective, meaning that any tackle you do make will need to be well time and pretty much on the mark, otherwise you'll lose goal after goal. Now this may not be seen as a flaw to some, since it arguably provides for a more realistic experience, but if like me you've been playing FIFA for years, you'll probably agree that it's a steep learning curve and more importantly a little less fun.

To add to all of this, the goalkeepers have changed, as they'll now charge from the penalty area and make saves that you'd only previously have seen on match of the day. Combined with the difficulty you'll have in getting the ball on target in the first place, thanks to what can only be described as new ball physics, you'll probably find it a lot tougher to score a goal, that in FIFA 14, would probably have been in the back of the net.

In general the football on the pitch is pretty great and I have to say that switching to legacy defending solved most of my issues with the game. There are some other niggling issues that will need to be patched mind you, for instance I got a penalty when it was flagged as a goal kick, both by the linesman and the commentators. I also heard the commentators call "Man City" "Leicester City" and the camera angle changed a few times during a match without my say so. These are all issues that can be easily fixed of course, so I'm not going to dwell on them too much.

If there is one game I love more than most, it's FIFA. I'm a huge football fan and a huge video game fan, so it's the perfect combination really. I always give the game every chance to impress me and generally it does so with flying colours. This year's version is no different, I'm very impressed with the changes to the goalkeepers, attacking and the general feel of the game, however somethings that have been changed feel like they have been for the sake of it and for all the talking up of features such as the emotion engine, emotional intelligence and living pitches, you do wonder why this couldn't have been given to us in a patch. I mean what is so different that EA couldn't say, "right, here's an online patch with improvements, new stadiums and a kit update, that'll be £20 please." 

Often I think that an online patch for each version is the way EA should go, then I remember that this game is making EA a fortune and will continue to do so, even if all it did was give in with the improvements and change the kits each year.

Is FIFA 15 excellent? Yes, but isn't the game always excellent? Sometime change for the sake of it can be a bad thing, so while I'd highly recommend FIFA 15 as a game in its own right, I'm not exactly holding my breath for the sweeping changes that FIFA 16 will bring.

Words by Joe Anderson.
Twitter: _wotta | PSN/Xbox LIVE: wotta

(Version Tested: PS4)


+ Looks fantastic
+ Good improvements to goalkeepers
+ Great atmostphere
+ Lots of new stadiums
+ Loan players in Ultimate Team


- Balance between attack and defence feels slightly uneven
- Glitches that need patched

Edited On 25 Sep, 2014

( 3 )
piglet0's avatar
piglet0 2 years ago
Same ere it was fifa on the mega drive i was 23 at the time it was brilliant for it time,i go back futher to match of the day on the spectrum 1982
Anonymous user's avatar
Kwan 2 years ago
What is legacy defending? Would changing to legacy revert to manual controls when defending?
Joe2120's avatar
Joe2120 2 years ago
It's the old style defending. Still uses classic controls.

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