Gameplay: 9.5 / 10
Graphics: 8 / 10
Replay Value: 10 / 10
Sound and Music: 10 / 10
The most popular sports game franchise is back with its second next-gen release for football fans. Offering more visual additions and improved physical play, FIFA 15 is a landmark achievement in the series, thanks mostly to the fine tuned details (cutaways of the crowds, the chanting, the movement of players and the overall ambiance of the stadium) which better captures an authentic match day experience.
For those who have spent the last year mastering FIFA 14, everything you’ve learnt has probably gone out the door. With the latest release, EA has done a great job of incorporating new skills and re-inventing the style of moment for the game’s players. Try taking a shot at goals in the same manner you’ve done a thousand times before and you’ll find that the goalkeepers are now able to save them easily. As a result, the learning curve is quite big and you’ll find EA’s winning formula a lot more refined and more realistic/lifelike.
It all comes down to the little details. And FIFA 15 is filled quite a few surprises. Each player now responds authentically to any given scenario. If they feel that a player has been fouled, the players will raise their hands and call for the ref. If the ref chooses to ignore them then the game continues as normal. Ultimately this means that players are now able to make mistakes and even fumble the ball ever so often. With more pressure comes more mistakes and more hiccups. Another example would be how strikers are affected by missed opportunities. If they miss a number of shots their accuracy will be affected and cause the player to be out of form. They truly are an emotional bunch (like the real thing, of course). As the game continues the players become more aggressive with fouls and, hence, more clumsy. Of course, with all the players feeding off one another and the crowd on the field, this also means teams tend to play differently from match to match.
It’s a fine idea, one that has infiltrated the goalkeepers controls as well. For once, it seems that FIFA can boast good goalkeeper AI. Don’t expect to get past the goalie with the same trick over and over again, these guys now move and react just like the real deal. You’ll even find the goalkeeper leave the box to clear balls heading in his direction.
Man-to-man battles are also much more authentic. Players fight for the ball with shoulder barges and pulling on each other’s T-shirts. Dribbling has also become more effortless, especially with more skilled players. You’ll find that maneuvering players left or right could move the ball past defenders or cause you to clash with them directly. FIFA 15 fundamentally changes the way you compete for the ball. What is more, you’ll immediately notice the spin, curl and flight of the football has been vastly improved. The ball has its own AI, spinning and moving depending on your first touch.
Then there is the improved, more accurate refereeing. Refs now disallow goals, call back players for cards (sometimes this takes a while longer), stop fights and even make mistakes too. Gone are the robotically accurate decisions and calls.
Sadly, the graphical improvements are dramatically lacking. Unlike EA’s other sporting titles, like UFC for example, FIFA’s characters aren’t as realistic and lack detail. Sure, there are some major improvements – faces have more emotional expressions (more than 600 new reactions), body language has improved and everything is now better animated – including crowds and even the camera crews. Substitutes celebrate from the benches, players tuck at each other (pulling, pushing, shoving), crowds sing their team’s anthems (and look terribly sad when their team is losing), coaches react and even the corner flags bend when players interact with them. It is all these little details that make up the game improvements.
There have been a few complaints from critics regarding the increased amount of cut-scenes. But soccer fans will find this a good and accurate presentation of watching the sport on television.
Returning to FIFA 15 is the various game modes, including FIFA Ultimate Team and Career Mode. There is enough to keep football fanatics busy.
FIFA 15 is significantly different to FIFA 14. Make no mistake, it is the best game of football around. When the final whistle blows, it doesn’t leave you disappointed.