FIFA 16 Review
FIFA 16 is out today across the world – although EA Access Members on Xbox One have been playing for almost a week now. With every sports franchise, the question almost always becomes, “How much has this title improved on last years game.” Sometimes, the improvements are subtle, making consumers decide whether to actually upgrade last years game over this years improved version.
For FIFA 16, the answer to that question is an easy, most definitely. EA Sports has developed and released the best FIFA 16 game to date, and probably the best football title this year.
A complete overhaul of a sports title happens very infrequently. Generally, consumers are given minor improvements year over year. FIFA 15 was a fun, arcade football game, but it definitely lacked the polish that many football fans were looking for. Defenders were often unresponsive, with AI players moving into positions that made little-to-no sense whatsoever. Almost every foul felt cheap, and the ‘pace’ of the game just didn’t mimic real live football. And to be fair, a lot of those problems exist because it isn’t live football; it is a video game. That is why I was shocked to see EA Sports bring a very realistic football game from the pitch to the living room.
There is a marked improvement year-over-year for the FIFA franchise. FIFA 16 feels re-tuned, with an all new engine driving what is on the field. While games like NHL 16 and Madden 16 have seen improvements from 2014-2015 to 2015-2016, FIFA has been completely rebuilt.
Offensively, the game has remained much the same, although players speed has been reigned in significantly. On harder difficulties in FIFA 15, players only need to send balls deep into the corner where their own attacking players would get there first almost 100% of the time. FIFA 16 brings a slower pace to the video game franchise, making player rely on the midfield to move the ball up the field. This creates moments of exuberance and moments of frustration. With each feeling, the football realism seeps through. Tactical passing and using short bursts of speed at the right time are much more important, and result in a more rewarding – albeit sometimes frustrating – experience.
Defense has really been given a face lift, and it begins with slide tackles. In 2015, slide tackles were less a slide and more a tackle. In FIFA 16, players will actually slide, allowing players to break up plays they normally might not be able to. While timing these tackles will take time and practice, the satisfaction of breaking up a play that seemed out of reach is exhilarating. This ability to win the ball more easily on defense is coupled with a more intelligent AI companion. AI defenders will not longer cost you goals – at least not as frequently – since their placement on the field is more accurate to real football. This might seem minor to some, but there is nothing worse than conceding a goal when you changed players to a defender horribly out of position.
FUT Still my Favorite Mode
The reality of reviewing sports games is that there is often WAY to much to cover. For that reason, we at Games Reviews are trying to identify the biggest changes to FIFA 16. Don’t pass up on manager mode, seasons, or online play. The excellent setup for each of those modes has been retained from FIFA 15. When something works, don’t try to fix it. In almost all cases, those modes all work.
FIFA Ultimate Team also worked, but that actually didn’t stop EA Sports from adding something new this year. Nothing within the mode itself has been changed, there just has been a new addition. Draft Mode is a way more players to earn even more coins within FUT, but at a significant cost.
Players pay a hefty 15,000 coin or 300 FUT Points entry cost to enter the draft. Players then open up Ultimate Team packs for each position on the field, selecting the players they want from each pack to fill out their team. These players are not yours to keep after Draft Mode, so they cannot be transferred or used in regular FUT games. Once a team has been built, players engage in a single elimination tournament, to a maximum of 4 games. The farther you go in the tournament against other online opponents, the more coins you will earn.
This is not a huge change to FUT, but it is a new and interesting way to earn more coins. It also gives you a break from your regular FUT team and allows you to use a team of all-stars for a number of games.
There are many marked improvements to FIFA 16. The audio has been enhanced, especially that of the crowd. The rise and fall of cheers is evident depending on the state of the game. Visually, everything has been given an extra coat of polish making it the best looking FIFA game to date. Finally, the overhauled game play mechanics have given FIFA players a much more realistic game of football. Overall, there isn’t a whole lot to dislike about FIFA 16.