By Rohan Ahluwalia
Every year in September, soccer fans around the world rejoice as yet another version of the “FIFA” video game series is released. Each year, we are gifted with brand new updates, including upgrades in player ratings, based on their real life performance. New options are also added to the game’s many modes, while a brand new soundtrack enhances the “FIFA” experience.
The newest release, “FIFA 16,” is undoubtedly no different. With the great success of “FIFA 15” last year, EA Sports had quite a task on their hands if they were to see the same kind of success with their latest release of the series this year. While the gameplay is much more realistic and engaging in “FIFA 16,” the overall problems with “FIFA” seem to still exist in this latest edition.
The first thing one will notice when playing the game is the tightening of the opposing defenders. The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is now engineered to work more as a unit, restricting angles to shoot or pass, closing down more quickly and providing more support when attempting a tackle. In “FIFA 15,” players were usually able to skillfully get around a defender and score a goal without much difficulty, but they will now need to work much harder to score points. Meanwhile, the passing is a lot faster in the midfield, but so is the ability for the CPU to intercept your pass easily.
Overall, the defense is a lot stronger, making it harder for strikers and attackers to get easy, unrealistic goals, which seemed to be an issue in “FIFA 15.” You also don’t get speedy midfielders who are able to run through the field and score with ease. Instead, a pass or two will be needed. This increases the gaming experience for soccer enthusiasts as you can now turn a ball from the back into a goal, through a fast-break assault, with everyone on the team contributing in one way or another. The negative, however, is that one can get caught in the midfield, with many tight passes intercepted — this now begins the battle to win back the ball, which is no easy feat anymore.
These changes make “FIFA 16” more authentic, but may make it harder to enjoy as a video game. It is a change from the usual “FIFA,” which is supposed to be an exciting game with end-to-end plays, few passes and the occasional super goal. Now the game is more technical and defensive, but also more realistic. As such, gamers will be forced to think about how they will get the ball into the net successfully before making a move.
“FIFA 16” may not be the same game that promises unrealistic superstar plays and goals that seemingly happening every minute. Instead, it is a now game where one can gain a sense of achievement from carefully building up your play with quick passes and skillful goal scoring that Arsene Wenger or Pep Guardiola would be proud of. “FIFA 16” makes its players work each goal.
In terms of the game modes, some improvements have been made. The most significant being the addition of women’s international sides. Riding on the back of a very successful FIFA Women’s World Cup last summer, EA Sports decided to add on a women’s side to the game with gamers now able to play with the women’s team from England, Canada, France or the U.S.
Unfortunately, gamers cannot play as a women’s team against a men’s side, but that does not take away from how fun a game between two women’s teams can be. While the ability for a striker to get a shot off seems slower, the female players have generally been given strong attributes. This is definitely a good start for the introduction of women to the most mainstream sports game in the world.
Career mode, meanwhile, sees the same split, with one being able to choose whether they want to start a “career” as a player or head coach. This time there is more emphasis given to player development, such that gamers can train up to five players a week and thus improve their player’s attributes. The added World Cup in 2018 and beyond is also a nice touch, especially with qualifiers being part of the journey.
In the end, the final verdict is that EA Sports have decided to leave behind the quick, end-to-end type of game that everyone was used to in the previous editions in order to create a more authentic and mentally challenging type of game. If you are a soccer fan, interested in the mechanics and tactics within the game, then this is probably the best “FIFA” you will ever play.