EA’s FIFA video game franchise started way back in 1993, since then we’ve received an annual release. The series has cemented itself as the most liked and played football simulator, although Pro Evolution has at times, posed as a great alternative.
FIFA 14 was the first football (soccer) title to release on the PS4, which has set the building blocks for next-gen, and what a gem it was. One thing we didn’t have was something to compare it to; PES 14 skipped a PS4 or XBOX One release. However, this will not be the case with PES 15, which will be arriving in November.
As expected, we don’t see major changes with FIFA 15; we have the typical subtle improvements, which are always a welcome delight. I’m sure you’re itching to know exactly what has changed, however small, other than simply the team and player ratings.
Two new tactic options are now present which are park the bus and all out attack. These allow for deeper strategy when playing, giving you a more precise decision of how deeply you might wish to defend or attack. For example, if it’s coming towards the final whistle and you are in need of a goal, you’ll probably select the all out attack option. Of course, you can use the park the bus option to help protect an important lead.
Player animations have been improved, most notably goalkeepers. They look more realistic and their movements are far more accurate. Even the pitch itself is more lifelike thanks to the marks left by player’s boots and tackles. When you start a match you’ll notice the grass is fresh, as you make tackles and race around, the turf will become messy, just how it does in our none-virtual world. The weather visuals are similar to before, however, the snowy effect looks better than ever and stunning – you can see players breathing out the moisture vapour (which looks like smoke) due to the cold temperatures, another small but nice realistic animation.
The menus are familiar but better presented; they’re slicker and easier to navigate around. You’ll also notice how the game has a more advanced TV broadcast presentation style, making it look as close to reality as we've seen in a FIFA game to date. Replays are now shown with new speed settings, for example, if you blast a shot and it’s only millimetres from going in, you’ll be rewarded with a super slow motion view of the player’s reaction.
The English Premier League also gets special treatment this time around, why? All 20 EPL stadiums are featured; this means you’ll see a birds eye presentational view of your club before the match starts. If you haven't already worked it out, I’m personally a big Aston Villa fan, so playing at Villa Park is something I’ve been waiting on now for ages, and a real treat. There was nothing worse and more unrealistic than having to play in the generic Ivy Lane stadium.
Your favourite pals are back, that's if you're playing the English language version of the game, that's right - Martin Tyler, Alan Smith/Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend are all once again the voices behind the commentary. This has been somewhat dull and repetitive in the last few FIFA offerings, this time around it feels far more refreshed, and you actually feel as though it's adding some value to the gameplay. However, I’m sure after months of playing, once you've adjusted to all of the new narration, it will become annoying once again. Perhaps EA could update the commentary once in a while? This is something only time will tell.
I’m going to be totally honest; FIFA Ultimate Team is something I’ve rarely got involved with. I’m the type of player who likes to simply get straight in to an online game of football. However, if you wanted to hear that Ultimate Team was better than ever, then you’ve just got your wish. It really is the best Ultimate Team to date. EA knew this was something important; this is because there are 12 million fans of the feature. For those who are newcomers to the feature, it’s basically a card trading system where you can purchase or sell new cards. The idea is to create dream teams. A new planning tool called Concept Squads is the big addition here; it lets you group players in practice teams to see the chemistry before you decide to purchase – cool, right?
Don’t expect huge changes with FIFA 15, the core elements remain the same; however, there are plenty of small new additions which make this the best FIFA game ever released. You won’t find a better game on the market, generally because there aren’t any, perhaps PES 15 might offer something really special and give us all a real alternative, but for now your best option is FIFA 15.