The stalwart developer of soccer games (EA Sports) has released its latest version, and so how does it match up to its rivals? Is it still top of the league, or have others such as PES 16 managed to relegate it and bump it out of the competition? When the game is so familiar to so many it’s arguably easy to become complacent and simply release a version each year with minimal tweaks, knowing that it will be a sure-fire winner regardless. The soccer game genre is becoming increasingly competitive, however, and so EA will surely have to up their game in order to maintain their lead in this market.
EA Sports are known for doing relatively little each year to their stalwart of the soccer game, instead relying on the strength of its popularity to happily guarantee sales. This year, however, they have devoted much time and effort in increasing the realism of the game which may or may not be welcomed. After all, a fan of the game has probably been a fan of the game for years, in which case its realism probably hasn’t been a high priority. What’s more, it’s a soccer game… Is overt realism ever likely to feature as a high priority for gamers?
What the realism does bring is a change in emphasis and style. The pace has changed, and the accuracy of your passing has increased in importance. Suddenly, tactics over speed and method over madness are the way to go with this game which, again, will be down to individuals as to how they rate this against previous versions.
One new feature which may help you to make your mind up is the FIFA Trainer, which will undoubtedly help you to refine your technique in the new world of FIFA 16 compared to previous versions. The Trainer will provide you with on-screen instructions while the gameplay is ongoing and it will refine itself depending on what is happening at that point in time, and it can easily be toggled on and off by clicking R3. For both newcomers and veterans alike, the Trainer is likely to feature helpful tips and so is likely to be one of the most positive aspects of the latest version.
Other additions or improvements aren’t necessarily game changers, but pleasantly useful all the same. The menus are simple and clear with customisable panels and there are also real world news updates – clever and engaging. There are also new information graphics which help to highlight the stars of your team before each game starts and provides player information such as transfer fees in a way which all help to get you into a footballing frame of mind as soon as the pre-match build up begins.
There is another major development – the inclusion of women’s football. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a gimmick, either. This is no case of changing the graphics of the players’ bodies; a lot of effort has been put into this section and the women’s teams certainly freshens up the gameplay. There are 12 teams and the only negative here is that they can only be played in online friendly matches and offline tournaments, but improving this is surely only a matter of looking out for further versions.
So, then, this latest incarnation is essentially FIFA 16 as we know it, but EA Sports have clearly introduced some experimental developments which we’ll watch with interest to see how well they fare in the long run. Traditionalists shouldn’t fear too much, but newcomers to the premier league of soccer games can also relax safe in the knowledge they have still bought a quality game with plenty of options and hints and tips to ease them in. EA Sports have, therefore, hit another winner.
Rating – 9.3 / 10
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