FIFA 16 PS4 Review

This year’s installment of the multi-million unit selling FIFA series returns with not many improvements, but what is there and what has been added takes the game closer to the real-world experience. Electronic Arts have went with the ‘Play Beautiful’ mantra this year and it shows in-game as players have more ability on the ball to pull off the sensational and defenses are more organized thanks to the new AI covering system that does away with the gaping holes left in your backline in the FIFAs of yesteryear.

Harry Kane, 2nd top goal scorer of the 2015 English Premier League

Starting with the raw gameplay, this year’s FIFA somehow manages to add only 3 notable changes and yet still plays much better than last year’s almost arcade-style entry. Players now have the ability to pull off satisfying driven passes, can dribble with the new no-touch system that allows you to feint in all sorts of directions to beat your opponent without a touch of the ball, and most importantly, thanks to the changes made to the passing system, can play with a more realistic style. No longer can one launch an inch perfect ball when they are not even looking at the general direction of their intended pass. While this sometimes slows down the gameplay, it adds a grand level of realism as you must now play out of your area with a little more caution and are sometimes forced to play it safe, akin to the actual sport. Thus it makes it all the more satisfying when you are able to pull off a one-two play with a back-heel into the path of your striker before finishing. Shots are now punchier from outside the box but seem to also be a little more scripted, with one on ones more gratifying than in previous games as strikers are now in control in those situations more so than the goalkeeper, with players being able to simply pass it through the legs of the keeper or hit a deft touch around for an open goal. As previously mentioned defending has been completely re-done as AI teammates cover pockets of space that would have been left open in past iterations, and now forces the attacking players to be a bit more creative in the final third.

Coming to the modes in FIFA 16, EA has added Draft into the ever-popular FIFA Ultimate Team scene where players can now, with an entry fee of 15,000 coins, start to draft top players instead of the long grind of the normal Ultimate Team variant where it takes weeks to do the same. It’s a brilliant way to get more casual players that are turned off by the amount of commitment Ultimate team requires to get some gold packs to use and build their squad. Career modes sees some changes in the form of weekly training sessions, using the built-in skill training from past FIFA’s, to train up to 5 players. Managers can choose to focus on younger athletes to skyrocket their overall ratings, or keep the starting 11 as sharp as possible. Pre-season tournaments have also been added, where players can choose one of three invitations sent from around the world with various levels of payouts that are then added to the club’s transfer budget come the start of the transfer window opening. The addition of Women’s teams is also welcome and they play drastically different to the men’s game. While passing is not as tight, the games tend to be more exciting with insane goals and lots of interceptions keeping the matches alive for the entire 90 minutes. Additionally, FIFA Interactive World Cup, high-level ranked version of Seasons that holds a Grand Final every year, finally makes its next gen debut this season.

The German international squad, the highest rated women’s team

Smaller additions include new celebrations such as running to the camera or towards your bench as teammates flood the scorer and the crowds chant your name. New weather conditions are always welcome as this season’s entry adds hazy and foggy conditions among others resulting in unique scenarios unavailable in the orthodox ‘Clear’ or ‘Cloudy’ conditions. Players can now also hold the right bumper when passing to launch a powerful driven pass across the pitch which I used more often than I thought I would have to spread the play quickly and attack from the other flank. Other modes such as co-op seasons and Pro Clubs have stayed almost the same.

While this year’s FIFA entry might not be the complete overhaul I wanted, the changes have significantly improved the meta-game and almost chess like war between two equally good players, with the nuances of the gameplay becoming more apparent as we head further out from launch day. FIFA 16 is as close to the real game as players will ever get and continuous support in the way of match day updates and Ultimate Team challenges will further cement it as the best football sim on the market.

9 out of 10