Also On: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Publisher: EA Sports
Developer: EA Canada
“I get knocked down, but I get up again?” without fail, whenever I think of the FIFA soccer series, that song always pops in my head thanks to it being the theme song many years ago. For soccer fans this song still rings true and this past spring/summer was never more evident then when I watched more soccer than I have in years thanks to the World Cup. To be honest, I?m a VERY casual fan and will watch on occasion, but it takes a big time event such as the World Cup to spike my interest, even though I live near Columbus and the Columbus Crew. That doesn?t mean I?m ignorant to the sport or don?t get fired up when it is on, but let?s say it is a sport that is a distant 4th behind Baseball, NHL, and the NFL for me. That being said, I still find myself psyched year in and year out for every iteration of the EA Sports FIFA soccer series, as while my real life love for the sport may be limited, my virtual gaming love is still top notch?as is EA?s replication of the sport.
FIFA 15 is no exception when it comes to the excellence in execution that the game developers have for their famed soccer series. Their only real completion in just how solid year after year their efforts was, was with themselves and their NHL franchise — until this year when the developers dropped the puck so to speak in NHL 15. Thankfully FIFA 15 not only lives up to the hype, but doesn?t suffer from the typically sophomore slump of resting on your laurels. FIFA 15 is everything you love about the series, but it also goes above and beyond, especially in presentation that will draw in casual and hardcore fans alike.
It is in the presentation where FIFA 15 really comes into its own, with genuine emotion not just for certain situations, but for all 22 members playing on the pitch. You would expect the excitement or disappointment from shots on goal, but to the point that if you continuously make bad or aggressive tackles, the players will respond accordingly and with vigor. The emotion changes don?t end there either as each match feels alive with crowds more dynamic than ever as they chant their home team?s songs with even the commentators getting in on the action as they dramatically describe the story of the match.
Visually the game looks as stellar as always, from visible dirt on the uniforms, expressions on the player?s faces, to the spray of grass during a well timed goal, and footprints left behind on the pitch — everything about FIFA 15 looks and screams next gen. This is evident mostly during animations, especially on tackles and when vying for position on the pitch, as you can almost feel the bruises that are most certainly the aftermath of most of these struggles. New head scans of over 200 players provide the most realistic and authentic looking models to date for this series. The stadiums are once again replicated to near perfection from the smaller US hometown stadiums, to the Cathedral- like halls of Barcelona, complete with lively crowds getting into the action and waving their home pride flags. Toss in broadcast quality graphics and overlays that really bring the action home as if you were watching it on the tele.
Controls are once again top notch and even go a step beyond what gamers have grown to love; including a new level of responsive controls for touch, dribbling and total command of the players. Man to Man battles are intense as players will use their full bodies to win and fight for position. This includes new shoulder barges, push and pull mechanics, and even jersey pulling which is noticeable especially during replays as every tick and tackle count in FIFA 15. The A.I. has received a much needed learning mechanic, so if you try to fall into the same habits game in and game out the CPU will catch onto your most used tendencies and avert future use over time. Another shot in the arm that has been needed is the intelligence of the goalie A.I. and FIFA 15 receives it in spades with now a greater emphasis on goalie reactions for saves, as well as more awareness on not only oncoming shots, but passed balls to keep them from being total suckers on one timers. While the A.I. has stepped it up, it can still be penetrated, but is now without a doubt a greater challenge. If I were to have one gripe, it is the game does move at a more frantic rather than deliberate pace, so it is harder to methodically plan your attack as everything is moving at an almost arcade feel when it comes to speed. Otherwise, the rest is just petty nitpicking just to find flaws in which FIFA 15 has very few.
Those looking for modes of play to keep them playing for another 4 years until the next World Cup will be pleased as FIFA 15 has not omitted one mode at all for this year?s game (except obviously the World Cup). Returning are the FIFA Ultimate Team that is a game in itself complete with Friendly Seasons, Loaning Players, Concept Squads, and exclusively on XB1, Legends that can be added to your squads. Career Mode is back with a vengeance providing complete team management, player growth and potential, a Global Transfer Network, a new player search, and throughout your games there will be plenty of presentations and storylines that revolve around your career. Of course toss in the expected modes such as Match Day, Tournament Mode, Online Seasons, Online Friendlies, Co Op Seasons, Skill Games and a Practice Arena, you?ll see that FIFA 15 isn?t missing much.
It is nice to see EA not sit back and take it easy with their illustrious FIFA franchise, and honestly they will need to keep it up with Konami?s PES series set to return with a vengeance. For now this is EA?s game to lose, and as long as they keep their eye firmly on the ball, there should be no stopping them.