First impressions are everything. And FIFA 15 manages to pretty much score an own goal right from the off. Server issues and bugs have dominated the game’s first few days on sale. Some even rendering the game unplayable until you do some workaround involving multiple profiles or UPnP router settings. Not a great start then.
It begs the question whether reviews keen to be out prior to launch are always a good thing, and whether a Destiny-like approach is more acceptable in this more online world we live in. But maybe that’s a discussion for another time. The main bug in question being one where, even offline, the game has horrible lag/slowdown. It’s like playing the world’s worst online game, and that’s just going through the main menus. Then there are the server issues where Ultimate Team was pretty much dead, online ranked wins don’t count to your total, then there are a few minor animation issues which compared to what has come before, are easily ignored. All point to the conclusion that FIFA 15 may have been a little rushed.
If there’s one thing FIFA will always have going for it is the presentation. This is very much like watching a Sky television broadcast, complete with Jeff Stelling introduction. Now with the complete addition of all the Premier League Stadiums, a few bizarre character animations aside, FIFA has never been this well presented. But how does it play?
Pretty well it has to be said. There are certain issues, most of them falling on the shoulders of the goalkeepers who can, at times, be as hapless as ever. But it plays a decent, fast paced game. And when we say “fast” we mean it. Pace is the king in this year’s FIFA. If you have a speedy winger or striker then it’s far easier to get through the defensive backline than it is to pass it around. It can turn it into a counter attacking tour de force at times, almost too much of one, but you can’t say games don’t become action packed.
Opponent AI feels like it’s been tweaked slightly, this could be just our imagination, but they now are more foul happy. A good thing as in previous year’s they’ve always been a little too reluctant to hit the ground with a slide. Now they almost feel more human. Overall it plays a solid game of football, but really depends on how you prefer to play. If you’re a more methodical passing player then perhaps you’ll feel a little hard done by as you’re undone by a particularly fast front line, especially as defending is rather challenging this year. Indeed, it’ll take a fair few games before you’re able to stop players rushing into your box.
The TV like presentation making it into the actual game, with replays and the such, and players now having what EA have dubbed, “emotional intelligence”. A big new graphical feature, players now reacting like they would in real life to certain on-pitch activities. Unfortunately, it needs a little work. Some emotional responses are a little comical, sometimes glitchy, and don’t look as good as we’re guessing EA had hoped. But then maybe this is the problem with cross gen games? We have no doubt that in a few years graphical power will come on leaps and bounds once last gen is abandoned, as it stands it looks okay, nothing spectacular.
FIFA 15 is certainly a hefty package. You have everything you’d come to expect from a FIFA game. Regular cups and tournaments, with the usual online play. Then there’s the fan favourite card game Ultimate Team. Of course, a large portion of the online modes depend on EA’s servers and has already been said, the launch has not been without its issues. It’s bad enough not being able to connect to servers, it’s another thing getting kicked off as you score an 89th minute winner.
And that’s the lasting impression you’re left with. That while there is a solid football game underneath, the game is so riddled with bugs that it’s hard to recommend the game in its current state. And if the demo is anything to go by then Pro Evolution Soccer looks to finally be ready to challenge for the crown once again.