FIFA 15 Review (Xbox One)
FIFA is back for another year, not that it should surprise you, and it again looks to sit as the number one football game available on the market.
EA Sports have gone with the same metro style UI across all their games this year, and it works really well in FIFA 15. The game modes you play most often are there at your fingertips to launch straight into, with further panels to get to other modes and settings screens. For most players you will see Ultimate Team and Career mode here ready to start or resume. The UI style is consistent throughout the game modes too, although the email panel in career mode is a bit of a pain to navigate.
But enough about UI, it’s just a means to an end. That end being the game played on the pitch. The whole match presentation has had an upgrade, with everyone’s favourite Jeff Stelling giving an introduction to the match before handing over to the commentary team. Unfortunately the commentators themselves haven’t had much of an update other than reacting to some of the new crowd behaviours. The crowds within the stadiums are a lot more realistic and relate more to the stadiums which they are in. No matter who you support you can’t deny the fantastic atmosphere when the whole of Anfield is signing You’ll Never Walk Alone. Additional atmospheric additions include ten player goal celebrations, bench reactions and ball boy animations, which helps keep the flow of the game moving from throw-ins.
EA have made a big noise about their new Intelligent Next Gen Goalkeepers. They are much better at making reaction saves. They tend to pull off more spectacular saves too, as well as commanding their area from crosses and corners better. However, this seems to have come with a trade off, they are much easier to beat at their near post. Overall though, definitely an improvement.
Physical battles for the ball have also improved. By using the right stick when in the close battle you can push and pull your opponent to try and gain or retain possession. Too much though and the ref will penalise you. You also need to keep your temper as the Kinect will pick up any foul language and you could find yourself in further trouble.
Overall the gameplay is just a little step up from last year’s game with smoother animations and physics. There is still the odd occasion where players get tangled up in a nonsensical way that just looks ridiculous, but they are rare enough to forgive. The pitch itself is more dynamic with slide tackles potentially tearing up a big strip of turf. I suppose the biggest praise I could give the game is that I sat my father down to watch while I played a match and he shouted at the telly in the same fashion he would do when watching football on a Saturday afternoon.
Ultimate Team has turned into the main feature of FIFA over the past years, and EA are milking this cow as much as they can. Probably because it brings them a shed load of extra revenue after the game has been released in terms of microtransactions. Some new features have been added this year to beef it up further. You can set up a small season with your friends to battle it out for Ultimate Team bragging rights. Not able to raise the funds to bring in the top talent? Well you can now loan players on a short term basis to your club. Concept squads let you plan and build your dream team and easily search for the real players to fill in the squad, a very handy feature for working on that 100% Chemistry rating. Exclusive to Xbox One are a selection of Legendary players to build a squad with, including one of my all time favourite players, Peter Schmeichel.
FIFA 15 delivers what you would expect from it. Which is a massive plus point for EA Sports this year. In fact it’s the first EA game I’ve played this year that was actually feature complete at launch. No post release content patches required, FIFA 15 is a solid game out of the box and will please most footie fans looking for that “just another game” fix.
4 keepers beaten at the near post out of 5
* A Legacy Edition of the game is also available on PSVita, Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Wii