FIFA… arguably one of EA’s most popular franchises. By far, it has the most global appeal. What does that mean? In America, soccer (or futbol as it is more commonly known) isn’t as popular as other regions of the world so this is a game where American gamers may be a minority. That being said, FIFA was this gamer’s first soccer game. I broke my soccer cherry so to speak. It was quite the experience to say the least. So, join me, while I explain the ups and downs of my cherry popping escapade.
Blue Ball Score: 17 out of 25 balls
Now, bear with me while I attempt to review the gameplay. Keep in mind this was my first FIFA experience so I am a bit of a newby booby. The first thing that I noticed were the controls. They were extremely complicated and difficult. The basic controls were easy to learn, but in order to be really good at the game you would need to master all of them. This would take months, and arguably years. So, the controls were hard to quickly pick up. But, if you are ready to dedicate most of your gaming life to FIFA, then I could see where the controls would become familiar enough to play at a more competitive level. There were tutorials to help you improve your skills, but due to the sheer amount of controls and abilities, it would still take a lot of practice.
That being said, game mechanics were pretty damn realistic. I am not a soccer guru, but they seemed pretty realistic to me. You could slide into opponents and take out their ACL’s, get in 1-on-1 ball battles (whatever that is called), and kicking the ball seemed really realistic. Personally, there was no greater feeling than blocking a valor attempt to score a goal and then launching the ball across the field.
The scenery, in general, was a pretty good experience. The graphics (to be reviewed later) could have been improved to provide a more immersive and realistic experience, but they weren’t God awful. Overall, with the replays and screen shaking to emulate crowd noise, it wasn’t a bad experience.
In conclusion, although the mechanics of the gameplay were pretty solid, the complicated controls, high learning curve, and lack of an immersive experience leads this section to receive a 3/5 balls.
I noticed that there was an Ultimate Team game mode which could prove to be really interesting in the soccer realm – simply because there are SO many different teams with SO many good players. How does one know every single player on every single team well enough to draft? Ahhhhh!!!
Another thing I noticed was the ability to play as women. Who would have thought that female athletes have come so far?! Astonishing… But, on a serious note, it was really cool that you could play on both the men’s and women’s soccer teams. I see the additional profit gains in terms of a broader audience appeal. In gaming terms, there is a now another way for creepy male gamers to play with unsuspecting female gamer victims!
But, with what I saw, it was pretty typical of a career or season mode. You could manager your players, improve them, sign and trade players, scout future recruits, and much more. There was even some pre-season games. Imagine Madden, but with the ball on the ground, no pads, a goal, and much less contact… and that is FIFA career modes in a nutshell!
For the versatility offered in FIFA 16, I give this a 4/5 balls.
If you have not had at least a year’s worth of FIFA playing experience, you can forget about it. When you start getting up in the ranks, rest assured, these Europeans don’t mess around. Soccer (or Futbol as it is called in their country) is their life. It is pretty much the dominant sport. If they lose a FIFA game, they have disgraced their country.
One thing I noticed is that the referees seem more lenient in the multiplayer than when playing against the AI. Perhaps it was me, or perhaps my lack of knowledge that these pros knew, but every battle I got in seemed to lead to me getting a yellow or red card. On the other hand, if I had the ball and someone battled me, they always took the ball away, shoved me down on the ground, and pissed on me without it leading to a single card or whistle blow. This aspect was really frustrating.
A special something to note here is that the server speed and response was surprising. I was expecting the typical unstable EA Servers with about a 2 minute button lag response, but this was not the case. The stability, flow, and response was smooth and fast. Just wanted to give EA props here since their servers usually come across as a basement-style 4 GB server running MS-DOS named “Ol’ Faithful.”
Due to the total ass kicking received, lack of ability to happily play multiplayer without years of experience, and inconsistencies, I give this a 2.5/5 balls.
The graphics were pretty good. The stadiums were realistic looking, the fans were loud, the screen shook to emulate a loud stadium, and the players looked realistic upon camera zoom. All of this is good, but I am extremely picky when it comes to graphics. I can tell that the developers did not focus on graphical details. The fans (when not zoomed in) looked like general outlines of people, the players (when not zoomed in) looked like little red and blue men (because those were the colors of my uniform). I wish there was more time put toward the attention to detail. After all, it is the fine little details that make a good game great.
The sound made up for the areas the graphics were missing. The announcers were spot on. They were intense, constantly commentating, and even commenting on events going on in your current career or season. This helped to provide a more interactive and realistic experience to this gamer. The stadium got louder and louder, team-specific chants were sung, and the whole FIFA audio was impressive.
I wish the celebrations could have been a little more intense, but perhaps that is just ESPN brain washing me and only showing me highlights. So, I will let that go. Overall, graphics and audio were solid. Due to the lack of crisp graphical detail, I give this a 4/5 balls.
As always, the answer can be both. But, in reality, if you want to be good at the game, you will need to be more on the competitive side. I am sure the target audience of FIFA is returning gamers or gamers that have been playing this series for quite some time, but with any game that “new attraction” aspect needs to be there. I just didn’t see much of this aspect in FIFA 16.
There are the tutorials which are extremely helpful and insightful, and of course there is the difficulty setting, but those are a given with any game. Most gamers want something more. They want to be challenged, but not overwhelmed. They want something simple, yet always attractive. This is definitely a hard medium to discover, but in the modern gaming industry it is a necessity.
So, if you still have your soccer cherry and you are looking to explore the FIFA world, I would definitely advise you to evaluate what you really want. If you want a realistic experience and are ready to devote a considerable amount of time to learning the game, then I would definitely recommend FIFA. If you are looking for a casual soccer gaming experience, FIFA may not be the right choice unless you plan on playing career mode only.
For these reasons, I give a 3.5/5 balls.
Ok, so the only question I am wondering now is: How many people have I pissed off? I know there are some die-hard FIFA gamers out there who are reading this thinking “This guy is a total ass hat. Maybe if he played for longer than a day, he would like, soooo get it.” Well, I apologize for my ignorance, but keep in mind that I review games from all perspectives. From the casual gamer to the competitive gamer. From the first-time virgin to the devoted series lover who pre-orders every game a year in advance. Therefore, FIFA gets a grand total of 17/25 balls.
If you are a dedicated FIFA gamer, I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the game in the comments below! What was new about this game that was different than last year’s FIFA? What did you like and dislike? How much of an idiot do you think I am?