Version Tested: Xbox One
Also Available On: Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3
Genre: Sport Simulation
Every year another FIFA is released and on every occasion we flock like sheep to purchase it but should we do it again this time?.. Well of course we should, it’s FIFA! Be that as it may, this could be the last year where FIFA rules the market because as great as FIFA16 is, the majority of the improvements are small and essentially, this is just a more polished version of FIFA 15.
FIFA 16 predictably looks and feels great as it has done for the last few years however it is the small attention to detail that makes FIFA unique. My favorite team is Southampton and when you begin the game, you’ll have a whole page on the menu dedicated to yours. Here you will find the latest news, stats and results of your supported club. FIFA 16 attempts to blur the lines between gaming and reality and it does a really good job of immersing you within that world. The whole game is full of smart and interesting ideas which appear on and off the pitch. Seeing the ref pull out the vanishing spray for a free kick is an awesome detail and it is incredibly empowering to hear the crowd cheer ‘Oh When The Saints’ when I’m winning one nil. When all of these delightful moments combine, you actually believe that you are a part of the beautiful game.
The highlight feature in this year’s game is women’s football. The fact that it has taken this long to have women featured within the game is mildly embarrassing but I’m glad it has finally happened. I thoroughly enjoyed playing women’s football, the pacing feels significantly different and there is a delicacy to the sport which the male game lacks. The models and physics have been designed from scratch so the women control and behave very differently from the men. A drawback to this exciting inclusion is that you will not find any females in career mode or ultimate team and to rub salt into the wound, there are only 12 international teams thus far. The developers clearly put in some hard work to create a new physics engine so surely adding club teams wouldn’t have taken much additional effort? Winning the women’s cup was great but once I had, I didn’t return for more and that disappoints me.
The career mode has returned and will be instantly recognizable for veteran players. This year we have the training feature and it is very effective. I loved developing my young squad in previous entries and in FIFA 16 you can do it with more control. You can select players to take on different skill challenges and depending on their performance, their stats will increase respectively. It’s superb to be able to focus on a player’s weak attributes and assign beneficial drills. Strangely, some of the training regimes are extremely hard, even though they are labelled as easy. The defending ones in particular are hard to excel in and I often found myself letting the computer simulate the result which, as a punishment, does not reap as many rewards.
Two more additions to FIFA 16 are the trainer and off the balls skills. The trainer is an onscreen prompt which helps you learn the controls whilst on the pitch. In theory it is a good idea but the trainer gives you very basic instructions such as long pass and slide tackle. Having spent a few minutes playing the game, you would’ve learned these skills anyway therefore the trainer is rendered ineffectual. Off the ball skills allow you to use your body to fool opponents without touching the ball. When it works it feels great but against the computer opponent, especially on higher difficulties, it rarely pays off.
The computer AI is still the most frustrating element of FIFA. The game play feels smoother and more fluid than previous titles but the same annoying quirks persist. The computer player always seems to have the advantage. On the highest difficulties the computer will maintain minutes of possession, have immaculate first touches, unbelievable pace and endless stamina. You can be playing a team who are three divisions below you and they will still outpace you to every loose ball. I rarely conceded a goal and felt as though the computer had earned it; the goal usually arrived from two of my defenders running into each other or a mistake which I had no control over.
The best way to play FIFA now and has been for a while, is online. The playing field is a lot fairer and the competition is far more legitimate. You begin to enjoy playing the football and witness all of the drama that comes with the sport. Ultimate team returns and is the best version yet. Winning matches, collecting coins and opening player packs is as addictive as ever and is easily the best mode in FIFA 16. A FUT Draft gives you a preview of the type of dream team you could create by giving you a chance to pick from five star players in each position. This works as a brilliant introduction to ultimate team for new players and you can use this team in tournaments to collect coins and start creating your own fantasy squad.
FIFA 16 is brilliant and I will be playing the game all year until FIFA 17 inevitably hits. I love and hate FIFA 16 just as I love and hate football which means that EA have encapsulated the essence of the sport here. The inclusion of women’s football is a great move but all of the other new features do not really improve the experience enough. With the Pro Evolution Series getting better, the pressure is on FIFA to deliver more in the future. That being said, this game is for the football fans, if you love the world of modern day football, you will love FIFA 16.