Game Name: FIFA 16
Platform(s): PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 & Xbox One
Publisher(s): EA Sports
Developer(s): EA Canada
Release Date: September 24th, 2015
Price: $59.99 (Regular), $69.99 (Deluxe)
Soccer is a bit of a mystery to me. For some reason, my country is obsessed with it, yet I find zero enjoyment in watching it. Think the scene from The Simpsons with Kent Brockman commentating in a bored monotone compared with the Mexican (I think) commentator screaming the same thing with insane excitement as me compared to the rest of my country. To be honest, The Simpsons actually showed Soccer in a fairly accurate light as most of the time when I hear about a Soccer game in my city it’s usually accompanied with reports of flares being set off or fans being loud and violent. The good thing about EA Sports FIFA 16 is that you don’t get the negatives of the sport as the focus is on the players, both male and female, of the sport than the rowdy fans that are in the stands.
Now much like EA’s Madden NFL 16, I don’t really play much of the newer games. I did grow up playing Nintendo World Cup on the GameBoy, which is really primitive compared to modern games with its actual rules, fouls, proper teams, and all that stuff. I did attend a Pro Evolution Soccer event with Konami back in 2014 however. At that event I was able to pick up the game quickly and come second in the event tournament that was held on the night, leading to claims that I was some sort of pro at Soccer games even though I hadn’t picked up a Soccer game in over a decade.
Ok, let’s get the usual out of the way. FIFA 16 is very good looking for most respects. The player’s faces look like actual people, even if they do lack facial expressions. The grounds look amazing! But then again it shouldn’t be too hard to render grass correctly. Players actually move realistically, even when they collide via a tackle of when they embrace on a scored goal. The replays in FIFA 16 are amazing, with three or more camera angles appear. They also show a nice highlight package at half time and full time too, which makes the whole thing feel a lot like a real TV presentation. If I have any gripe with this, it’s just like I mentioned before, there is no facial expressions. Yes, we do see the disappointment in the body language of the players when they miss a shot on goal or it gets blocked by the keeper, but to see it on their faces would be a lot better.
I’ll also make a quick mention of the sound. Now I do not allow sound in my reviews because it’s harder for Youtube to flag me, but the game sounds great. The sound of foot hitting ball is clear, the klang of the ball striking the posts either gives you hope or crushes your dreams; and the crowd sounds like a real crowd with their chanting and gasps as you shoot for goal. The commentary becomes white noise thankfully as I have no idea what those two bits are talking about half the time.
The gameplay in FIFA 16 is very easy, a lot easier than what I was expecting. With the EA Trainer enabled, you notice that you have a couple of pass options and a shoot option while on offense and two different types of tackles on defense. A small meter above your character’s head indicates how hard you’re going to do the required action, and the more you hold the button, the harder the shot is but it’s also less accurate. When new situations come up for the first time, FIFA 16 will stop for a moment and explain what you can do, which is really helpful since FIFA 16 doesn’t like to explain much. There is also voice recognition available for some reason, but I’m still trying to work out why this feature exists.
Now it wouldn’t be an EA Sports game without modes, and just like every other EA Sports game, this one has a LOT of modes. You have the usual Quick Match, Trainer, Skills Games & Tournament modes; but the main attractions are the FIFA Ultimate Teams and My Career Modes.
FIFA Ultimate Teams is just like the other Ultimate Teams modes in things like Madden. You create a team of players from a random pool of cards. You assign these players into their correct positions and with players from the same country, club or matching position to increase your teams Chemistry, or how well the team plays together. If you have players in the right spots and with players they get along with, the better your team is going to play. Of course you get to learn all this with a proper Ultimate Team, then have everything ripped away from you to build your way up from the bottom. Going from a great team to a craptastic team really kills the fun early in this mode for me; but then again, I have yet to find a version of Ultimate Teams that makes me want to play more than a couple of games.
To improve your pool of players, you need to purchase player packs just like other Ultimate Team games. You do this with point that you get for accomplishing goals or just playing through modes, but just like Madden NFL 16, these points come at a very slow drip feed so getting enough coins together to buy a basic pack is frustrating… That’s if you can get into the store, to begin with. During my playthrough, the store was down, so I wasn’t able to get anything to neither improve my team nor be able to see if there was a real money component to this store.
The other main mode in FIFA 16 is the mandatory My Career mode. This is where you take control of either a coach or a player and play through games, improving over time and either becoming a legend, just another guy on the team, or a nobody. Coaching is just like playing a standard game. You get the guys to train once a week, then play the whole team in a game at the end of that week. The player side, on the other hand, is where things become more interesting.
You can create your own player from scratch, or play as an already established pro. I couldn’t resist playing as a virtual representation of myself. FIFA 16 does give you an option to use EA’s GameFace feature, which is like scanning your face into the game, but the website is such a pain I the butt that it’s not worth trying. Once into FIFA 16 proper, you get to train yourself up with a bunch of drills, then play in a game. You have goals that you have to complete over the span of the season, such as scoring and setting up goals for your team mates.
Now once you get into the game itself, thing change up visually and also gameplay wise. As a single character, the camera will focus on you and only you, while does make seeing other team mates behind you something of a challenge. You also have the chance to call for passes if you’re greedy or tell your team mates to take a shot. So, in essence, you are the Captain of the team as well as a rookie player. In my first game I scored 4 goals before being taken off. Once my character was off, I could continue playing as the whole team or simulate to the end of the match, which I did… Because why would I want to make those other guys look good after I did all the work?
Once big feature of FIFA 16 is the inclusion of the women’s international cup teams, meaning all the countries in the Woman’s International Cup tournament are represented. Now to be honest, the characters virtually look no different to most of the male characters until you get a look at the faces. I feel that this was a last minute idea that was created for marketing purposes as it doesn’t feel like there was much effort put into it. The games are the exact same with the only difference being the faces as I said before. However, this is just as enjoyable as the rest of FIFA 16, so I hope EA can expand on this concept in future games till they are ready to give the women a game of their own.
To wrap things up, I’m going to say that I’m quite impressed with FIFA 16. As I said in the beginning, I’m not a Soccer fan. However, after playing FIFA 16 for a while for review, I’m tempted to go back and keep playing; especially the My Career mode to see how the career of my digital self will progress. FIFA 16 itself is easy enough to pick up and play that just about anyone can get involved, which is a huge plus for FIFA 16. However it’s going to hard to keep the attention of non-Soccer fans over the full life of FIFA 16. I say if you’re a hardcore Soccer nut, then give this a go. If you want to give a Soccer game a try, then FIFA 16 is the perfect one to start with.
Gameplay - 8/10
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 10/10
Value / Features - 7/10
As with all sports games, this will depend on your devotion to the sport. EA continues to be very solid in it's gameplay and improves a lot graphically. However the lack of a proper tutorial for new players and a heavy focus on it's microtransaction heavy Ultimate Teams mode hampers a great experience from being perfection.