FIFA 2015 review: For next generation consoles
Since the days of 8-bit soccer right up to the fancy graphics of today's consoles, soccer games have just focused on players kicking a ball over a grassy green pitch. Sure, the games have introduced weather systems, realistic physics, stadiums, updated rosters etc. There's never been a game that truly captures and recreates the emotion of the sport, the moments that drive goosebumps right up and down your spine. Up until FIFA 2015. A true evolution of the sports game and using all that next generation computational power to drive experiences.
Emotion and Realism
You've seen this a thousand times as the games are aired on the telly, in dozens of sports movies or even sitting down in the stands at a soccer game. The crowd going wild when the a player gets the ball. The elation of not only the crowd but the players themselves on a goal. The slow demotivation or determination of the opposing team, to close the gap. The electric charge and slow chanting of the crowd rising higher and higher to a crescendo giving their team a boost of spirit. All those moments that make you in tune, through time, space and dimension with each and every player on the pitch, every spectator on the grandstand, as embodied into FIFA 2015.
The Emotional Intensity engine in FIFA 2015 emulates this by building in over 600 animations into all of the 22 players on the pitch into an artificial intelligence that senses what's going on throughout the game, and lets players react realistically to the situation. Like missed goals or bad tackles will have players kneel down in disappointment and his team mates generally getting annoyed. Similarly with a comeback goal the players will celebrate in a 10 man pileup celebration. It's all these little things that make FIFA 2015 a truly organic experience.
The physics is like a nice warm blanket on the whole experience. When players run, they don't just accelerate magically. There is a little lag in acceleration as momentum builds up. The same with slowing down, theres a gradual decrease in acceleration followed by a slight stagger and shift as he changes direction. All these subtle things not only add to the realism, but also add one more element you have to take into consideration. When you have the ball you have other players realistically pulling your shirt or shoulder barging. The ball too reacts with closer contacts as it's dribbled across the field and varies depending upon the agility of the player. Giving you tighter control over it. Goalies too have benefitted from all new save animations and a brand new AI so that they're a lot more fluid in their movement. With correct ball deflections.
The pitch over the course of a game gets trampled with players footprints, and sometimes gets muddy if it's raining, as do the players. The crowds in the stands react to the players and the teams selected. On Match Day the crowd is deafening. With authentic stadiums and crowd chants and cheers based on the country. The crowd in FIFA 2015 is now a living force, rather than just using one tacky animation, the crowd jumps and cheers in waves. Even the ball boys on the bench jump and react. The cherry on top is the commentary which not only talks about the game, but also comments on the fans reactions.
Rather than just a static experience, the whole presentation of FIFA 2015 is cinematic. From a camera that keeps the action always in view, without letting players get too small on your HDTV. Like any good match, the camera will focus on teammates celebrating after a goal, or a player falling face first into the grass in an act of disappointment. Letting you know that you're teammates are getting demotivated or if it's the other team, you can revel in their defeat. Everything about FIFA 2015's experience is slick and simple.
While EA Sports has done a fantastic job of capturing the spirit of what makes a soccer game tick. Let's see if they actually got game.
With regards to the game, EA Sports has trimmed all the fat, making it a streamlined experience. It's all about the game. No wading through thousands of menus if you don't want to. It's the same game you've played earlier, except with a new coat of paint and a lot of strategy you can dive right into if you want to.
When playing you have a lot more control over the ball as well as your teammates. When you have the ball, your player moves into a mode allowing tighter control, allowing you to dodge dribble and pass. If you do find yourself blocked or flanked, your teammates react to your situation and position themselves around you so you can pass the ball or if you're getting ready to shoot a goal, they file around to be there to catch the ball in the off chance you miss.
A nice touch to the gameplay is the loading screens, which are small mini games designed for you to practice dribbling, shoot accuracy or dodging. A superb little warmup before a big game.
The player animations are a treat to watch, however there are times where the bugs rears it's ugly head. With so many animations and artificial intelligence code flying around, you will find the odd player stuck in an animation. Also over the course of a game you will find the animation slowly getting a bit jittery, not quite as smooth and seamless.
If you're tired of just setting up matches, you can play through the career mode, follow news on Match Day live. There's a lot of content for soccer fans as you can customise your own ultimate team, set and customise your teams tactics and a lot more out of a staggering roster of teams including the Premiere League teams, stadiums and games.
FIFA 2015 on next gen consoles is fantastic, with all the players rendered in unbelievable realism. From Messi to Ronaldo each player looks the part with all their statistics reflecting on how they move on the pitch. The player kits look authentic and exhibit cloth physics when grabbed. On rainy pitches their clothes get wet so do the players hair and during the course of the game they get dirty and mucky. A staggering attention to detail.
The stadiums resound with the chants of thousands of fans in unison, and the game is best experienced using a surround sound home theatre system or a good pair of headphones.
FIFA 2015 is truly a taste of what next generation gaming holds for us in the future. With amazing physics, graphics and animations that are there to lend a new element of emotion into the game. A perfect game for soccer fans, sports buffs and anyone in the middle. Highly Recommended.
Note: This is a review on next generation FIFA 15 on a PlayStation 4. While the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions are also available, they will lack some of the graphical features
Rating - 4.5/5
Price: Rs 3,999 for PS4, Rs 4,499 on Xbox One
Features - Superb Physics Up to date team rosters Incredible on next generation consoles Very realistic on Next Generation Consoles