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FIFA 16 Review

by Dean James

FIFA is one of the most popular gaming series around the world and has been one of EA Sports big guns for years now. Whether you call it soccer or football, the sport is farther reaching than any other and FIFA without a doubt has helped its growth in the US. Building upon the fever surrounding the Women’s World Cup from earlier this year with the addition of female players for the first time, EA Sports takes an already solid foundation and gives us even more in FIFA 16.

The FIFA series has been around so long that there have been multiple gameplay enhancements, some years with more adjustments than others. Last year’s outing gave gamers the most control over their players ever and that is still the case this year, with you still having near perfect control over players in the field. Being able to dribble the ball and stop on a dime and change directions at a moment’s notice is very easy and can become even more useful with practice.

FIFA 16 has its fair share of improvements on the gameplay side, but there is not anything that would qualify as a total game changer. The closest to this would be what is being called Passing With Purpose, which allows you to make even more precise passes in tight spaces that would not have ever been possible in the past. This is done simply by an extra button press on passes, allowing you to set up goals with much more ease.

This would make the defensive side of the ball seem like its at a disadvantage, but some defensive improvements have also been added to the game to keep everything balanced. These range from new tackling mechanics to players better anticipating passes and getting interceptions in the midfield. This works together with the game’s chemistry system, having teams with higher chemistry in the various game modes being able to better cover the field. Teamwork is better than ever here, and it can really be seen through both the offensive and defensive improvements in FIFA 16.

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The Skills Trainer is back once again and it really helps to learn some of these new mechanics, such as being able to make the most precise passes or tackle the ball without hitting the opposing player also. These are spread across multiple training areas, with varying levels of difficulty as well. Even for those that do not plan on using the Skills Trainer specifically, the game will offer random training exercises prior to matches across the various  game modes, similar in some ways to the pre-game practice pitches in MLB: The Show.

Skills Trainer is also integrated very well into the upgraded Career Mode. The various Career modes have sadly been overlooked in some of the other recent EA Sports outings, choosing to focus elsewhere instead. However, the two-pronged Career mode received a couple fan-requested features that make a big difference, though only one of them involves both Career types.

Gamers have the option to choose either to run a team as a Manager or as just a Player. The Manager side entails a lot more than Player, as you must scout, buy, or get players on loan, all while staying under a budget. Manager Career exclusively got the addition of pre-season tournaments, which has been missing for awhile. With this, extra money can be earned from the start, while also offering an authentic season experience.

Across both Player and Manager Career, training has also been implemented. There has been the option to just upgrade skills through faux training in the past, but this time it actually lets one perform drills to earn higher stat boosts. Each week there is the option to choose five different drills and work to upgrade those individual stats, with three retries added in to allow for some learning on the job. Player Career limits to the training of your one player, but Manager lets you train any player on the team.

Tournaments have been a big part of the FIFA series for years, but FIFA 16 has a major addition that is something the series has needed for a long time, women’s teams. Everyone was talking about the Women’s World Cup back in the early summer, so FIFA 16 was the perfect time to introduce the Women’s National Teams to the series.

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These 12 women’s teams have been given excellent love and care to be as accurate as possible, with this being one of the best examples of just how impressive the player likeness is in FIFA 16, through the best graphics in the series to date. Being able to use incredibly popular players like Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach just feels right, though their use is somewhat limited. For some reason, neither of the 12 teams are usable in Career Mode, where it would have been great to be able to create your own female player and join the United States National team.  The upside is that they are able to be used in not only the offline tournaments, but also Online Seasons and Online Friendly Matches, as well as Match Day matchups when they are available.

Just last month, EA Sports released Madden 16 along with the new game mode called Draft Champions. In similar fashion, FIFA 16 has also introduced its own draft related mode with FUT Draft, but this time it is tied in with the already existing Ultimate Team. The Ultimate Team mode that you know and love is in tact by itself, but FUT Draft now allows a way to earn extra rewards in an unorthodox way.

Being able to use incredibly popular players like Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach just feels right

Similar to Draft Champions, you will draft a full team of players, though this is done a little differently. Rather than being given three random players at different positions, one chooses a position and then will be given five options for that position. Just picking the best player at that position is not good enough, as team chemistry is incredibly important. Luckily, they make it easy by letting you switch any of the five to test their chemistry with surrounding players. The only issues is that drafting the bench is a lot harder, as you cannot test chemistry with ease like on the starting positions. Upon completing the draft, one can then use this team to play a number of games to earn rewards that are then transferred over to the regular Ultimate Team. Adding another level to this is the ability to do this online, which can make it even more fun.

FIFA’s online options are about as expected from past years, but that doesn’t mean that it is not still one of the game’s best features. The Online Seasons are essentially how you do head-to-head, but rather than just an overall record, it takes place over individual seasons of 10 games. This brings a different dynamic than other sports games, especially with the ability to do this as cooperative play with another online.

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Pro Clubs are the game’s equivalent of Online Dynasty, with the option to join a club with friends and play in games of up to 11 v 11, which is very impressive. There are many people out there that would think this mode is completely useless, as they do not have enough friends that play the game online, but for that there is the very helpful Drop-In Match.

The Verdict

While an annual franchise, EA Sports has been very good about making each FIFA release worth buying and that is once again the case with FIFA 16. There are no absolute game changers in the gameplay, but there is just enough to make the gameplay more authentic than ever. Building off an already great game last year, the addition of Women’s National Teams, albeit limited in use, as well as the new FUT Draft easily make FIFA 16 yet another entry in this long running series that should not be passed.

 

"loved"
loved

FIFA 16

  • Available On: XB1, PS4, X360, PS3, PC
  • Published By: EA Sports
  • Developed By: EA Canada
  • Genre: Sports
  • US Release Date: September 22nd, 2015
  • Reviewed On: Xbox One
  • Quote: "Building off an already great game last year, the addition of Women’s National Teams, albeit limited in use, as well as the new FUT Draft easily make FIFA 16 yet another entry in this long running series that should not be passed."
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The Good

  • Stellar gameplay
  • Addictive FUT Draft
  • Addition of Women’s National Teams
  • Training integration in Career Mode

The Bad

  • Limited use of Women’s teams
  • No true game changers in mechanics
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