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FIFA needs innovation

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    FIFA 15

    Rating: 3.0 – Fair

    FIFA needs innovation

    EA Sports has a strict annual release schedule for almost all of their licensed titles. Every year one can count on a new Madden game and a new FIFA game. The audience for these titles is massive, so it makes business, but sometimes from a creative standpoint, the games start to become stagnant until a title comes out that reinvigorates the franchise. FIFA 15 is evidence that FIFA is in a slump. There is pretty much no reason to upgrade from FIFA 14 to FIFA 15, but if you don’t have FIFA 14 already, then FIFA 15 might be worth a look.

    The game is definitely FIFA. Despite the many graphical improvements and better animation, it ultimately still feels like the same game. That being said, the core FIFA experience is very well designed. The ball feels real and the players look realer than ever before due to the better animation and improved lighting. The physics in the game also feel real, and player collisions feel more natural than ever, with players tripping and falling over in a fashion that makes it look like you’re seeing the real deal. Once you have a little bit of practice, dribbling, passing, and shooting all becomes second nature. I can’t deny that EA Sports has a good foundation for a soccer game and the core gameplay experience definitely provides its thrills and entertainment, it’s just that I feel that they aren’t adding on to that foundation all that much with this entry in the series.

    The standard game modes are all accounted for in FIFA 15. There’s career, Ultimate Team, online modes…pretty much everything people have come to expect from the FIFA franchise. The Skill Games this time around a lot more entertaining I would say, and actually are a lot better for teaching people how to better play the game. I am still not a fan of the "tile" menus that EA Sports uses for all of its games as they always feel messy and are a pain in the ass to navigate, and of course, FIFA 15 uses the same tile system as the other EA Sports games, so be warned.

    The game isn’t exactly pick up and play like many other sports titles, as there are different types of shots, different things to take into account when shooting or passing, how to deal with defenders, how to tackle the ball from other players, and things like that which are really only covered in the Skill Games. There is no manual for FIFA 15; usually in EA Sports games, you can say "Xbox, Help" and you’ll be able to see the controls for the game. However, FIFA 15 does not feature this, instead redirecting you to the EA Sports website where you still won’t find a manual. I have already accepted game developers getting rid of physical manuals, as that has become inevitable at this point, but getting rid of DIGITAL manuals too?

    One aspect of the game that I disliked probably the most was the soundtrack. There wasn’t a single song that I enjoyed from the in-game soundtrack, which probably marks the first time that I’ve been able to say that about any licensed soundtrack for any game I’ve ever played. There’s just nothing appealing there for my personal tastes, and there were numerous songs that I found outright annoying. I ended up turning down the volume when playing and supplementing it with music from my laptop. The commentary is nothing to get crazy about either after a while, though I was impressed with it at first due to how the commentators almost seemed to react properly to everything that was happening in any given match.

    FIFA is FIFA is FIFA. The franchise is need of some serious innovation. FIFA 15 is just a marginal upgrade from FIFA 14, which itself wasn’t even one of the better games in the series. For soccer on eighth generation gaming systems, FIFA is really the only option right now, and if you haven’t played a game in the series in a long time, it may just be what you’re looking for. People that have consistently been playing the game year after year like myself are going to find an experience that’s all too familiar, and while the improvements here are appreciated, the core gameplay experience hasn’t changed enough to warrant picking up FIFA 15. Better luck next year, EA, and this time bring some innovation, as the series desperately needs it.

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