FIFA 16: Nicely balanced and incredible fun

FIFA 16
FIFA 16

FIFA launch day is on every football fans calendar. It’s become such an important event that some even book holidays in work just to hammer it. Well the time is upon us yet again.

What has changed? Will it improve on last year? Is the Women’s footy just as good as the lads? Questions that are on everyone’s mind. EA Sports have forever been at the forefront in the football game biz and this year is no different. Don’t get me wrong, Pro Evo is a fantastic game but FIFA is just...better.

The Xbox One style dashboard has stayed making navigating the main menus as failsafe as ever and seems nearly untouched. As is the game modes, Be a Pro, Career, FIFA Ultimate Team and Online modes all stay put with very little changes. The biggest changes are on the pitch. Now I know what new things EA have highlighted but I am going to comment on my experiences whilst playing.

Firstly the tactical defending. No longer do players seem to lunge in for a tackle, miss, then is seemingly left for dead as the attacker just plods on with a Cheshire cat grin. Instead defenders recover better making them come back for second wind easier keeping gameplay tighter. It feels more balanced and a hell of a lot more bearable when in the clutches of defeat because you will have no one to blame but yourself. The Artificial Intelligence has improved big style, especially on harder difficulties. They know how to play like pros. On World Class, I had the ball took from me early on and spent the rest of my time trying to get it back, it was tough. Online though, it’s easy to mess up. Interceptions are plentiful and failed passes are never too far away, depending on your skill of course. The lag still remains though so it’s not all rainbows and sunshine.

Drill passes are a new thing in FIFA 16. No longer can you do a sneidy trick pass which looked cool no doubt but it wasn’t useful. Now though, you can make more direct passes to your team mates using a simple button press. I used this a lot! It kept my team together and opened up plenty of opportunities for me. I couldn’t rely on chip through balls no more however. EA have nerfed them to my dismay making the computer anticipate them a lot easier. Breaking through the defence brings a new puzzle to crack. The goalkeepers. They are more agile and reliable than in past games. They are by no means unbeatable, far from it, rather tougher to score against especially the likes of Cech and Neuer.

One of the biggest hypes for this year is the women. Playing as the ladies is significantly different to the guys, they are more technique focused and move more nimble which allowed me to score different types of goals. Although it is limited to online or offline friendly matches, it’s a nice addition and a welcome change of pace.

FIFA Ultimate team is just as great as last year as building your very own dream team is so much fun. Now though, Ultimate Team Draft is a new feature which, at a cost, allows you to play with better players to participate in a tournament to win gold packs and other prizes. It’s a helpful new addition which rewards you even if you fail.

Pros

Better defending

Tighter more intimate gameplay

Sliding no longer a massive risk

Women’s football is a nice addition

Balancing is a lot better

Cons

Referees give penalties away easier

Summary

FIFA 16 retains its crown comfortably with the slight but significant changes throughout the entire on-the-pitch experience. The smarter AI, better tackling and defending options hardly ever make it a frustration and it’s never too long before you’re on the attack. Its nicely balanced and incredible fun. PES is a fantastic football game but FIFA is just better.