FIFA 15 (PlayStation 4)
Annual soccer franchise returns for another round post-World Cup.
- A highly polished soccer experience
- Tweaked pace of gameplay adds to realism
- Team members sometimes get outsmarted by the opponent
- Mostly of an evolution over last year’s edition
FIFA 15 may not be a massive leap from last year’s instalment, but there is no denying it is a highly polished soccer simulator that will please fans of the sport.
Price$ 79.00 (AUD)
2014 was a FIFA World Cup year, though Electronic Arts’ FIFA 14 actually came out last year and was themed around the journey to the tournament. FIFA 14 was also notable in that it was the first time the series came to the current generation of consoles. Now that the World Cup in Brazil has wrapped up, FIFA 15 has the opportunity to accurately recreate the experience.
A new feeling
With the new generation of consoles on the market, long running annual franchises often find themselves stuck in an awkward place. On one hand the game has to be designed to support the larger install base of the last console generation, though at the same time it needs to offer more on the current generation. FIFA 15 exemplifies this situation, staying mostly true to its last generation roots while adding a few improvements on PlayStation 4.
The FIFA franchise has been inching closer towards realism by adding better physics and more fluid controls with each instalment. Last year’s FIFA 14 came with tweaks to the gameplay and controls that made it feel more like a simulation of the sport. Passing and dribbling during matches takes a bit longer to carry out, leading to an on-pitch experience that feels a bit slower.
FIFA 15 brings that over, and it does not mean that the game itself is slow. Instead, the experience feels more meticulous than before. Fans who played FIFA 14 will already know what to expect, though players coming from FIFA 13 or earlier will notice the change in pace.
The virtual soccer experience is ultimately determined by the opponent AI, and the opposing teams in FIFA 15 put up a good challenge during a match. The AI in FIFA 14 could sometimes be a bit too challenging, pulling off some feats that left your team members in the dust. The AI in FIFA 15 is still tough, though not as flawless in spotting openings in your defence and exploiting them before you can react.
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The AI in FIFA 15 remains quick-witted and aggressive, though the same does not always hold true for your team. Often it is up to you to go and chase down a ball that is open, as your team members show a lack of willingness to dash alongside opposing players. Relying too much on your team members means your ball will be stolen, passes are botched, and even the occasional off-side.
The added processing power of the PlayStation 4 has resulted in several tweaks to the game. Shots on goal are now more realistic. In the past the soccer ball would either get past the goalkeeper or not, but now the position and movement can influence if the ball gets past or not. Seeing the ball bounce off the goalkeeper’s limbs or slip underneath him adds another layer of realism to the game.
Time for a re-match
FIFA 15 comes off as more polished experience than last year’s effort, though FIFA 14 was still a good game in its own right. If you are coming from FIFA 13 and earlier, then this year’s instalment may convince to upgrade, particularly if you have a PlayStation 4. However, those who bought FIFA 14 last year may prefer to wait for the next instalment for a different experience.
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