Years pass and fans of football simulations eagerly await to see what the guys from EA and Konami got cooking each year when it comes to that genre. When it comes to FIFA 16, at first glance, it seems like it’s only a repaint of it’s younger brother, FIFA 15. Although, not even it’s older brothers would have been ashamed by this fancy new paintjob. It seems to us like FIFA 16 is the winner of a beauty pageant among EA’s football games. All it’s menus are nicely positioned and graphically well done. The music, we would say, is pretty similar to that of previous years, so no luck for folk music lovers. But, you probably won’t buy the new FIFA game for music and menus, so let’s get right into the main part of it – gameplay, and some other minor details that enhance the overall experience of a game whose main motive is it’s love of football.
When it comes to the atmosphere, FIFA has once again fulfilled our expectations. They added new hymns, new stadiums, new graphical details, and new weather conditions. Along with full graphic support for the Premier League, this year Bundesliga got the same treatment, which will surely gladden the fans from Germany, and surely others too. The club jerseys are faithfully represented and a big chunk of clubs even have their third set in game, which is definitely a plus. Many teams can even pick retro jerseys. Even the fonts on player’s backs are no longer wrinkly and stretched from shoulder to shoulder no matter the name’s length. This year, the letters are of uniform dimensions, which is a small, but positive change.
Gameplay-wise, the developers have worked on some new controls, like for example, a direct pass to feet, or running while still facing the opposing attacker that has the ball. This means that your player won’t be slowly dragging along any more when you want to keep facing your opponent, which will certainly help to keep up the pressure on the attacker. But, don’t expect miracles… All these small changes barely influence the game. We could even say that some of the redefined commands even set it back, like for example, crossing the ball into empty space. By holding L1 (if you’re playing on PS) while crossing and voila –with good timing in most cases, an attacker will create an advantage. And almost always manage to at least try a header towards the goal, and fairly often even score. It remains to be seen if the people at EA will fix this injustice towards defenders who are trembling at mere suggestion of the opponent reaching for that wondrous L1+cross command. This is especially true if you decide to play against AI on one of the higher difficulty settings – be prepared to be terrorized by their constant use of it.
Another new option is body feint. While you’re controlling the ball, hold L1 while moving around the left stick and your player will act like he’s having a panic attack; although sometimes this feint maneuver might be useful, especially if you’re not facing a computer opponent. All in all, when it comes to the general control responsiveness, we could say that there were some minor improvements.
This year, Ultimate team has a new feature – draft mode; that allows you to invest 15.000 futcoins to create a team out of 5 players on offer per position. First, of course, you have to choose a formation, then a captain who can be of any position and will usually be one of your best players. After that, you set up the rest of positions and substitutes. It can be played online or offline and the more you win, the bigger the prize. Five wins in a row is the biggest available streak and will net you the biggest prizes. And the prizes rise in value depending on the difficulty setting that you choose. You won’t have to invest any coins for you first fut draft, so use that freebie wisely.
Of course, the biggest change this year is the availability of female national teams to play with. There are 12 of them and we have to admit that their faces and hairstyles are very well done. Since the last Women’s FIFA World Cup, female football viewership grew drastically, so people from EA took this as an opportunity to help the sport out with a gentle push, and of course make a few coins out of it (not FIFA coins, mind you). Among the 12 selectable teams are the reigning champions – team USA.
It’s worth mentioning that new challenges have been added to Skillgames that could serve as a good training or as a pastime while waiting for a match to load.
So, in conclusion, we could say that FIFA hadn’t raised the bar this year, but had made a small step forward. But was that enough to beat out the competition? We’re not so sure about that… But for all those FIFA fans, this year’s edition will be more than enough to slake their thirst. A few nicks have been mended and the game received a new makeover. Nothing spectacular, but it will have to serve for this year.
Authors: Milan Živković, Marko Narandžić