You know that feeling when your girlfriend/wife/mother asks you why you need the new FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) game when you already have the previous one? This time, you can tell them the game is completely different, but it's still a ton of fun.
Like its predecessors, FIFA16 is a football simulation video game published by Electronic Arts (EA) Sports. The UrbanWire's writers, Faris and Manfred, played the latest game in the franchise to give it a once over. To make things a little more interesting, Faris is a veteran FIFA player while Manfred hasn't the foggiest on what's happening on screen.
Faris: FIFA16's gameplay is by far the hardest we've ever played since we started playing FIFA (FIFA04, mind you!). The passing and shooting mechanics have changed dramatically, as does the whole feel of the game.
Manfred: FIFA does have a very crisp and responsive control system to emulate the fluidity of football itself.
Faris: It feels much slower. And the slower we played, with more passes and more emphasis on possession, the more successful we were. You've got to Play Beautiful, as the tagline says. No more holding down the sprint button!
Manfred: ...still not slow enough for me. I was button-mashing just to see what would happen and I wished I had a separate joystick to control aim instead of having both movement and aim bound to one. The 'intuitive' mechanics are very unintuitive if you have no clue about FIFA or football in general. But it's supremely satisfying to execute slick passes and dribbles, even if you have no idea how you did them.
For the first time ever, female football teams have been added into the game. It's as symbolic as it is enjoyable. Playing with our favourite strike duo, America's Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux was easily more fun than ripping defenders to shreds using cover star Lionel Messi.
Faris: Adding the women's teams also made it feel like you've got two games in one, albeit it being an extension on your Fifa 16 account – with 'Kick Off' and 'Women's International Cup' being the only two game modes the women teams are able to play in. Maybe in future we'll see more women teams in the game, as well as women being added in FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT).
Manfred: FIFA is an emulator to a certain extent and it's meant to reflect the football scene in reality. But we still wish there's more liberty with the teams, like pitting the Men's teams against the Women's team, just for the experience.
Better graphics are always cited by the triple A developers every year in their new releases, boasting higher resolution, better psychics and immersive realism. FIFA is no exception, with each installment coming with 'improved graphics'.
Manfred: I'd like to call EA out on that because FIFA16 does look the same as last year's. There's still awkward animations, clipping and collisions and plenty of odd rendering. Luckily, FIFA is mostly played in full zoomed-out view of the whole pitch so we only need to laugh during goal celebrations or penalties.
Faris: There hasn't been a huge difference in the graphics from last year's game to this one, but that isn't the game's main sell. End of the day, it looks realistic enough so players don't find it annoying. Seriously, there's so much focus that you have to put into playing the game, that the graphics, improved or not, are hardly noticed.
Draft and Lag
FUT Draft is the biggest feature for game modes. Indeed, it's massive fun to build a team full of superstars and trying your hands with an In-Form Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez in the same team. Unfortunately the EA servers are a letdown.
Faris: Searching for games was tough, and you'd get that laggy latency from time to time. EA's still got work to do on that front. There's also a big debate as to whether the FUT Draft is worth its entry fee: 15,000 Fut 16 coins or 300 FIFA points ($4.80). It would be worth your money and time only if you win the Draft. If you've yet to really figure out the new gameplay yet, you should stay away from it.
Manfred: As mentioned, in a game with fluid and intuitive gameplay, having lag stutter gameplay will cause so much impotent rage. And smashed controllers if you disconnect from a game.
Manfred: Though I certainly don't play it much, FIFA is one of the last few games which properly delivers a nostalgic “splitscreen” experience. Before Xbox Live or Playstation Network you had to call your friends over to you house to play a game with you. It was a shared experience that purely online gaming can't match. FIFA lets you enjoy the video game and the beautiful game with your friends, especially when you can't play football on a pitch with them because of the haze.
Faris: Although it's the most difficult FIFA I've ever played, it's also the most enjoyable one. The emphasis on passing and playing beautifully, similar to real life, makes the experience a fruitful one. It'll be a mix of frustration and fun while learning the game.