It hasn’t been all smooth sailing for EA Sports’ next-gen simulations this year, but few franchises are as dependable as FIFA. With FIFA 15 bringing even more improved visuals to the Xbox One and PS4, increased immersion thanks to painstakingly recreated stadiums and player faces, and promising some updates to the game’s digital goalkeepers, it’s safe to say the game’s release is marked on millions of calendars around the world.
Delivering an annual release in a sports simulation franchise may sound straightforward, but developers who hope to make each year’s installment worthwhile face a unique challenge. Do they try to break new ground and introduce fresh mechanics, or simply polish what worked in the previous title? The reviews for FIFA 15 are in, and it seems that opinion – like that of players and fans – may not be uniform.
The team decided to place more time and energy into the passion side of the soccer equation, while confirming that their attention was also turning towards the next installments still to come. What does that mean for this year’s batch? Good news for fans, even if a step forward means re-learning aspects of the game:
Game Informer (Matthew Kato):
“FIFA 15 takes the series into a whole other level with gameplay that betters the surmounting hype that threatened to engulf it. Playing it makes me believe I can do just about anything with the ball at my feet, and this self-assurance is powerful. If you have the desire, FIFA 15 meets the challenge. It does not disappoint.”
IGN (Chris Schilling):
“While some of FIFA 15’s refinements are worthwhile – and a tangible improvement on FIFA 14 – its flaws stand out all the more. In some ways it’s a step forward, in others a step back – and with Konami’s PES seemingly in resurgent form, EA Sports can’t afford to take its eye off the ball.”
Eurogamer (Jack Arnott):
“Is FIFA 15 better to play than last year? The short answer is no. It’s so different that it will frustrate as many fans as it delights, based on their different approaches to the game.”
CVG (Nathan Irvine):
“FIFA 15 isn’t perfect. There are still some quirky animations in here that occasionally burst the realism bubble… But make no mistake, FIFA 15 is the best game of football around. EA has evolved its engine rather than revolutionised it, and it’s worked a treat.”
Gamespot (John Robertson):
“What’s different is the degree of style and elegance with which everything is executed, giving the game a sense of refinement that was lacking last season. If last year’s game was a skeleton of what FIFA wanted to achieve over the course of this console generation, then consider FIFA 15 the first layer of meat on top of that.”
BleacherReport (Brian Mazique):
“There isn’t much to dislike about FIFA 15. It’s the kind of game that hardcore fans of the sport will like, but it also has some qualities that even gamers who aren’t fans of world football can appreciate. With a few small tweaks here and there, this game could be as close to perfect as a video game can get.”
GamesRadar (Ben Griffin):
“What looks like football doesn’t always feel like football, and crafting a playable product from the world’s most beloved sport is more complex than making sure Neymar’s nose hairs are accurate. This year FIFA 15 pulls off a difficult trick. Not only is the game closer to a TV-style broadcast than ever, but the experience is better than FIFA’s been in years.”
Post Arcade (Noah Love):
“I can’t give FIFA 15 a 10.0 simply because EA makes it impossible. And it’s not because it isn’t a perfect game. It’s about as close to perfect as I imagine right now… Real perfection is our there, and I hope one day EA finds a way to get there.”
Digital Spy (Liam Martin):
“FIFA 15 may not be brimming with new ideas and game modes, but it is the most polished and enjoyable version of the football sim yet.”
From the sound of it, longtime fans of the FIFA brand have more than enough reasons to try out the new release, especially if picking it up on next-gen consoles. While the goalkeeper upgrades have added significant improvements, the addition of even more physics and AI computations can add some new and… interesting quirks. But with the improvements going much farther than skin deep, this year’s title seems – for the most part – like a solid buy.
What do you make of the reviews? Will you be adding this to your next-gen collection without hesitation, or do the criticisms give you pause? Sound off in the comments.
FIFA 15 is available now for the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.