A pad hits the ground with an almighty thud and a look of fury is etched upon your face. “I’m not playing again”, you proclaim, despite the fact that a decade of the same hollow promise firmly lines the path behind you. You can scarcely believe it. A joke. A farce. An outrage. Sat in silence, you glare accusingly at the screen, fixating upon that damning score. But as you contemplate the reality of your defeat and a life without FIFA, the same Duelshock that hit the ground mere moments ago, finds itself gravitating upward until it’s neatly nestling between your palms. “Fine. One more game.”
It is this unforgiving replication of the real sport that has made FIFA the most wonderfully intoxicating simulation of football on the market. And more to the point, is the reason that more than 15-years later, the sporting collective still can’t put it down. In striving to emulate the peaks and troughs of football so closely, EA has – over many years – managed to craft a product that combines the most moreish aspects of both spectator sport and video game, to create a whole that once started, can never be stopped.
FIFA14 certainly set the standard. A footballing homage unlike any other, one which has elevated expectations of just how accurate a sport simulation can be. So then, now that the Germans have conquered all and we’ve all agreed that Tim Cahill’s volley WAS the best goal of the World Cup, how does EA plan to feed the footballing appetite with a product superior to its predecessor?
First up, it’s all getting very dramatic: players now possess a series of emotions, from joyous elation all the way through to boot-induced aggression. If a defender and striker have been tussling all game long, expect to see the temperature rise as both berate each other and call for the referee to book one another. Similarly, teammates will praise each other for a match-saving interception, or even hand out a dash of criticism for hitting that 35-yard stinker of a shot that ended up in row-Z. It’s an exciting addition that helps add a pinch of real world feel.
Additionally, the CPU-controlled opponents have seemingly put their thinking caps on this time around. As CPU approach is all relative to the context of the game: a man down and a goal up? Expect to see the Mourihno-branded bus being parked any minute now. On the other hand, if your opponent is a goal down in a knockout tie, don’t be surprised if another striker is subbed on.
There’s yet more treats in-bound for the stocky centre-halves amongst you, as tackling has been improved. Upping the tackle success rate now means that scything down those pesky wingers is easier than ever before – or if you’re so inclined, tackling them fairly.
In terms of FIFA15’s visual credentials, much attention has been paid to player models. Ensuring that not only are player’s faces perfect renderings of the men themselves, but so to are their athletic physiques. So expect to see Sergio Ramos’ bench-press fuelled chest and Xherdan Shaquiri’s unsettlingly toned calves, in a manner so realistic, you could be watching the real thing.
Crowd individuality and animation is something that’s admittedly been lacklustre in previous iterations of EA’s football goliath. As such, this year’s iteration will see a major overhaul of those pie-eating lovelies. Featuring crowd-specific chants and celebrations, FIFA15 will boast a real variation of punters on show, all of which will cheer for clubs in their own special way.
The devil is in the details, something that EA know better than most. Further improvements to animations such as the flow of hair and the use of weak feat mean that proceedings will resemble the aesthetic of a real-life game more than ever. From Robben only having a left foot, to Luiz’s ridiculous haircut, the presentation of FIFA15 is on another level. Blink and you may well mistake it for the real thing.
To adapt to the improved tackling system, players now control the ball with greater accuracy and can as such turn in sharper angles, making retaining ball possession easier due to improved physical modelling of the players’ limbs.
All of these small improvements are set to add up to a major jump forward in the FIFA chronology. So pick up the pad and get some practice in, because it’s almost kick-off time for the world’s greatest football game.
Playstation obsessive and Red Bull fiend. Will play anything and everything. Max Payne champion, adequate FIFA player and hopeless driver. Currently studying Journalism at The University of Salford in the hopes of achieving game-reporting glory. A man can dream.