EA has been carefully shaping its sports sims around broadcast coverage for a number of years. Just as Sky exploded into football coverage in the early nineties bringing video game-like stats, sound effects and visuals, video games have met the television industry half-way. FIFA 15 is and was always going to be a no-brainer of a purchase for those who love the series, but this year is the first in which EA has noticeably rested upon its laurels. I love the fully licensed teams and stadiums, I adore the online leagues and both Ultimate Team and career mode are worryingly addictive.
One of the best things about FIFA 15 is that lobbed through balls are now far, far less successful. In addition, your new AI teammates automatically mark those troublesome runners, so if your opponent keeps abusing lofted through balls they are more likely than ever to be left wide open to counter attacks. It’s difficult to overstate what a massive improvement this is, and for the first few hours, this genuinely feels like the best FIFA ever.
The menus are familiar but better presented; they’re slicker and easier to navigate around. You’ll also notice how the game has a more advanced TV broadcast presentation style, making it look as close to reality as we’ve seen in a FIFA game to date. Replays are now shown with new speed settings, for example, if you blast a shot and it’s only millimetres from going in, you’ll be rewarded with a super slow motion view of the player’s reaction.
Now that most FIFA 15 players and FIFA 15 coins buyer fly around at lightening pace, defending can be an absolute nightmare. First off, you need to catch your opponent first before you can even attempt to tackle the opposition. Even then, chances are that the ball will ping around between dangling legs and you’re left in the dust anyway! A new added feature which brings in a new element of defending is shirt pulling. This makes up for the physical battles in FIFA 15 becoming less effective, especially against the CPU.