EA’s FIFA franchise, along with Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer, has dominated the sports genre within video gaming since the turn of the Century. This hugely successful series has had instalments released annually since 1993 and has produced a staggering 15 entries since its debut.
Therefore it is credit to developer EA’s ability to continually tweak and improve the franchise’s format whilst still retaining popular features that this series has continued to break sales records and satisfy fans.
Product: FIFA 15
Platforms: 3DS, PC, PS3, PS4, Wii, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Developer: EA Canada
Publisher: EA Sports
Release Date: Out now
Price: Around £40 (Xbox One, PS4), £30 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC, 3DS, Wii)
Of course, the FIFA series benefits from being based around the most internationally popular sport in the world, with fans happily travelling across the globe to watch their favourite teams play and millions being generated through football betting each year. However, whilst these dedicated fans provide a built-in audience, they also provide a tough group to appease due to their knowledge, appreciation and passion for the sport.
If EA were to publish a substandard game, football fans would not be fooled and, moreover, wouldn’t hesitate in letting their opinion be known. Therefore the FIFA series, despite having a loyal audience, still must deliver each and every time. Luckily, FIFA 15 does not crumble under the burden of expectation and is another superb entry in the series which further hones the core dynamics.
EA has always taken complete advantage of its licensing deal with FIFA, with each game featuring famous contemporary players, managers, teams and stadiums. FIFA 15 is no exception, featuring a staggering 35 licensed leagues, over 600 clubs, 16,000+ players and 41 licensed stadiums. Through the game’s utilisation of EA’s revolutionary Ignite Engine, each of these licensed elements are brought to life with detailed graphics, realistic motion-capture and a fluid frame-rate.
Players are instantly recognisable and their movements astoundingly accurate, with personal mannerisms and characteristic tics present and accounted for. Moreover, from the organic alteration of the pitches to terrain depending upon weather conditions, FIFA 15 creates a visual experience that is frighteningly reactive and intricate.
Image source: by wuestenigel
It is not just in the visuals that this game excels, with the soundtrack and commentary being of an equally high quality. The soundtrack features an electric mix of throbbing dance tracks and rousing rock anthems, with a variety of contributions from Avicii to Kasabian, which perfectly complements the on-pitch action. The game is surprisingly astute at selecting songs that are ideally suited to what is occurring and there is a large enough selection to prohibit noticeable repetition.
Meanwhile, Martin Tyler, Alan Smith, Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend are present in the virtual commentary box this time around. The commentary provided is surprisingly varied and reactive to events on-pitch, although there is still a plethora of standard clichés that are used to bridge gaps. However, this being said, the commentary is consistently entertaining and never appears overtly stilted or massively rehearsed.
Overall, this is another fine entry in EA’s juggernaut franchise. Whilst unlikely to convert those previously unimpressed, it will easily satisfy fans wanting an up-to-date, and authentic, experience tightly constructed around fluid visuals and tight gameplay. No need to go to the penalty shoot-out, FIFA 15 has gone home with the cup.
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
A keen League player and WoW RPer, he has written for a range of publications including Games TM, Nintendo Official Magazine, games industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games. He currently works as full-time content director for the British Esports Association.