Real-Time Tactical Action: FIFA 15 Demo

He's feeling down because we lost 5-0.

Our Adam often writes posts about EA’s FIFA games, but as he’s off on holiday this week (sitting in a quiet, dark room, for all I know), I’ll have a crack at this one. Hey there, FIfans! (I imagine that’s the term.) EA yesterday released a FIFA 15 demo, so we might finally answer the question on all of our lips: have they managed to keep the action lively for the fifteenth game (fifteen! can you imagine?) in their real-time tactical series? I strapped on my leg armour to find out.

If you’ve played Unreal Tournament’s Bombing Run mode, you’ll get the basics: two teams are fighting to gain control of a bomb (defused, in this) and launch it into the enemy’s goalzone. Except you only have melee attacks. It’s made tricker yet by playing from a third-person perspective, and having 11 characters yourself. You only control one at once, switching in real-time (no tactical pause!), while an AI babysits the rest.

Though the bomb is the key to victory, you’ll quickly realise that controlling space is paramount. Using your active chap to deny areas and block enemies, narrowing their paths and options, gets you further than nipping at their ankles. Speaking of, a little violence is permitted, but curiously little. It’s tricky but awfully interesting. I was only disappointed I couldn’t control all 11 men at once.

The demo has six factions: Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Bor. Dortmund, Napoli, PSG, FC Barcelona, and Boca Juniors. Though each sportsman looks different-ish, they play about the same, with no unique skills (beyond the bombwarder) or customisable gear. If you do want stats, though, the demo has a slice of its Ultimate Team mode, a squad-building collectible card game sort of thing.

Oh yeah I bet you're real cut up there, when you're up 4-0.

It’s curious that FIFA 15’s graphical detail goes down to even individual blades of grass when the terrain is simply a flat field–why not some interesting obstacles? (Maybe there’s something to say for the simplicity.) The well-modelled crowds could be more involved too, perhaps as a neutral third faction both sides would vie for control of.

The cinematics are ludicrous, wedging in narrative nonsense. Each match has a long intro filled with lore and guff, and the final cutscene is downright absurd. The defeated crumpled to the floor, while victorious players leapt around hugging each other and even erected a miniature stage to spray confetti from cannons and award themselves a trophy. These are skippable, at least.

Having played only one or two of the 14 earlier FIFA games, I couldn’t reasonably judge 15 as part of a series. However, if you enjoy real-time tactical action, I’d say maybe give it a look.

You’ll find the demo on Origin. I had problems with downloading, as it kept pausing for reasons unknown and I’d need to resume it manually. Sometimes it refused to resume. Mysteries.

Some shoddy bombwarding there.

27 Comments

  1. John Connor says:

    I don’t get it. Why don’t they have guns?

  2. Drake Sigar says:

    Finally, an explanation of football I can actually understand.

  3. Jumpyshark says:

    I’ve played a fair bit of FIFA and PES in my time and honestly rarely matched the close games of Bombing Run in UT2K4 by myself with Godlike bots. I used to have epic 2 hour matches with shifting ‘fronts’ and last second saves. The matches were usually low scoring as I preferred lots of bots on the maps for plenty of shooting, but occasionally there would be good passing moves.

    • prodigy84bg says:

      Isn’t Bombing Run more like American football? I guess that’s why I never liked it too much.

  4. prodigy84bg says:

    It’s not the 15th game – it’s the 22nd. 15 is short for 2015, because you know, writing the full year is too complicated for EA.

  5. Headwuend says:

    I heard there are no playable female characters. There are HUNDREDS, and all of them athletic young men.

    More disgusting pandering by EA, what else is new??

    • Drake Sigar says:

      I know you’re joking but now that I think about it, I wouldn’t mind seeing a woman’s league (only seen one game on the telly and it was skilful, dramatic, and above all rough). If some no-name studio can include them in Football Superstars, I’m sure EA Sports has the resources. Then again maybe it’s a bit of a waste seeing as most people surely buy these games for the roster of recognizable names.

      • yhancik says:

        That should actually start, then, with making female football players’ names recognisable. I find it amazing, considered the omnipresence of Men’s Football (especially during a Men’s World Cup), and a general discourse on how it’s universal and “brings people together” (except if you don’t like football, then you’re a wet blanket) that Women’s Football is getting so little interest and exposition.

        • N'Al says:

          I say start with Hope Solo. What a name. Han Solo’s sister, I bet.

        • GomezTheChimp says:

          You mean like, say, Waynetta Rooney, Joanne Hart, or Daniella Sturrige? Great idea.

        • Leb says:

          Yes this! Hand it to the dead or alive team – they know what they are doing with women’s sports.

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        Sensible soccer on the Amiga had a custom team of all girls! Err… On second thought it was called “slags” or “slappers” or something like that, so maybe not such a progressive example.

  6. Player1 says:

    This made me chuckle from beginning to end. Best FIFA preview ever.

  7. thedosbox says:

    This is superb. And I say this as a fan of real-life foot to ball, and player of the old-school UT games.

  8. Chiron says:

    Reading over the games features I at no point see mention of Chainsaws or how to Teabag people.

    This is the 15th version of the game and they cannot even manage to implement basic features yet?

  9. Steed says:

    That was fantastic. I stared cracking up at Bombwarder and was actively laughing for the remainder of the article.

  10. Urre says:

    Fear not! For I too found it perplexing you generally can’t control all the players at once in these so called Foot-To-Ball type of games, so I went ahead and made one where you can. Find it here: link to suchsports.itch.io