Wot I Think: FIFA 15

FIFA is a game you play co-operatively with your computer.

This is true of any game, of course; there is no play without the computer’s reaction to your inputs. But FIFA requires that you steer eleven footballers in real-time around a pitch you can see less than a third of at any given moment. To make that possible, you’re reliant on the computer to take hold of whoever you’re not directly controlling. You’re reliant on the game to correctly infer your intent as you wrestle with umpteen buttons and twin analogue sticks.

In the space between those two outcomes – intent and action – is where FIFA happens. Everything that’s good or bad about the game exists in that ambiguity. It’s why I love and hate FIFA 15 for all the same reasons I’ve loved and hated the last four iterations.

It’s easy when reviewing a new FIFA game to focus on what’s different. Everyone knows what FIFA is, after all. It’s football from a side-on perspective. You control a man, then the next man, then the next man, and try to string together passes between them and score goals. There are friendlies and leagues, and Ultimate Team in which you buy players-as-collectible-cards, and Be A Pro mode in which you chart your rise to stardom as a single footballing wonderkid. It is as it ever was and, through the passage of time and yearly repetition, lulls you into the false sense that all its core ideas are the only way they ever could be.

That’s not true, obviously. FIFA is a very particular take on football. I want to pick at these calcified bones for a while before, yes, I’ll tell you what’s new.

For starters, FIFA always conveys everything to the player through the neat, communicable metaphor of a television broadcast. Matches begin with the same fanfare of a Sky Sports Super Sunday, proceed with the dim chatter of dim commentary teams, and feature the same accurately modelled gurning faces. Replays, camera angles, on-screen stats; everything, useful or not, is displayed in accordance with the language of sport television.

I can understand why this decision was made. Re-creating any slice of real life in a videogame requires abstraction, and television broadcasts provide a visual language that people already understand. Abstraction also means compromise, and as compromises go, viewing the pitch from a side-on angle as if through a camera in the stands is about as good as any.

Other compromises then trickle from this starting point. For example, football games have long had computer-assisted passing, to help players get the ball to their intended target. Sensible Soccer had it, in part to compensate for the eight-directional controls.

FIFA has long had more than eight directions of movement, but the from-the-stands camera angle has the effect of foreshortening the width of the pitch, making it harder to judge distances, and impossible to see who might be lurking thirty feet ahead of you and just a little off screen. In this instance, computer-assisted passing becomes a necessity to all FIFA players except perhaps the savants.

This is what I mean when I say you play the game co-operatively with the computer. The problem, of course, is that the computer doesn’t always get it right. “NOT HIM,” is the common frustrated yelp of every FIFA player. Of course I wanted to pass it to the unmarked man, not the fellow on the ground with three defenders atop him. Of course I wanted to pass it to the person on-side with a scoring opportunity, not the person 20 yards off-side down near the corner flag. To play FIFA is to be constantly reminded that you are not solely in control, and it’s infuriating to lose and struggle against a system you can’t dominate.

Games are normally about that slow process of mastery, and you’ll keep improving and improving at FIFA forever but never progress past its AI glass ceiling.

This feeling of bitter frustration permeates FIFA. You’ll tap a button to change who you’re currently controlling, and it’ll consistently favour players who are chasing the ball instead of players towards whom the ball is advancing. This can be the difference between stopping an attacking opponent and conceding a goal. Sometimes you’ll tap the same button and it won’t change players at all, for some unknown reason. This can be the difference between watching a ball trundle harmlessly out of play and getting on the end of it to score.

Sometimes you’ll push a button to head the ball, and your player will swing his foot at it. Sometimes you’ll push a button to kick a cross in, and your player will damply head it no more than a few feet ahead of himself. Sometimes you’ll hold down the pass button for a couple of seconds to reach a distant player, and you’ll instead kick it a couple of feet towards the nearest, most pointless teammate. Sometimes you’ll press the through-ball button and push right, and the through-ball will target a player to your left. NOT HIM.

Taken in total, these errors can be the difference between enjoying yourself and smashing a 360 controller-wielding fist clean through the front of your monitor.

If all this sounds like petulant detail, let’s stop for a moment and pose a couple of noodly questions.

One, is the mathematically-perfect precision of computers antithetical to sport?

Sport is human endeavour in which we strive to push past the hypothetical limits of our own, imperfect, schlubby bodies.

So for starters, FIFA re-creates the skill and fallibility of actual humans, making Gareth Bale a terrifyingly athletic man-horse and staffing every lower league minnow with wheezing, puttering, human lawnmowers. At least some of the above complaints can be put down to reasonable human error on the part of the fallible machines you’re meant to be controlling.

Which is fair enough. But to push that idea further, the constraints of the controls and the simulation are to some extent simply things players need to, if not master, learn to work around. Once you know the idiosyncracies of FIFA15’s methods for selecting who it thinks you’re passing to, you can begin to manipulate those outcomes. It’s no longer football at that point, it’s FIFA. But it’s also a game with a much higher skill ceiling, and feels akin to learning context-sensitive block timing in a fighting game.

In other words: games are always, at some deep and sometimes unreachable level, broken. Learning to deal with that schlubbyness is part of the fun, and perhaps no different than struggling to force my sagging carcass around a five-a-side football pitch for an hour.

Two, don’t you have to take the bad with the good, or rather the lows with the highs? FIFA creates a tremendous emotional rollercoaster when you play it. A certain amount of this is the narratives created by the matches you play – last-minute comebacks, unfair penalties, scuffed chances, lost dreams. Things of football.

A certain amount of it is the frustration I described above, and the consequently greater feelings of joy when passes string together as intended. Again: you are no longer experiencing the highs and lows of football at that point, but of FIFA.

I’m not sure it matters. If you could create a system that perfectly interpreted your actions at every point, it would certainly eliminate a great deal of frustration and anger from the lives of millions of FIFA players. That seems like a blanket good, until I begin to wonder if it would dull the other joys the game provides. Aside from impotent rage, there lies in those errors of interpretation moments of serendipity and grace and providence. Success is made exhilarating by the sheer unlikeliness of success, and two-dozen physics objects bounding and bouncing around a pitch can start to make goals feel like miracles.

That said, the reason I’ve spent so much of this review talking about niggling details like crappy passing assistance is because these things, to me, aren’t niggling details. They’re the game. They’re what possess my thoughts when I play. They’re the things I want to see changed every year. They’re the things that disappoint me, every year. They’re what generate feelings of happiness and sadness as I play and they’re exactly the same now as they were in 2011. I think fixing them would mean changing what FIFA is from that very first act of compromise all the way down, and I’m ready and waiting for someone to try.

What’s changed instead in FIFA 15 are the same things that do change every year: pace, defending, dominant strategies. Crosses, so overpowered last year as to make every game about simply chasing the ball down the wing and then hoofing it into the middle, have been nerfed. This diversifies the tactics you’ll encounter when playing online.

The change has been partly supported by the decrease of pace in defenders, or the increase of pace in attackers. Sturridge can now sprint past defenders with the ball at his feet exactly as he could in real life, without having to worry about slower defenders somehow being able to catch up with him. This means that, in lieu of the all-powerful cross, you can cut inside and make breaks through the middle much more easily than before.

It also has the negative consequence of making defending much harder, much less important, and turning online games into frantic chases from end-to-end. Attack, counter-attack, counter-attack, counter-attack and on and on. What stops every scoreline ticking into double digits are improved goalkeepers, which make fewer dimwitted mistakes when it comes to shielding their near post or stopping finesse shots.

Does any of this change the core experience of FIFA? Not really. The pace is gradually moving closer to what it was back in FIFA 11, and that feeling of reversion amplifies the sense that each yearly release of FIFA is an act of conservative re-balancing. One dial gets turned up a little, another gets turned down a little, and then next year or the year after they’ll turn back the other way. Other games experience this process multiple times a year via free patches.

What, then, of those back-of-the-box features. The PC version does now run on the Ignite engine, with all the graphical and physics-y balls-and-referee-whistles that next-gen consoles received with FIFA 14. I can see blades of grass on the pitch now. There are also those ‘new emotions’, which cause players to wave their fists in the air in anger at their fellow players, and to awkwardly clip their limbs through one another during interstitial cutscenes after nearly every foul. The great impact of this is that you have to press the A button more often to skip all the crap before you can get back to playing.

Everything else remains in stasis. FIFA Ultimate Team is still wonderful, but marred by inexplicably shit menus that make every moment of management a tedious chore. I’ve yet to spend any real money on players, but I did last year and likely will again. I haven’t played the Be A Pro mode – sorry, but it’s never been my thing. I hear it’s broadly unchanged.

Which brings me to some sort of conclusion. FIFA 15 is still great. I still love playing it. It’s exciting and tense and skillful and rewarding. There’s no better local multiplayer game, when all the above mentioned frustrations can be turned against and inflicted upon a friend, making them upset and angry for unfair reasons. Ultimate Team’s RPG systems and collectible card systems are still absurdly moreish. This year’s tweaks to pace and goalkeepers and so on do marginally improve certain things, though I miss some of FIFA 13’s defensive nous.

It’s also, broadly, the same as last year. Which is what I said last year, and the year before that, and the year before that. FIFA is built on a bedrock of design decisions that have become geologic in their permanence, and as unconsidered as the ground we walk on. I hope one day they get rid of all the shit underfoot.

FIFA 15 is out now and costs £50 on Origin. Amazon is currently selling a PC boxed version for £42.90.

36 Comments

  1. darkhog says:

    After FIFA ’98 graphics improved and AI declined. Best AI was in FIFA ’96 Road To Worldcup, It is too easy to beat computer on highest difficulties in “new” FIFAs where only thing that matters are graphics (btw. EA, what happened to “Challenge is Everything”?). It is considerably harder to do so in ’98 or ’96 and not because of controls, it’s the AI that is less predicable. In new FIFA games you can remember few AI pattern and you are basically set to go. In ’96 there is no such thing like AI patterns.

    • Zankmam says:

      I’ve been playing FIFA and PES since forever (including the legendary FIFA 98s) and, I gotta say, I am not at all like you – I still struggle against the AI…

    • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

      It was “Challenge Everything”, not “Challenge IS Everything”.

      Maybe as part of challenging everything, they were challenging challenging games? Hmmmm?

    • A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

      FIFA 13 had good AI, after many many hours on it I could beat the AI on highest difficulty, but only just. Over a season I still find myself winning and losing a realistic number of games. Can’t speak for any of the other modern FIFAs but agree the lack of difficulty was a huge bugbear of mine in the past.

  2. paranoydandroyd says:

    Nowhere do I see any mention of “foot-to-ball.” What is this? Amateur hour?

    • kwyjibo says:

      It’s the new RPS.

      • spacedyemeerkat says:

        Frankly, I found the lack of ‘foot-to-ball’ references to be rather refreshing.

        • Tacroy says:

          Particularly in an article like this, whose main themes are nitpicking and stasis.

    • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

      +1, I find it refreshing too. When I read articles about a given game, I would much prefer to be given an intelligent discourse on the nature of said game, as this article was, rather than a subtly contemptuous take on “foot-to-ball” or “car wot goes fast”.

  3. Prolar Bear says:

    “all the above mentioned frustrations can be turned against and inflicted upon a friend, making them upset and angry for unfair reasons”

    This is why I don’t play it anymore. Matches seem often driven by luck more than anything else.

  4. Laini says:

    I’m really enjoying it so far but I do wish they’d stop spending so much time on FUT. Heck, even with all the stuff they’ve added to it the UI is still horrible to use.
    I mostly play career and whilst the foot to balling part is still good fun the mode itself hasn’t seen any real change for years.
    There’s so much potential for things they could do, just look at 2K’s NBA series for example, but instead it’s just play the game, have some vauge goals every 4 matches, rinse and repeat.

    Tried the manager mode for the first time properly in years and it’s fun too but very lifeless.
    Players will occasionally come to you with requests but you can’t really interact with them, the scouting is a bit hit and miss (although I do like the way it displays stats as 70-80 or whatever until the full report is complete and the scout knows for sure) and things like press conferences are even more pointless than they are in Football Manager.

    One thing I do really like is the Team Sheets, not sure if that’s a new thing or not as I skipped 14 but being able to set up numerous formations and rosters beforehand means a lot less fiddling around come match day, plus the layout for adjusting your squad has been greatly improved from 13.

    Overall I’d say good fun but could be so much more.

  5. h_ashman says:

    Biggest gripe for me is they’ve dropped the unranked online match lobbies previous games had (or buried them somewhere I haven’t been able to find yet) which is a shame. I don’t really care for online seasons / tournaments etc. and like just jumping into a game, hoping my opponent hasn’t mysteriously started the 7ft tall monster who can score from anywhere and run the 100m in a sub 9 second time that is ‘created player 1’ (they usually have a silly green afro too for some reason)

    Never mind I’m giving FUT a go, it’s not bad but it’s not the same.

  6. acker says:

    Talk about RNG and randomness on the ref side.

    Since I’m kinda newb on FIFA (haven’t played in years, and the last soccer game that I played religously was Winning Eleven 2002 for the PS2, I’m not sure though) I started with Barcelona on the Liga BBVA, on the Pro difficulty.

    1st game against Real Madrid (after I insulted their manager) 5 x 1. If it wasn’t James Rodriguez it would be a nice and smashing victory.
    Seeing that in two weeks I would play against them again, I switched to my bench players to play against them with my main team. Ok, a draw and a small victory, no probs.

    Switch to Messi, Pedro, Neymar, Gotze (yay for career manager mode) and so on. They injured Pedro and Neymar, 3 weeks and 2 months off the fields, and no red card for them. Lost 4 vs 1.
    I was watching my team crumble, with a huge WTF every single goal.

    Sorry for my BAD english, but I still couldn’t managed to accept this defeat. DAYUM.

  7. Shadow says:

    I suppose the problem with football games is that, given the perspective and amount of “units”, RTS-like controls would make more sense. Not to completely disregard squad formations nor anything like that, but being able to give precise commands would remove the “glass ceiling” imposed by the AI’s whim.

    That said, the same ceiling is what provides some of the challenge and makes your moves more rewarding. Without it these games would be less frustrating but also less entertaining. Quite a dilemma.

    • DrollRemark says:

      There were a couple of Pro Evos for the Wii that basically implemented this – the thumbstick was your traditional control over the bloke on the ball, but the remote could be used to send any number of additional players on runs of your choosing, and you could pass to wherever you pointed at.

      It was refreshing, fascinating, and very enjoyable, but unfortunately a direction they ultimately gave up on (as far as I’m aware anyway). Like you say, it made it very much like an RTS than the more actiony traditional games. I’d love to see someone try to recreate that setup for PC.

      • thekelvingreen says:

        Agreed. Pro Wiivo was revolutionary, sort of pun sort of intended.

        (and I wish I’d read all that before I more or less repeated it below)

      • A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

        Agreed, it would so easily be met with WASD + Mouse. Didn’t that FTP abomination FIFA Online have this in? I don’t remember it being nearly as good as pro evos implementation though. Great leftside/rightside brain mangalation trying to learn the controls. As you say, refreshing!

  8. Morlock says:

    Thanks, Graham. I don’t care much about these games, but I care about wonderful articles.

  9. crowleyhammer says:

    £50 for a graphical update and engine implementation they had a year ago? piss taking wankers.

  10. Gothnak says:

    Good review and exactly why i tend to buy Fifa every 2 or 3 years, there is not enough difference every year.

    I hate defending from fifa, if i’m honest, the last game that made defending fun was Sensible soccer, when it had as much skill as attacking. You know what i hate most though? Corners.. I want to be able to tell the corner taker to aim it at a particular point on the ground, not hold it down a random amount and have no real idea where it is going to land. Oh, and penalties, i can never save them, so any time it’s a cup match, i just have to try and win before the match finishes.

    Of course, i have NEVER played a multiplayer game of Fifa and never will, i play Ultimate Team vs the AI leagues and i never spend a penny. For me, the real fun of the game is opening that first pack, and finding you have to build a team out of 2nd Division rejects and 3 Argentinians on your right wing. I find as soon as i have a genuinely good team, it gets pretty boring.

    The fact everyone buys the game and immediately goes to the auction house and buys a whole new team is pretty sad, the pack opening and team building is the best part of the game. I’d love Ultimate Team to be mixed with the Campaign mode against the AI, i’d play that to death.

    • spacedyemeerkat says:

      Exactly how I play FIFA, too! Although for me it’s because I would get utterly trounced online and couldn’t be doing with the abuse likely to come with it.

  11. Tom Servo says:

    Good review, I was very curious of this since I am finally ditching consoles to go back to 100% PC and I was afraid I was going to miss out on FIFA. Can’t see paying full price for this though because when I get angry at the game in six months and want to sell it, I can’t do that with PC like I could with consoles. EA charging full price for this is ridiculous.

  12. Guvornator says:

    “You’ll tap a button to change who you’re currently controlling, and it’ll consistently favour players who are chasing the ball instead of players towards whom the ball is advancing. This can be the difference between stopping an attacking opponent and conceding a goal.”

    Pedants corner: If you’ve got a controller, you can actually use the right stick, when defending, to change the player you control in the direction you are pointing the right stick. So if your opponent is advancing across the screen to the left, pressing left on the Right hand stick will select a defender in front of you. It’s pretty jolly marvellous.

    Judging by the demo, aerial through balls seem much more tricky to use than in FIFA 13. Was that your experience?

    • Premium User Badge

      Graham Smith says:

      Good point. I know about the right stick, but for the sake of the word economy decided not to mention it. I also find it useful but an imperfect solution: if there are two players in the direction you’re pushing, it doesn’t always land on the right one, and when you’re under pressure it’s hard to use it quickly and accurately.

      I don’t find aerial through-balls harder, though my impressions might be coloured by my scoring two corkers using it last night. For one of them, I aerial-through-ball’d from the halfway line to put it on a charging attackers head direct from kick-off. For another, I lobbed it over the last line of defense for a charging volley. It didn’t go to the person I was actually aiming for, mind.

      Headers are more difficult. Goalkeepers are better. I think maybe through-balls are the same but those two add up to make it harder to use over all? This stuff is hard to read, like trying to tell how many horses are coming by putting your ear to the ground.

  13. Zankmam says:

    What about Career mode (as a manager, not a player)?

    That is still the main reason I play the game and where I get my “RPG” fun from, not UT.

    • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

      If you don’t already, I beg you with every fibre of my body to play Football Manager. One of the best RPGs ever made.

    • A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

      Depending on when you last played FIFA (I’m comparing to FIFA13) it is very very similar. New menus, same text, that kind of thing. Main changes seems to be scouting: you can no longer just look up the highest rated players, until you scout them there’s a vague min-max possible rating for certain skills visible and that’s it. Makes transfers in lower league a huge gamble unless you can wait for scout reports. Also on my half a season experience wonderkids seem to rise in skill at a much faster (and more realistic) rate like they’re having a breakthrough season. Otherwise, much as before

  14. thekelvingreen says:

    While you could play Pro Evolution Soccer on the Wii in the FIFA-style the default method of play was a strange real-time strategy thing in which you controlled the entire team, highlighting players, giving them commands, and hoping that it would all culminate in a glorious goal. Of course, because it was on the Wii it got ignored.

    Sensi is still the best football game for me but Pro Wiivo was a revolutionary game and I’m saddened that it never caught on; the same approach would work just as well on PC.

  15. Ztox says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, turn all of the assists off and play manually. Fifa is a fantastic sim played this way, with the default set up it’s an okay arcade game… Anyone who hasn’t tried it and likes fifa, do it, please. Leave player switching on air balls though if you want, I do. Once you get used to it you’ll see what I mean ;) me and my friend play like this on pro clubs and it’s fantastic. I couldn’t imagine playing with the default controls now, it’s poor and restrictive. Also, you the right stick to change players :)

  16. iucounu says:

    This is such a great piece.

  17. jinglin_geordie says:

    The big question for me is have they, finally, allowed you to set the camera so that you can play both halves up the pitch/screen instead of playing the second half down the pitch? Anyone?

  18. A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

    Great review, Graham. It’s so hard nowadays to take a fresh look at FIFA and judge it as a game, so engrained is it’s version of the sport. Regarding the control quirks I think you’re spot on. Someone (alas, I forget who or where) once said Football is the perfect sport because it perfectly balances skill with luck, certainty with uncertainty. You know who should win every game, but any one who tries the dark art of accumulator bets will confirm it can never be predicted. In that respect modern FIFA does do a really good job of matching that certainty vs luck, even if it acheives it through arbitary dice rolls at times. For all the graphical bells and whistles this year I’m loving the improved physics and animations. Players really feel like fleshy, meaty, acrobatic beings this time. Haven’t played enough to judge much further but it certainly doesn’t ruin FIFA 13, the abdicating 200+ hour behemoth of my leisure time.

  19. Richard Burton says:

    For many people (including myself) it wouldn’t matter if FIFA 15 was the greatest sports simulation of all time (it isn’t). No folks, we have decided to boycott everything made by EA (including EA Sports) until they either 1) change the error of their ways and finally start listening to us (highly unlikely), or 2) they go bankrupt. So, who else here is with us in our crusade? Don’t forget, anyone who keeps buying EA games and funding the corporation is complicit and an active supporter of shady business practices.

    • GoodKnight says:

      Been there since they killed bullfrog… You know they sold or rented out the dk ip so a Koren company can make it an mmo?

  20. Premium User Badge

    Kyrne says:

    FIFA seems to be the one game the frustrates me no end with the general ‘why don’t you do what i want you to do!!!” things, but it’s also the one game i continuously come back to despite them, and I agree that i’m not sure fixing\changing them would make it any better (although it may save me a few £’s on controller’s). I’m sure it’s there to introduce errors as if every pass etc etc was perfect all the time it wouldn’t be real football!

    Most of the new things they’ve put in are improvement however all the new little cut scenes every time something happens can get really annoying.

    All that said i’m guessing that you haven’t experienced any performance issues with this one? It seems me and many others are having some major issues with the match engine. camera stuttering, lag spikes, freezes and audio loops resulting in games become unplayable at times (i’ve been following a 50+ page thread on the EA forums about it link to answers.ea.com, apparently there a similar one for the PS4 version as well). There’s been very little acknowledgement of the issue from EA (suprise suprise) but i’m hoping they fix this soon, as i really do like playing this.

  21. blesslot says:

    i would have to give you some credit on the review…just managed to overall cover what I would be looking for if I should go out and buy this game. Honestly, I bought fifa14 when it came out on PC after reading reviews from Metacritic, IGN and PC gamer and so on, disregarded the user negative reviews tauting them uneducated…boy was I wrong. My experience of the game was far from awful, it was horrid and nightmarish. I remember me and my buddies were playing a tournament on my PC which was averaging well not averaging, playing at a steady 60 fps and we came to an unanimous conclusion with regard to the feedback we got from the game, which were four – 1. Graphics – even though it was not on Ignite, the game looked good…very improved…the lighting, shading, player modeling although many other players often appeared to look more generic. 2. Commentary – Previously we had given Fifa08 the honours and until with 14, 08 was still the supreme in terms of commentary because of the ability to ‘remember’ previous matches, previous players’ clubs especially when playing against them and so on…something that could have been added on in fifa titles long long ago. But then that was just our united opinion . 3. Shooting…actually the actual shots…they were more satisfying…more gratifying…the fact that they took ages to be executed almost robbed 14 of this key positive point. 4. Celebrations – That alone was the only thing that implored me to try harder at getting the store where I bought my FIFA copy to give me my money back instead of EA Sports who refused to by ignoring my efforts. Other than that, FIFA 14 was hogwash, and was never worth hours spent on it…infact we spent a lot of periods moving from Fifa 08 and then to FIFA 11 lamenting the lack of the graphics fidelity, shooting and celebrations of the fifa 14 title.

    Now coming to 15, is it still akin to 14 in these terms?

    # Jerk you around – Give you control of the model…then take it away and make the model do something stupid then give back control and then abruptly take it away again then give it back then take it away…all that in the space of a few seconds…and that is EA Sports…it’s in the game!

    1. GPS Navigation: where player models moved to where directed (attempted to anyway) using a predefined pattern, motion and ‘precision’? Oblivious to inputed direction of the user? They move like cars…braking then stopping and then starting and then moving and the accelerating then overshooting and that oh so undeniable turning circle of a truck…good gawd….and you can even more than imagine the soft but impending voice of the GPS navigator going: “Calculating…calculating” as your player model moves in a circular motion with a berth of a meter to attend the ball that is to the left or right of him. Splendid work chaps…jolly good show.

    2. Command versus Suggestion System: where the controlling user (You or me or both…using a system of +60 fps playing rig) seems to suggest an action of either a pass, a shot, movement left or right, a run…a tackle and also the lack of fouling – 08 used to be able to allow you to deliberately foul an opponent and pull him to the ground…and so on? Where after pressing the pass or shoot or any other previously abled button, the model seem to think about it first before agreeing and then executing much of which led to the loss of matches, opportunities, offside calls and so on…none of which was totally non-existent in 08…well not totally but barely? What i am saying is we seem to be suggesting actions rather than commanding the player models, is this still true in 15?
    3. Ballophobia – This I happened to notice first in fifa 12, the horror and disgust of when a controlled player model brakes in front of the ball when the ball is not being contested and contrary to the actual control being subjected on the model to assume control of the ball. This includes assuming control or kicking the ball when it is spiraling in a particular direction, at a particular point, from a particular angle. This resulted in a lot of throw-ins conceded, a lot of corners where models will run ‘act like they be running’ after the ball and only engage the ball after it has crossed the out of bounds line. The leaving it until late before intercepting an aerial ball going out of bounds/play…all of this oblivious to the movement and engage commands made by the user on the player with the indicator. They literally run away from the bomb or we probably should not judge, there might be a ticking sound that we with controllers in our hands do not see.

    4. Defending – Fifa12 saw us being introduced to a new feature called tactical defending, this meant that you no longer pressed the standing tackle button and thus see your controlled model running at the ball to take possession by ‘stand’ tackling and shoving, pushing and so on…the right word that I am not keen on using would be auto marking…instead you have to manually navigate your model into a position where when the standing tackling button is pressed, the model would dispossess the opponent and assume possession or fail excellently by looking like a cockroach killer in a soccer kit stomping the ground and being tripped by invisible little stadium pitch gnomes. First of all, because you are never given total control of the controlled model, that personally has failed because I would be frustrated by my supposedly controlled player model as he nears the opponent where he would automatically slow down and start waiving his hands about attempting to either search the accosted player, read his braille tattoos or tickle him and spend a good valuable 30 seconds following him round that way before I would change to another player model in complete frustration. Since then in Fifa 12, the tactical defending brought in the containing method of play as part of a defending where according to me, the train of thought in regard to the introduction of this was to allow for the containing of the player with the ball so that they could be tactically defended, but when using legacy which was a much more better and preferred personally way of defending, since Fifa12, that underwent a serious castration. as even the legacy defending In 14, we saw players…defenders moving out of position to follow attacking opposition players, going on a leg fetish rampage and blatantly ignoring the ball and going after the opposition models…knocking them down, tripping them, getting in front of them and blocking them whilst the ball rolled unattended toward another opposing player or toward a dangerous set-piece opportunity for the opposition…often so, you will witness defenders slowing down so that they interact with the ball from a bickering position instead of fighting to reach the ball first and then passing it or clearing it out of danger…holding the legacy defending button since fifa 12 has been a recipe for disaster we wonder if that still is the case in 15? Fifa 11 was true to defending as any player playing and using that system is or was. you could press it and release it when u notice that you player is opting to go ‘kit number reading’ (following) aimlessly and accompanying the opposition to score..you could navigate them into a better position where they would jostle, push and bump and you would see it and it was immediate and they always went for the ball and were not GPS guided and they would be always open to correction…as for 08, holding the button would result in a foul…a deliberate foul which ceased to exist since fifa12. I doubt if this has changed in 15 as well.

    5. The Flora syndrome: This is something you happen to notice immediately after first starting to play fifa14, the immobility of the players about to receive the ball. You cant do jack. They would be stand there…planted…waiting for the ball to come to them, this would happen TIME AFTER TIME AFTER TIME AFTER TIME…them morons would be planted. Moving to meet the ball or foil an interception is a fallacy and raises the serious question of ‘control’ especially with the device within the human user’s upper limbs’ functional ends (hands). QA Staff failure I suppose more than anything here. An exercise to try: In controller settings, choose Manual instead of the widely preached airballs option for the autoselect feature…and see how many times your controlled model will go after a an incoming aerial ball, I have tried a million times to manually move the player toward where the ball will be landing; fruitlessly. At times even moving the model with my indicator will prove null and void and only be awakened to me controlling him after the ball has bounced and when the AI sharing control of my assumed player model with me grants me only to take it again when I am in the proximity of an opponent to shape how I lose the game.

    6. Hollywood:
    Acting – the art of representing a character on a stage or before a camera by means of movement, gesture, and intonation.
    What would constitute bad acting? bad acting would be constituted by ill representation of my wishes within the context of the the game of which I am the player of. Player models acting like they are seeing the ball, running toward the ball only to run over the ball, bump into the ball (this happens when mostly when a certain run animation sequences are not completed when the model reaches the ball) and then they stop track back and start jogging to go and bump into the ball again to the comic entertainment of audiences. In-fact, I have become aware of a certain group of gaming audience pundits of Fifa14 who would come to our tournaments just for the comic relief of models doing things that if looked at through that perspective, would put this title in the category of the Seinfelds of eSports. Lots of drama in the title, the trapping of the ball, the passing of the ball and then falling down, the heading of the rolling balls…and jumping and missing of the ball for just the dramatic effect of playing the game. Fifa 14 was made to be watched and not played because in most reviews you got the synonymous rephrasing of the words…’visually appealing’ especially when they applaud and comment the trots before runs and the prancing about when the player is about to contain a striker…and so on. Does 15 have this wonderful qualities? Yes…please note the sarcasm in that question.

    7. Jedi ability: AI controlled players are just Jedis. The force is strong about them that redirects your controlled player when they come in with attempts to take the ball. This force repels and also attracts your models at will, putting them out of position as such enabling your opposition to do as he wishes in your 18th area. And sporadically you would have a player in your team reaching Sith mode and coming from nowhere running to double leg tackle the Jedi and free the ball from the forceful ones…more often than most out into the outfield or onto another Jedi’s feet and then the circle would go on.

    8. WTF!: This happens where you will have your controlled players turning into tennis players. They will be oblivious to the ball and the going ons about them to the detriment of your efforts to at least let them be elementary school soccer players who will all want to chase the ball and get a touch of it. These sons of pixels will run, turn their heads at 90 degrees to the body ‘watching’ the ball, jump the circular thing, side-step beside it, jump it again and hop around it to trap it with such high potency of drama that he leaves it there to collide with a team mate a few yards away. Anticipatory football ceases to exist because if the controlled player did not compute covering the empty space between the running player down the pitch, the user anticipated through ball will be just watched as it rolls past toward the running attacker with the number 7 on the jersey and then goal.

    Now I ask, are any of these beside the presentation much spoken about in 15 and the ignite engine, still present or corrected in EA Sports’ new FIFA title?