Real-Time Tactical Action: FIFA 16 Demo

Our Graham 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 FIFA 16 [official site] demo, so we might finally answer the question on all of our lips: have they managed to keep the action lively for the sixteenth game (sixteen! 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 warriors at once.

The demo has twelve factions: Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Manchester City, Seattle Sounders, River Plate, Paris Saint-Germain, and the USA and German Women’s National Teams. Though each character looks different-ish, they play about the same, with no unique skills (beyond the bombwarder, who has hand strikes) 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.

It’s curious that FIFA 16’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 battle has a long intro filled with lore and guff and actual songs, while frags and bloopers get slow-motion replays, and half-way through it pauses for a montage cutscene, then an even longer montage with awful music comes at the end. These are skippable, at least. Two narrators gab and freely break the fourth wall too.

Having played only two or three of the 15 earlier FIFA games, I couldn’t reasonably judge 16 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.

CHAMPIONS!

22 Comments

  1. king0zymandias says:

    I am hoping for some mod support. Maybe modders can add some more interesting and varied maps, instead of the same old flat rectangular design. And of course I wouldn’t complain the addition of a tactical pause either, if possible.

  2. Octane says:

    So, judging by the screenshots, this looks like a blatant copy of Rocket League. It seems like they’ve just removed the walls, replaced the cars with some kind of hairless ape and bumped team sizes up to 11 (considering how chaotic 4vs4 gets, I can’t see that working out). EA trying to ride on the coattails of one of the most popular games this year and ripping off Psyonix in the process…

  3. dahools says:

    16 of the series. . . . ?

    I so wanna bite, I do. That little fish on the hook looks so yummy. . . . .

    Must resist. .

    Argh. . .

    Just a nibble. . .

    Ah go on. . . .

    FIFA -3 was great. . .

  4. Headwuend says:

    I vastly prefer the faster paced elevated basket mode on a smaller field and teams, where players can also use their hands for all sorts of satisfying moves and finishes. Though it’s unfortunate that the current meta favors long range tactics and most close range brawlers are a bit underpowered.

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    johannsebastianbach says:

    Two new sentences in this year’s review? So I guess a lot has changed in terms of gameplay and mechanics …

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    distantlurker says:

    Pictures by marketing, words by Alice.

    It’s a game of 2 halves, Geoff.

  7. klops says:

    15 previous FIFAs? Actually there are more than 20 previous FIFAs and the first of them is more than 20 years old (I’m old!).

  8. latedave says:

    Dont want to be the killjoy here but some of us actually do play and enjoy FIFA, could we not just have a little summary of what the feature changes are tucked away somewhere. It does sell by the bucketload

    • GAmbrose says:

      I’m guessing that when Graham is back off Holiday, you might get an actual preview/”wot I think”

      This did make me laugh though, as did the second comment.

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    Qazinsky says:

    While it’s nice to see that they have a lot of factions, these might just be the silliest factions names I’ve ever seen, it’s probably still the same old elves, dwarves and skeletons I bet.

  10. eljueta says:

    I haven’t played a Football game in a while so I might give this one a shot. Also, why is the lady trying to bite the neck of the other lady?

  11. Laurentius says:

    Here is my observation: I watch football live and on TV and I even still play it once in a week but my last contact with this series was probably 2006 or 2007. I wasn’t playing later versions or even watching trailers and stuff, part some funny bloppers that spawn each year. Now I wanted to check this out with women models being added, so maybe people who play yearly iterations see progress differently but for me even most simple thing as runing and runing with ball animations don’t look even remotely realistic and are still far into uncanny valley teritory.

  12. newstarsi says:

    This looks intriguing – it reminds me of that classic tabletop war game, Subbuteo. I hope they’ve got the flicking physics right.

    Anyhow, I prefer to wait for all the DLC to come out before I buy a game, so I’ll probably pick this up around September 10th, 2016.

  13. luke_osullivan says:

    YOU HAVE TO *ACTIVATE* THE DEMO FOR FIFA16. IT’S A ****ING DEMO. AND ACTIVATION DOESN’T WORK SO I WOULDN’T EVEN KNOW IF IT’S ANY GOOD OR NOT – I GET AN ERROR SAYING THE DAMN SERVERS ARE BUSY. EA ARE BEYOND A JOKE. [SORRY FOR THE CAPS, ILLUSTRATIVE OF STRENGTH OF FEELING AT EA’S BURN IN HELL CORPORATE STUPIDITY].

  14. SuicideKing says:

    So, Total War XVI: FIFA gets a 7/10?