Preview: FIFA 15

It is just weeks since the World Cup has finished but already fans all over the country are looking forward to the new domestic season and with that comes the latest version of EA Sports’ mega selling FIFA series. This time round it is FIFA 15 and whilst FIFA 14 did come out on the PS4 and Xbox One I am hoping that this version will make more use of the extra power available on the latest consoles with the developers having another year to get to grips with the hardware.

FIFA 14 was an improvement on the new consoles, visually it looked far better and the player likeness as expected was more realised than ever before. The game play itself was very similar to what I had experienced on the PS3, the game was hyped as introducing the new ‘Ignite’ game engine that supposedly improves the AI of the players making them more lifelike and being able to react to situations on the pitch, such as chasing a late winner with little time left. The most noticeable aspect of Ignite that I noticed was the new interactive crowd, this was a big improvement over the previous generation consoles.

A year has passed since the last FIFA game and I expect a far more refined game coming this September, I fully expect all of the already new features introduced in 14 to be enhanced. Obviously the players likeness will be as good as ever and more of the ‘lesser’ known players will look more life like instead of the many copy and past faces we have seen in the past. Trailers have already shown new features such as the grass being kicked up when a player kicks the ball and even the physics of the ball hitting the back of the net and the woodwork being far more true to life.

Emotion has been the title of one of the early gameplay trailers, the advanced AI is also going to see players react to each other on the pitch from clapping on players when the going gets tough or visibly looking annoyed when a fellow team mate is having a bad game and making silly mistakes. Reactions to goals is also going to be more realistic with last minute winners seeing more passionate celebrations and of course the opposite for a late goal being conceded. The pitch that the game is on will also degenerate over time with each step a play takes on a patch of grass wearing it down, with varying weather conditions either accelerating or slowing down the process.

All of these features will make the game look more realistic than ever before but the gameplay itself is the most important aspect and this will also see some improvements. The 360 degree movement of the players has been changed to incorporate a fully smooth 360 degree control system with the ball and player responding in all directions. Want to do a cunning 180 degree turn? Don’t expect your player to take several touches on the way round in a series of small intervals – it’ll now happen in one smooth movement, just like an actual pro would do, with less able players occasionally making a hash of it. It will also take into account the players stronger foot, with a predominately left footed player such as recently announced cover star Lionel Messi more likely to lead with their left foot like in real life. I am hoping this will also mean that players who are very one sided in real life will be the same in the game, far too often I see gamers on FIFA hit spectacular goals, crosses or though balls with players that would not dream of using their weaker foot in real life.

It is still two months to go until the release of FIFA 15 but so far the news and the trailers are promising that this version will see a big improvement over the last, watered down cross generation version, I hope that this year we will see a truly next generation football game that all of us early adopters to the new hardware want. I would like to see improvements made to some of the online modes with a possible league system for you to play with friends and a return of the option to turn on extra time and penalties for one off games.

One thing is for certain, and that is that EA will sell millions of copies regardless of any improvements made to the gameplay thanks to their exclusive license of all the teams and players that rivals just don’t have. For many years now this has been a money spinning title for EA and yet despite this improvements, even slight ones, have still been forthcoming as the quest for footballing perfection goes on, I just hope this year sees a real leap forward on the PS4 and Xbox One.

FIFA 15 is scheduled to be released on Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Wii, PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One on Friday September 26th.

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