With every annual iteration of its cherished FIFA brand, EA has edged further away from creating a precise simulation of football itself and closer to the televised match day spectacle of the nation’s favourite sport. This year that facsimile has grown more authentic: the first truly next-gen edition boasts more detailed character models, an officially-licensed interface, realistic crowds (right down to the team-specific chants) and the appropriate stadiums for each of the 20 Premier League teams.
But the influence of the EPL – read: English Premier League – runs deeper than just mere presentation. FIFA 15 is a faster, more attacking game, with vast improvements to counter-attacking football – particularly when it comes to the reliance on through-balls to travel up the pitch – and player intelligence, imbuing the action with a level of newfound unpredictability, which just stops short of player’s biting each other. Goalkeepers too have had a significant upgrade to augment the realism, their stance and movement making them much more dynamic and allowing for greater diversity in goal scoring opportunities.
That said, there is some refinement that is crucially missing. Returning elements such as licensed international teams (or lack of) and longstanding Be A Pro mode haven’t been given the same level of attention as fan-favourite features like Ultimate Team.
FIFA 15 isn’t perfect – not yet anyway. But it’s getting closer. When it comes down to replicating the spirit and energy of the game, you wont find a more comprehensive, visually robust or immersive football title. FIFA is back at the top of its game.