Every year, since 1998, I’ve bought one game religiously. It’s not FIFA, it’s been Pro Evolution Soccer. Why? Because it used to be the best football (soccer, whatever) simulator game on every console. Starting out on the PSX, moving through the PS2 and later on the PC (I’ve skipped most of the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions), it’s the game of choice. A game I play every year from October till October.
But since 2010 I’ve been trying FIFA again, FIFA was pretty damn bad in the mid 2000s but after 2009 and 2010 the game picked up pace and started to be good again after a 8 year lay-off. FIFA 15 is good but not great, my biggest issue I’ve got with FIFA – and this has been for quite some time – is that is treated like a American sport. The emphasis is on the half time replays, the pre-match spectacle but not on the time in between. Luckily this year, the gameplay is solid.
Mansfield Town playing in the Champions League
One of the things I loved about Pro Evolution Soccer was playing with Torino in the Serie A, playing to stay in the top league with only two matches to go in the season, almost no supporters on the stands and with players I barely knew at the start of the season but which I started to love and care for. That, in my mind, is football. It’s not about the Champions League final, Chelsea vs Barcelona. It’s the battle that is fought three division lower.
Although FIFA 2015 isn’t so good in doing the lower divisions justice, the representation of the English Premier League is amazing. It does feel like playing in the BBCs Match of the Day. Faces look great on most players and the graphics make the overall style of the game look well done.
Gameplay wise it does represent football pretty well but it’s the the “everything or nothing” mechanic that I freaking hate.
An example: it’s the 80st minute and it’s 0-0 and I’m playing against a team in the bottom half of the league while I’m in the top three. In normal football, my opposition would put an extra defender on to secure the point as they are playing away from home and grabbing a point from a team with two quick strikers is all you want.
But what does the CPU do? It’s playing “all out attack” with 3 defenders in the last couple of minutes. Making it easy for me to hit them on the counter and win with 2-0. If this happens sometimes I wouldn’t mind but it happens almost every freaking time in Career mode.
My “review” isn’t that much about the game, I could write endlessly about small things but I’m leaving it with this. It’s not perfect, but still a great game to play until the FIFA 2016 version is released.