It's enough to encourage people to upgrade from Fifa 15 — but will it keep players from moving to the newly ascendant PES?
Fifa 16 is hitting shelves — and early reviews indicate that the minor tweaks and new modes added to last year's game make it enough to upgrade. But they might not be enough to tempt people from moving over to its rival, PES 2016.
The game brings new changes including new game dynamics, women's teams and new game modes. The game feels markedly different from last year, with a slightly more considered, often slower feel from Fifa 15.
But it is facing a tougher challenge from PES 2016, the rival football game which has spent much of recent years in the shadows. That game has even been referred to as the best football game ever — so Fifa has got a lot to do.
That has not gone unmentioned in early reviews.
“FIFA needed a year like this,” writes Gamespot. “Without serious competition from Konami’s PES in the past few years (until now), and with Ultimate Team keeping players playing and paying all year round, there’s been no pressing motivation to ring the changes.”
But Fifa 16 is a game mostly of minor tweaks: small changes to defending and midfield dynamics that manage to limit the power of fast-paced, powerful players. In recent versions of the game, it was possible for someone playing as Real Madrid to punt it to Ronaldo and have him run magically through every defending player — that has been fixed.
For that reason, those tweaks are minor but quite important.
And they’re extra significant in the women’s mode, The Guardian notes.
“Without the Olympian velocity of a Cristiano Ronaldo or Yaya Toure’s adamantine strength, finesse is imperative,” writes Ben Wilson. “That means recycling possession among midfielders and full-backs until a tantalising defensive gap offers a through-ball opportunity, or an out-of-position opponent provides a brief window in which to cross.”
Adding women’s teams is perhaps the biggest — and, as IGN notes, most progressive — change to the way that the game works.
“I’m not convinced it’s a particularly accurate simulation of the women’s game – the quality of the football is akin to a Championship club between two teams with unusually high passing stats – but I probably enjoyed playing as the women more than the men because of these mechanical differences,” writes IGN. In the women’s game, those changes to emphasise control and tactics over speed and power are even more potent.
There are other big new features too, including a new Draft Mode that changes the dynamic of the hugely popular Ultimate Team by making it more like a tournament.
“Putting aside the longstanding misgivings about how Ultimate Team commodifies the magic of football, and how it sort of encourages kids to gamble, it’s great,” writes Gamespot. “Draft takes the pleasure of building a team--piecing together strong chemistry, the thrill of opening packs--and gives it to you without the need to pull your main team apart”.
Those changes update the game and bring enough improvements to Fifa 15 to make it worth buying, most reviews note. But the game still faces a big challenge from PES.
“The issue that FIFA has is that its underlying engine, mechanics and systems have been dragged on for too long,” writes Brett Phipps in Video Gamer. “While it has been carried for the past few years on the new generation of consoles, PES has waited quietly in the wings, revolutionising its game.
“FIFA has aged rapidly this year thanks to Konami's offering. FIFA 16 does feel incrementally better than 15, but PES 2016 feels miles better than both.”