FIFA 16 Scores a Fantastic First Impression

Recently, I had the the privilege to test out the preview build of FIFA 16.  This year players will enjoy  “the beautiful game” a lot more as EA has brought on a whole lot more features that balances it out. This is something FIFA gamers have been waiting for. To put the rest of the article in context, here’s the “Play Beautiful” trailer that was released during E3:

At first glance, FIFA 16 looks more polished graphically than it’s predecessor (as it should). But is it any different under the hood?

Matthew Prior, creative director of FIFA 16 said, “we are innovating across the entire pitch. Balance in any game is huge. If either defending or attacking is overpowered, then the game becomes no fun.”

In FIFA 15, defending can be a nightmare, especially when your opponent has pacey forwards. Now, with the implementation of defensive intelligence, defensive agility, and the all-new interception logic and tackling mechanics, defending is a lot more enjoyable.

With defensive intelligence, your players defend as a unit (as they should). The AI now has the ability to read the game, run into space to close down passageways for the ball to be played into, or drop deep suspecting counter attacks or take charge in tracking players.

Defenders are more agile as well. In FIFA 15, players take  longer time to turn around and lose quite a lot of speed doing it. Turning is now much quicker and players would be able to stay with the attacks while doing so as less speed is lost. I was less susceptible to counter attacks down the wings against overpowered players like Ronaldo or Messi.

Usually we would stay way from using slide tackles. A mistimed tackle can earn you a red card and thereby giving your opponent the advantage. Now, we can change the nature of our tackles.  When you go in for a slide tackle and your opponent dinks the ball over you, your player can branch out by tapping the slide tackle button again. Thus ending the threat.

Matthew Prior (Creative Director, EA) going over the enhancements in FIFA16

Higher up the pitch, improvements have been made to attack. Previously it was easy to waltz around the middle of the park. We all know that in real life that’s not true – that’s where the ball is played around a lot. In FIFA 16, the players are more aggressive and combative to regain possession.

While playing, there were several moments where my passes were intercepted. This encourages individuals to time their passes and assess their options. However with purposeful passing I was able bypass the entire midfield by drilling a pass into space…  or with no touch dribbling drew players out of position only to turn the turn the tables on them.

Balls are now crossed into space with an arching trajectory, rather than a straight cross to the player. This gives you a little more time for your player to run into the box and attack the ball. Heading is back in FIFA 16, but I didn’t feel that it was overpowered as it was in FIFA 14 due to the intelligent AI.

Shooting feels alot more authentic as well. You can vary your shot by simplly adjusting the angle your player is facing when in front of the goal. This means you don’t have to rely on the shot modifier if you can to finesse it into goal.

However, I got the feel that long shots are currently way too effective and the EA development team is working to balance it out before the game’s release.

The newest feature FIFA 16 has to offer is the inclusion of the Womens’ National Teams.  When testing them out, they played a little different from their male counterparts. They were much more agile but felt less aggressive when push and pull is initiated. Overall they felt a little more… polished. Maybe EA’s spent a little more work on the code for the test build – it will be something we’ll be looking out for in the future.


However, when asked if the women players would feature in ‘Ultimate Team’ all we were told was to wait for news to come…. interesting.

Tooltips are another new feature. Contextual information is displayed and provides you suggestions to pass, cross or shoot. However this feature isn’t just for beginners. You can set the difficulty level of the information. At legendary, the suggested moves require a higher caliber of skill to pull of. The level of difficulty and turning the contextual info on/off is all done by pressing down on the right analog stick.


All in all, FIFA 16 feels more enjoyable and skill-based. Has EA actually been listening to the community? After this preview, I can’t wait to play FIFA 16 when it’s released.