Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Genre: Sports
Release Date: Sept. 22, 2015


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PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'FIFA 16'

by Redmond Carolipio on June 17, 2015 @ 2:00 a.m. PDT

FIFA 16 is the latest installment in the soccer franchise adding new features such 12 Women's National Teams for the first time in franchise history.

Soccer has long been called the "beautiful game," and Electronic Arts has taken it upon itself to try and master the digital canvas upon where its vision of the beautiful game is represented.  Year after year of its FIFA series has brought more flowing glances of detail to satisfy the needs of both hardcore futbol fans and neophytes.

However, for FIFA 16, one gets the sense that EA plans to paint an even grander picture of the beautiful game with subtle, precise and impactful strokes as opposed to broad, sweeping ones.

Woven amid the usual FIFA series offerings of visual fidelity and atmosphere, EA trained its focus on several pillars of gameplay holding up the ideal of "innovation across the pitch." Much of this was on display when it came to defense, especially when it comes to the concept of defensive awareness (or defensive agility, in EA's presentation).

On defense, instead of the usual sight of defenders fully turning and running with every change of direction an offensive player is making, defenders now shift and turn their hips in a fluid manner that looks more natural and allows them to better track the ballhandler's location. It's a subtle and extremely valuable skill to have in practically any sport, but in world-class soccer, it's essential.

In the world of FIFA 16, this touch is part of a greater concept of players executing team defensive principles, with smarter players rotating over to guard players on the verge of running free, or interfering with passing lanes and angles to stifle a team's attack. EA's aim with all this is to regain "control of the midfield," a vital part of soccer that sometimes gets lost in the woods of highlight-reel plays and goals.

That doesn't mean the offense is left in the cold. On the contrary, one potentially addicting new feature for offensive players is no-touch dribbling, where a player essentially fakes out his defender by moving his body in various directions without actually touching the ball. (Think of it like a fake crossover of sorts in basketball.) Putting a feature like this at the feet of offensive sorcerers like Messi or Ronaldo is a bit of ridiculous fun, even if you're not remotely good at using it, like me. In addition to this, EA has also refined its shooting system to provide a more diverse selection of goals and goal-scoring opportunities, which fall into the FIFA 16 pillar of providing more "magic moments."

One truly intriguing new feature that has already grabbed some buzz is the addition of 12 women's national teams into the mix, as emphasized in EA's presentation with a virtual representation of Team USA superstar Alex Morgan, signature headband and all. EA went all-in for the women's team, complete with motion capture sessions, and have actually been looking into adding the women's teams for years, according to developers at the presentation.

Finally, another appealing feature is tied to the gameplay pillar of "competing at a higher level." That doesn't mean "grind new players into dust" — it's actually a signal for new players to jump in with a training head's-up display system, where a variety of instructions pop up next to a controlled player, depending on where they are on the field and what position he or she plays. It can be slightly distracting at first, but it's also extremely helpful to people who haven't really spent a lot of time on FIFA games.

Though not entirely a finished product, FIFA 16 aims to offer a lot in terms of pure sports workmanship. I'm not even a fan of soccer, but FIFA 16 could serve as a fun gateway into a world of skill and play that, when done right, looks … beautiful.

FIFA 16 is slated for a Sept. 16, 2015, release on PC, Xbox One, PS4 and PS3.

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