The highest selling sports video game in the world is back this week when FIFA 16 by EA Sports is released on September 22nd across virtually all gaming platforms. With European and most professional football leagues in full swing, FIFA offers couch athletes the chance to compete with their favorite clubs from every nook and cranny of the world. Unlike some of the other sports franchises offered up by EA on an annual basis FIFA has some direct competition with the re-emergence of Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer, which should in theory make BOTH titles better as we approach the latter half of this decade.

Will 2016 be the year that FIFA puts it all together? Sports Gamers Online takes a deep dive into every aspect of FIFA 16 with our official launch day review. So kick off your cleats, sit back and let us walk you through the entirety of this massive and ever-growing Football Sim.

GAMEPLAY

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EA Canada is focused on defensive positioning and gave the A.I. a major overhaul to balance the game out this year.

Let’s get right to the nitty gritty and jump to the first thing football gamers care about. When it comes to a digital interpretation of the “Beautiful Game”, players of the FIFA series are especially critical. It’s a game of balance, skill and nuance and physics play an extremely important role in pulling it all together.

Last years game, FIFA 15 felt fast and a bit unbalanced. Experienced gamers found ways to score, almost at will, ball & player physics often did not reflect those of an actual football match. In FIFA 16 however, I noticed right away that the speed of the game has been toned down quite a bit. Additionally, defenders seem much more apt and capable of staying with their offensive counterparts. This is a big deal as it brings an immediate balance to the game which was lacking last year. The wing attack still seems as a great way to attack but the success rate certainly has leveled off a bit. New in FIFA 16 is also an emphasis on teaching newcomers to the series how to succeed in the game. A tutorial style “on the fly” system has been implemented called: “FIFA Trainer”.

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FIFA Trainer can be turned on/off simply by pressing the right thumbstick. When turned on, it can suggest to newcomers and veterans alike some ideas on the best plays to execute in each situation.

When jumping into a game you will notice a large circle with multiple commands under each player currently highlighted. These commands give you suggestions on your safest and best plays depending on the current situation and positioning of the player. These commands will get more advanced as you progress in the game and the level of intricacy can be adjusted in the settings menu as well. This is a great way to refresh on some of the controls for returning players as well as learn the game of FIFA for new players of the game. The FIFA trainer can quickly be toggled on or off simply by pushing the right thumbstick.

A new passing command also makes its debut in FIFA 16. A hard, direct pass can be accomplished by pressing the R1/RB + X/A buttons. This is a very helpful tool when trying to complete longer passes in the midfield without having to go through the air or risking the chance of getting a traditional ground pass intercepted. This is a welcome addition that will let you control the pace of the midfield much better than in previous years. These hard direct balls however will be more difficult to handle on the receiving end and I found the R1 + X command to feel a bit unnatural to pull off.

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EA’s flagship sports game is back and EA Canada is hoping to build on last years success by further refining this annual Football-Sim.

On the other side of the ball, EA has improved the defensive agility and your CPU controlled teammates will now play passing lanes much better than before. Additionally quite a few defensive player animations especially slide tackles have been refined and added to. You can now quickly bail out of a slide by simply pushing the slide tackle button again. This seems like a small addition but anyone who has played FIFA in recent years , knows how much of a “boom or bust” play the slide tackle was. Keeper animations also got an overhaul and even in my limited time with the game, I have noticed a ton of new save animations. All these defensive improvements are tied into defensive confidence and if you play a smart and solid game defensively, it will become much more difficult to be scored upon.

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Daniel Baesel
Lifelong Sports fanatic and gamer dating back to the "Double Dribble" days on NES some 25+ years ago. Any and all things Sports, Fantasy Sports, Video games and Beer! Father and husband, aspiring journalist. Germany☆Portland☆Oakland