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FIFA 16's new passing is upsetting some - and delighting others

Fabregasp!

The release of FIFA 16 has seen an interesting debate spring up among veteran players, and it has to do with passing.

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Calm down. I've only been nerfed.

Some have criticised the passing in FIFA 16, complaining about poor first touches, weak kicks and even missing their target by significant distances. You can see the issue brought up in threads on the FIFA subreddit and the FIFA forum.

In short, tactics that worked really well in FIFA 15 don't necessarily work as well in FIFA 16.

Having played the release version of FIFA 16 for a few hours now, I understand why these complaints have sprung up, but I think the changes that sparked them are for the better.

First, let's go back to FIFA 15, a game many found was too focused on speed. Playing online, you'd encounter Real Madrid after Real Madrid, simply because of their incredibly speedy wingers, Ronaldo and Bale, who most defences would struggle to contain. You'd see a decent amount of success simply lobbing the ball forward for these speedsters to chase. And if Ronaldo and Bale are in on goal, they're unlikely to miss.

EA's answer to this for FIFA 16 was to make the midfield matter, and in doing so, from what I can tell anyway, made speed less powerful (some claim Ronaldo now struggles to get away from Arsenal's leggy defender Per Mertesacker, which seems silly). But elsewhere, other key changes have altered the pace of the game. Passes that would easily reach forwards in FIFA 15 are now more likely to be intercepted by more aware defenders. One-touch through balls more often go awry. It's harder to quickly transition from defence into attack, and it feels ever so slightly slower in the build up.

Because of this, some are calling FIFA 16 boring, frustrating and slow. But some have moved to calm knee-jerk reaction to this change. People are suggesting keeping passing simple, and only going for the killer pass out to a winger when there's obvious space to do so. The new driven pass seems to be a useful option for splitting defences, too. All in all, patience is a virtue.

As always, there's a learning curve whenever a new FIFA is released, but FIFA 16's seems to have caught some by surprise. I feel the new gameplay is a step in the right direction, and makes for a more measured, rewarding and ultimately less frustrating competitive play experience. I don't know about you, but I was sick of facing an endless conveyor belt of Real Madrids. It's early days, of course, but perhaps now we'll see a few other teams in the mix, too.

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