Over the bar
Every year, EA makes promises of how their latest version of FIFA is their best yet, so could the one that lives up to the hype?
Pro Evolution players have long scoffed at the FIFA series, saying it is too shallow, too easy, too unresponsive, and on the whole they are right. PES thrives because of one simple reason: Gameplay. Nothing else matters. You can have all the licenses in the world, but if the gameplay is poor, chances are you won't come back to the game time and time again, and this has been FIFA's failing over the years. Is this iteration about to change things?
The first hour I spent with this game was very promising indeed, I was cracking in all sorts of goals. Tap-ins to twenty yarders. I was pleasantly suprised. At last! A true rival to PES, I thought.
But delve a little deeper, and the flaws start appearing rather rapidly, with passing and your players' movement off the ball being the major ones.
Why do your passes never seem to reach your intended target? Why do your players just stand still until the ball reaches them? Why is it that when you hold down the pass button to attempt a longer, more powerful pass, the ball still trickles along the floor as if you only tapped the button? Only EA knows, but it truly ruins the game.
No flowing moves, no quick incisive passing, it feels more like the Special Olympics than the World Cup.
I won't talk about presentation, as it means nothing to the way the game plays, although with it being an EA title, you know what to expect.
And so to the Global Challenges, the one thing in the game that has a chance of adding some longevity.
This scenario based side-game involves you playing as various sides trying to complete various objectives. One scenario involves you playing as Paraguay, and you need to avoid defeat against Argentina. Sound easy? How about starting 3-0 down, with only 45 minutes to play?
Another challenge has you controlling Australia, and you need to beat the Solomon Islands by 7 goals, piece of cake yeah? Oh no, you start 3-0 up in the second half, so you think you have a chance. What I didn't know was that the Solomon Islands play the ball around the field like vintage Brazil, with a back 4 as solid as Arsenal in the 90's.
Fair enough EA, we like to be challenged, but not so much that we feel like throwing our shiny 360 pad into the nearest wall. It is that frustrating.
Some challenges are simple enough, but the two I have described above, plus 4 or 5 others I haven't mentioned just about drain away any positivity I have for this game. Typical EA: Sounds great on paper, but in reality, it stinks.
Could the online mode save the day? Yet another resounding NO. How a company the size of EA can't get a football game to run smoothly online is, quite frankly, ridiculous. Every ranked match I have played to date is laggy as hell, and the amount of times the connection has been lost is baffling. Do we not give you enough money EA? It truly is unforgivable.
For me, the FIFA franchise had a chance to gain another convert, seeing as there won't be a new PES until September at the earliest, and ballooned their chance over the bar, and that is truly upsetting. Oh well, back to PES 5 for me. Who's joining me?
4 / 10