Review of FIFA 16 - a year of little stagnation
This year, the football duel on virtual turfs starts extremely early. After the quite successful new PES , the next edition of FIF , the best-selling series by EA Sports studio, begins the fight, which in terms of sales and media beats its competitor from the Konami stable. Is the same in terms of the gameplay? Well - it is not so obvious here.
What struck me right away and somehow strongly influenced the final opinion on FIF-16 is the fact that the new production of the Canadian team is much slower . Honestly, this is the last thing I could expect from this series, and here it is - it is a really less dynamic struggle compared to its predecessors. Yes, from time to time we will be able to quickly counter the opponent or carry out a very complex action resulting from a skillfully planned positional attack, but during the first dozen or so meetings it was really difficult for me to switch to a different, slightly more thoughtful style of gameplay.
Don't get me wrong - I'm far from saying that the game turned out to be bad. The new FIF game cuts really well, but this is the first installment in several years, in which in terms of the pace of the game and some solutions to the fun, this series slightly deviates from its arcade pedigree in favor of a slightly more familiar simulation - and how - from its biggest competition, Pro Evolution Soccer . Why such a change of front - it's hard to say. One thing is known for sure - the slower pace is due to an even tighter and more solid defense.
If you ever scored a double in a match lasting several minutes, now you will only do it on an amateur. Defenders can boast of an excellent organization of the game in defense - they very often try to catch us offside, keeping a tight formation all the time. They take a slightly greater risk only when it turns out that you have to make up for a goal loss, and there is little time left to the end of the match. Defenders skillfully double the coverage, feeling good both in direct duels and during zone defense. Honestly, I don't remember when in FIF every second score was "1-0" or "1: 1" - following the well-worn joke of people making fun of virtual football, it was probably during the FIF 98 World Cup .
With this tactical discipline of the opponents, you cannot forget about how the opponents play the ball, and sometimes they do it at a sleepy pace. I have never used the pressing and shifting individual formations towards the opponent's goal so often, due to the rather high tendency to elaborate positional attacks. Often - before the ball reaches the center of the pitch - it will visit all sectors of the opponent's half near the penalty area, it will be lost by the goalkeeper several times, to finally reach the playmaker's feet. The passion for the tactical style of the game can be seen here immediately.
Sometimes, however, it seems that this incredibly tight defense kills a bit what, after all, in FIF a lot of players appreciated, i.e. a really wide range of offensive moves. This time we have to try very hard to outplay the opponent in a sophisticated way , because the opposing team's players very effectively cut off our attackers from perpendicular plays, and winning the header is now a much harder task. At times, you can get the impression that the balance of the game developed over the last few years has been slightly lost - as we have often complained about the goalkeepers, a high, agile stopwatch may turn out to be an impassable barrier.
All of this happens when, paradoxically, goalkeepers finally behave humanly . The biggest changes here affected the aspect of playing with the legs - goalkeepers no longer accept the ball in the style of Messi, but with the right pressing they can inaccurately play even to the nearest defender, and in unfavorable weather conditions it often happens that the ball escapes them for several meters, which provokes the possibility of desperate a foul in the penalty area or quickly striking the ball blindly as far as possible from the penalty area. Fast, strongly beaten crosses often catch the goalkeeper on a lunge or observe the popular "empty flight" when he misses the flying ball due to incorrect calculation of the ball flight. Good parades are sometimes intertwined with unsuccessful ones, but to see it, we first have to cross the defensive line, and it is not so obvious.
The opponents' tendency to play against time prematurely is also unbearable . I understand that 1-0 is a great result, but - by God - not in the seventy minute! Meanwhile, regularly, a quarter of an hour before the end of the regular game time, players of the opposing teams start a persistent stave in the corner of the pitch or simply put the ball right next to the flag. Honestly - I would have to be a court suicide or have a few goals in the first game to play with holding the ball several minutes before the end of the game.
Finally, we have also had many changes in the Polish commentary - the basic fact is that Włodzimierz Szaranowicz has finally been replaced by someone who actually has a lot in common with the ball every day and is its active commentator - of course, we are talking about one of the best specialists in the country, i.e. Jacek Laskowski . It cannot be denied that this year's edition brought a new quality to this aspect - the duo recorded a whole lot of new lines, and the aforementioned rookie plays the role of the second announcer, describing the events taking place on the pitch in a factual and very vivid manner . It is true that there are still mistakes (especially when handing out yellow cards, which are notoriously received by female footballers, despite the fact that there are men running on the pitch), but we hear a lot of anecdotes and interesting analyzes from the loudspeakers, which significantly color the games.
Fans of online struggles will also look favorably at a new facility called FUT Draft, which is a development of the idea of the extremely popular and addictive FIFA Ultimate Team module . With its help, the developers try to make the process of creating your own team a bit easier, offering us five random cards of each type at the beginning and giving you a lot of opportunities to use players in the created club. Unfortunately, I got the impression that the EA Sports team lost control over the virtual economy of this mode a bit and FUT turns into a pay-to-win module - earning in-game currency takes quite a long time, and the prices for cards with individual players are rising at express pace. Of course, the players themselves are partly to blame for this state of affairs, who persistently raise the amount of the compensation, but the main beneficiary for this reason is probably EA itself, earning a lot of money on microtransactions that significantly facilitate the creation of the dream eleven. And that's probably not what it's all about, considering the fact that we have to pay a lot for the game in our country, PLN 159 for the cheapest PC version.