FIFA 15 is official. We’ve played it and it’s yet another iteration on a winning formula. Here’s a quick look at some of the new features coming to this year’s entry on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.
1. Ball physics
Deflections in FIFA have always been kind of weird and unrealistic. During a pre-demo presentation, the developers explained that until now, whenever the ball was touched by a player, the spin would be reset. The momentum now carries in FIFA 15, so you’ll see far more realistic deflections which could lead to some manic defending.
In my time with the game, I saw some deflected shots go straight into the top corner, scuffed clearances and short passes in little triangles to break down defences. You can also now pass back to throw-in takers more easily, as players can cushion the ball.
The new physics also help limit the over-powered heading from ’14, as glancing headers and miss-kicks are much more likely, especially in wet weather.
2. Pitch wear
Over the course of 90 minutes, the grass will cut up and wear away under the player’s feet. By the end of a game, you’ll see slide marks and footprints just like you would on TV. The effect is even more apparent on a rainy day, with players sliding further and also staining their shorts after making a tackle.
The problem was the pitch wore down rapidly, much more so than it does in an actual match. Pitches looked more like Sunday league grounds rather than the Theatre of Dreams, so hopefully EA scale the new mechanic back a bit when the game launches.
Players turned like carthorses in FIFA 14, making it nearly impossible to keep up with anyone pulling off intricate dribbles. In 15, players have a much smaller turning circle and can stay tighter to the dribbler.
4. Possession tackles
The ball would often come loose following a challenge in FIFA 14, especially if you opted for a slide, and the team with the ball often kept it no matter what you did. EA has rectified this by introducing possession challenges. In a standing tackle, a defender will step across the ball carrier to take it, and in a slide, hook their foot onto the ball and get up into a dribble without breaking stride, adding a much greater sense of control.
It’s a great addition that becomes really important in congested areas of the pitch. The slide tackles also mean sliding from behind dribblers is also handled with more finesse as players can come around a player rather than through them.
5. Off the ball movement
Don’t worry, this isn’t like the terrible FIFA 2004 mechanic. For set-pieces, you can flick the right stick to control an individual in the box, and push defenders to create space before calling for the pass. The set-piece tactics from EA’s 2014 FIFA World Cup game have also made there way across, adding much more depth to corners.
The half-time highlights are now much more cinematic, clearly inspired by the Sky Sports ‘coming up’ montages and ESPN reels which NBA 2K14 has adopted so well. The screen takes on a grey tint and is given a black border as the highlights play, which are given a soundtrack peppered with commentary during some of the more key moments. It’s cool, but these will inevitably be skipped by everyone after the first watch as we desperately try and get to the second half.
7. PC Parity
The PC version is finally on par with next-gen FIFA. Players with good enough rigs will be able to enjoy the full FIFA experience just like their PS4 and Xbox One brethren. The minimum and recommended requirements for FIFA 15 have not yet been released, but we’ll update you as soon as they are posted.
FIFA 15 will support 10-man celebrations for goals. We were shown clips of the entire Barcelona outfield celebrating a goal in the early moments of El Clasico, a classy bundle that really rubbed it into the face of Los Blancos. EA promised more 10-man celebrations would be in the final version of the game.