FIFA 15 Initial Impressions

Written and research carried out by @HekTic_JukeZ
FIFA 15 Initial Impressions
Thanks to EA, I ended up getting an invite to the FIFA 15 Fan Fest in New York. Most of you know I’m an avid fan of FIFA, so I was pretty pumped up to go. If you watch my streams and follow me on twitter, or just know me in general, you know that I enjoy playing FIFA LOTS. Going into the event, I didn’t really have expectations for the game since I knew it wouldn’t be the final product, but nonetheless I was very excited to be one of the few lucky people that got to play FIFA 15 that early.

Disclaimer: I may have missed something. If I have, I apologize.

@Chuboi did a short presentation of some of the new features in FIFA 15. Player emotion(which is purely aesthetic) makes the game feel more real which as we know is the game’s tagline this year. “Feel the game.” The pitch is now live. While it’s not something you notice right away, it’s definitely interesting to see the pitch evolve over the course of a game. Footsteps will show up on the pitch throughout the game and when players make slide tackles, marks will be visible. It makes the game feel more authentic. The crowds are more alive now and it feels like it’s a real game going on. There was a clip of Liverpool fans singing ‘you’ll never walk alone’ at Anfield and it was really cool to see. Another clip of Manchester City fans doing the poznan as well. The presentation of the game is definitely improved from FIFA 14.

Now I know everything wants to know my thoughts on gameplay the most, so I’ll get to it. I want to just say that I had about 4 hours of playtime and I only got to play on the XB1 controller(which as you all may know, I hate the controller for FIFA). I played games vs the CPU on professional/world class difficulty. The build I played on was about 60% done.

During the presentation there was an emphasis on player responsiveness. Loads of people have complained that the player responsiveness in FIFA 14 isn’t realistic and that players turn like trucks. I too believe that player responsiveness in FIFA 14 should be better, so I was intrigued to see just how responsive and agile players were. After playing 5 or so games, I definitely noticed an improvement. Players don’t take ages to turn and turning is more precise and refined. I wouldn’t say it felt exactly like FIFA 13 in terms of player responsiveness, but a mix between 13 and FIFA 14 is where I would place it. Definitely great news and I can imagine this being even better for the final game.

Everyone who plays FIFA 14 complains about crosses/headers and lobbed through balls. I see it all the time on the EA forums, Twitter, YouTube, reddit, etc. Just about everywhere I go, that’s probably the main complaint gameplay related to FIFA 14. I definitely get annoyed about them when I play online and I was really interested to see how they’re like in FIFA 15. From the games I played, I can say that they definitely were less effective. Crossing felt precise and they didn’t feel supercharged I guess the way they do now. Defensive AI does also seem to react better to crosses and position themselves better to defend the crosses. Headers were also less powerful than they were in FIFA 14. I didn’t notice the annoying back-post headers being as prevalent as they are in FIFA 14. Now I’m not saying that headers are now non-existent. I still conceded a few headers, but I do believe they won’t be as annoying as they are in FIFA 14.

Lobbed through ball spam is a very popular play-style in FIFA 14 online. The kick-off exploit is widely used online. I tried the kick-off exploit during the event using my center backs to do the lobbed through ball. I also thought this was less effective and the lobbed through balls were definitely less precise and didn’t feel like a bullet to the attacker. Funnily enough the CPU actually tried it against me a few times and it failed miserably. Now I didn’t try this out vs a human player. I only did it vs the CPU, but I don’t believe the kick-off exploit will be as successful in FIFA 15 as it is on FIFA 14. On the other hand, I’m not sure that it’ll be impossible to score with either. Too soon to say. As for lobbed through balls in general, they did feel less effective. I think the longer lobbed through balls are definitely not as precise as they are on FIFA 14 from what I played. I do think the medium range/short range lobbed through balls are about the same, which isn’t a bad thing I believe, since the longer range lobbed through balls were more of the problem(for me at least). Now defenders do react a bit better to lobbed through balls, but I definitely think there’s room for improvement. Player switching also felt a bit better, but I also think there’s room for improvement for this as well.

I didn’t notice any new skill moves, but I also didn’t really experiment much with them. I will say that the running scoop turn definitely felt nerfed. Short passing felt more refined and fine-tuned. The ball behaves a bit differently now with passes. It’s a bit hard to explain it in words, but it felt more real. Sometimes players did overrun a pass, and sometimes they didn’t react well to incoming passes, but this can all be fixed for the final game. I think possession play will be more rewarding in FIFA 15, because of the changes to player responsiveness. Custom tactics were also mostly the same. There was dribbling in the build-up section now, but there was no explanation for what it does. I’m not sure if it may have been a bug and it’s not intended to be there. There are also 2 new mentality options now. Park the bus and all-out attack. I’m not sure how park the bus will translate to online play, but I can definitely see people using it a lot. I myself didn’t test it out(although I really should have). So I’m not sure how it plays out in FIFA 15.

The way pressure works is the same as FIFA 14 from what I played. I don’t think some of you will be happy about that. Shooting felt a bit weird. Shots felt a bit weaker for me, but they were the same accuracy as FIFA 14. Finesse shots were about the same in terms of accuracy, but they also felt weak. I didn’t notice any new shooting animations, and far post shots felt a bit less effective too. I didn’t notice any changes to free-kicks. The one change there is to set pieces though is on corners. There’s always been custom set pieces for corners(and free-kicks too). There are now 4 default set piece tactics on corners you can choose from. Run to far post, run to back post, crowd the GK(and I honestly cannot remember the 4th). I am a bit skeptical on this. I can see the crowd the GK one being abused online. I tried it 3-4 times and it was a free header every time. It’s a bit similar to the popular custom tactic where you have 5-6 players on the goal-line. Not as annoying as that, but still annoying I felt.

All in all, I enjoyed FIFA 15 from the games I played. The fact it was only a 60% was impressive. I didn’t notice any major bugs or glitches from the time I played. If the right improvements and more fine-tuning is made, I definitely think the community(and myself) will like FIFA 15 more than FIFA 14. In my opinion, FIFA is heading on the right track and I’m excited to see how the final game will be.

-Living pitch
-Quick throw ins are faster
-Player responsiveness
-Lobbed through balls less effective/less precise
-Crossing less effective/less precise
-Game feels more authentic
-Passing more refined

-Crowd the GK default set piece tactic
-Park the bus being a mentality option (although this is an offlineoption only according to a source from EA).

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