Five Thoughts About Some Of The Additions To FIFA 16
The FIFA series has been on a tear in the last few years, and we got hands on FIFA 16 and gauge some of the new features that stand out in our experience.
There are other improvements and additions to FIFA 16, but in my limited time playing a few games, here are some of things that I noticed.
I never became fully comfortable with FIFA 15's passing power. There were times when I'd try to do a longer ground pass, and I was disappointed with the power as the ball simply wasn't passed with the authority I expected. New this year is something called Passing With Purpose. Hokey marketing name aside, this is very useful. By passing the ball while pressing the right bumper, your player will send a hard, low pass to his/her target. This is very useful when you want to thread the ball between opponents to a teammate in a tight space or when passing back to a defender with some pace so it's not intercepted. The risk of the mechanic is that the player receiving the ball has to control it properly, so there's a chance they might bobble it with their first touch.
Women's National Teams
I played a couple games with the U.S. Women's National Team, and apart from the excitement of finally getting to play as them, it was the same solid FIFA experience I've had with the men. I know the women's teams' ratings are relative to each other, and when playing against the German women's team, things felt even. EA says it has build the female players from the ground up to capture their movements, and everything felt the way I expected it to in my time with the game.
Getting Off the Ball
I've said this a lot the past few iterations, but it's true – the series keeps getting better in how it treats the ball as a separate entity from the players' feet. This year's improvement is a command initiated by the LB bumper whereby your player steps off the ball slightly. EA is calling it No Touch Dribbling. This is useful when performing feint moves (apart from the normal skill moves) because your player moves totally separate from the ball. I've also used it while my player is dribbling to perform a fluid deke move and then keep on going past a defender with the ball. I'm intrigued by this new command and curious how the game determines who gets possession of the ball and when. Hopefully there are not situations when you feel you're unable to regain possession of the ball, or if you're a defender, you're blocked out from getting it because the game has initiated an animation that cannot be blocked.
Nobody likes playing a team game and feeling like their A.I. teammates are letting you down. Therefore, it's good to see in FIFA 16 some situations where your A.I. teammates act aggressively to cut out passes from the opposition. In particular, I noticed instances where my centerbacks would step forward to intercept a long ground pass up to a single striker pressing against the back line. I also saw this occur in the midfield. I don't know if this aggressiveness is baked into the actual aggression player attribute or something the A.I. simply does when it recognizes the situation. I'm really curious how this behavior might affect defenders' reactions to the long through ball over the top – a staple of online matches.
On the flip side, I also saw several times when the A.I. would take a shot from further out, in the 25-yard range. I don't think any of the shots went in, but it was a warning to my team that they can't give a player too much time and space. Again, I don't know if this is tied to some players' distance shooter specialty or not. Either way, it's nice to see the A.I try and replicate some of the tendencies of FIFA gamers in real life.
The New Tutorial System
A lot of players don't like tutorial systems in their sports games, but then again, I've heard from just as many gamers that they are interested in FIFA but are intimidated by the controls. FIFA 16 has an optional, multi-level tutorial system that shows situationally-appropriate controls onscreen and when you should use them. There are varying degrees of the tutorial system, so you can find a level of suggestion that is appropriate to the amount of coaching you desire. This system is separate from the game's actual difficulty level, so you could use it on whatever one you want to play on. You can also scroll through the tutorial system's levels or turn it on/off at any time as you're playing.