Preview

FIFA 15

The FIFA 15 Demo Is Impressive
by Matthew Kato on Sep 09, 2014 at 10:18 AM
Publisher: EA Sports
Developer: EA Canada
Release:
Rating: Everyone
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, 3DS, Wii, PlayStation Vita, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

FIFA 15 doesn't come out until September 23, but today EA Sports and developer EA Canada released a demo for the title, and it will definitely get you excited for the full release.

The demo features one match at Anfield, letting you choose sides between Liverpool, Manchester City, PSG, Barcelona, Boca Juniors, Chelsea, Napoli, and Borussia Dortmund, and it also lets you play a little Ultimate Team. There isn't much to this mode in the demo, as it is mainly a tutorial about chemistry. It does, however, let you play with a couple different squad builds (like one that's a mix of Ligue 1 and Premier League players). This is similar to the Concept Squads feature in the full title where you can put together dummy Ultimate Team squads to test out players' chemistry.

Without further ado, here are some of my impressions from the demo. Be aware, of course, that things can change before the final game is released.

GAMEPLAY

  • The transition between gaining possession and dribbling is smoother and quicker than in FIFA 14.
  • Players' acceleration in general is quick and smooth.
  • Players' reactions are also quicker – whether it's to unleash a volley or to stick out a leg to try and disrupt a pass. This applies to the goaltenders too, just like EA has been advertising.
  • The ball seems a little more lively bouncing around. This includes deflections – which there are more of.
  • It's easier to win the ball on defense with a standing tackle and keep your momentum going forward with the ball.
  • Corners: You can toggle between different players, which you can then move around (although they will move back to their default positions if you choose another player). You can then kick the ball to that specific player or put the ball in like normal. You can also ask an individual player to jostle in the box.
  • Throw Ins: You can select individual players to move around, which really helps when everyone's marked.
  • Penalties: These haven't changed like developer EA Canada intimated they would when 2014 World Cup Brazil came out.
  • The A.I. carries the ball more than in FIFA 14, and will fool around with it less in general. It also takes more shots from outside and around the box.

PRESENTATION

  • The game looks gorgeous, with the lighting giving matches a great look, and includes some good-looking player faces.
  • TV-style overlays reveal the match lineups, and these are read off by the commentators, which is a nice touch.
  • Pitch marks are noticeable, and some tackles will even make specific marks.
  • Chants are more frequent than in FIFA 14, and crowds audibly gasp at near misses.
  • Sit on the pause menu for a few seconds, and the game reverts to TV-style highlights.
  • Player stats such as shots taken appear on screen.
  • The commentary appears more in tune with the action than FIFA 14, but it doesn't really explore the story of the match up to that point. It does make World Cup references, which is always funny whenever they talk about a Brazilian player.

TACTICS

  • The Team Management screen contains an Instructions section where you can tweak the behaviors of your A.I. teammates. This is broken down by position (striker, wingers, central midfielders, full backs, and center backs), and the duties for those positions. Each of your strikers, for instance, can be asked to make support runs out wide, in the center of the pitch, or in a balanced mix. Similarly, you can tell a winger (or both of them) to try to create chances by cutting in, or a defender to join the attack.
  • I fiddled around with the player Instructions, and found that players responded to the perimeters I set for them. I wouldn't use them for every player, but it was useful to tweak my tactics if things weren't working.

Download the demo now and let me know what you think!

Note: The PlayStation 4 demo is available tomorrow, and it will also appear on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC some unspecified time in the future.