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Saturday 20 September 2014

FIFA 15: New features promise to make this the best version ever

Matthew Morlidge

Published 14/08/2014 | 17:38

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FIFA 15 Man City Goal

Forget indoor 6-a-side matches on FIFA 97. Forget the early competition from Pro Evolution Soccer. This is FIFA 15, the game of the future.

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EA Sports' latest franchise looks set to provide plenty more innovative features than its first attempt on the next-gen consoles; broadening their horizons to help get the most from a powerful engine system.

Much of the detail about FIFA 15 had already been revealed before Gamescom in Germany this week, but that didn't stop them wheeling out more exclusives, including: next-gen goalkeepers with improved reactions and better decisions, enhanced career mode with matchday live powered by Goal, as well as changes to the immensely popular Ultimate Team. The latest franchise is the most in-demand yet - with its EA Sports press conference trending worldwide on Wednesday morning - so let's take a look at just what makes it special.

The gap between 'real life' and Xbox/PlayStation games is narrowing every year, not least with the latest addition of all 20 Premier League grounds.

Every detail has been looked upon - giving the player the diverse feeling of a 3pm kick-off - with audio from the grounds sounding sublime.  Commentary and chants have been almost identical throughout the last six or seven FIFA franchises, so this significant step forward should not only give you the feel of a new game, but the sound too.

15 years ago FIFA was under direct threat from Pro Evo, with pressure on EA Sports to produce enough innovative features to keep it fresh. Of course, licensing has helped its course over the years but the truth in the matter is the gameplay has always felt smoother, online additions have come quicker, and fans' satisfaction has been higher.

FIFA 15 Xbox Legends

From the released information so far, FIFA 15 looks to have perfected and fine-tuned all the effects they have been working on down the years. In 2004 gamers got their first experience of seeing players make runs off the ball. Attacking runs are now so realistic that developers claim you will actually “feel” like Lionel Messi. “Players move realistically with athleticism, improved balance and closer control, giving greater responsiveness and personality to your favourite stars,” they say.

Apart from server issues, it is often hard to critique FIFA games, not least to think of new ideas. How can they make that player look any more realistic? With authentic player headscans, that’s how.  It’s time to see your favourite players up close and personal. Think David de Gea's sideburns, Eden Hazard's boyish looks (but no, not a Jack Wilshere cigarette), FIFA 15 has it covered. Over 200 new player heads will be scanned into the game, giving them the most realistic player possible.

BT Sport, Sky Sports, or am I playing on next-gen? There are more 'TV-friendly' additions than ever before. Line-ups, substitutes, formations, even goal-line technology, all will make you feel like that 6-minute amateur match against Aldershot (yes, it's serious) is the headline act across the world on Saturday. Tactics have also been stepped up a notch. FIFA 08’s release on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 gave gamers the chance to edit passing style, speed and pressing, but FIFA 15’s attention detail borders on Football Manager status. Park the bus, In the mixer, Time wasting, change the way you play to gain the upper hand. The “human” attacking runs as well as the ability for customisations should mean no more blaming the AI.

FIFA 09’s revamped collision system and FIFA 12’s overhauled tackling represent the biggest modern changes to the franchise, while the former’s online features changed the way players thought about the game. But FIFA 15 seems to have polished all their hard work over the last 21 years, and then some. Even last year’s Ultimate Team changes have been built on, with new legends such as former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel introduced, while you will now have the ability to loan players.

Control your players ahead of set-pieces, shoulder barge your opponent off the ball, watch the ball spin and curl like never before depending on what contact you make; what other new additions am I missing?

Another epic save from Tim Howard, this time in FIFA 15
Another epic save from Tim Howard, this time in FIFA 15

Ah yes. The pitch will change and cut-up throughout the game, boots leave a mark. Emotional intelligence with over 600 new reactions see player’s personalities come to the fore. Corner flags move, goal frames shake, LED advertising boards change, even the crowd (FIFA 14’s crown jewel) are in higher definition than ever.

FIFA 15 will have a powerful draw on football fans, and Xbox One and PS4 especially are bound to prosper. The future of next-gen football has arrived.

FIFA 15 is available to pre-order ahead of its release on PC, Nintendo 3DS, Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4 and PS Vita on 26 September. Or alternatively purchase the Xbox One bundle for €399.99

Independent News Service

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