FIFA15: A Retrospective Look

FIFA15 splash screen

When FIFA15 appeared last September, this blog wasn’t running. Over on UltraSoccerBlog, I commented a great deal about how I was playing and relishing FIFA15. Along with many others, we marvelled at how unexpectedly great this game had turned out to be.

The year before, I’d really liked FIFA14, but it hadn’t stood up to long-term play.

FIFA15 was different. Something that only became apparent after more than the couple of matches that many PES gamers probably gave it.

The AI had had some work done on it. Shooting was satisfying. Players felt heavy and solid. FIFA15 was the FIFA I’d been waiting for. I hadn’t felt like this about a new FIFA game since FIFA08 on the PS3.

I played Career Mode for 5 full seasons, with mostly great enjoyment and immersion. If I had been running the blog back then, we would now have a solid two months of FIFA15 posts to look back on here. A shame really.

Those posts would have recorded my mounting amazement at just how good FIFA15 was. Here are 3 goals – in a video made almost exactly one year ago – that capture the excitement of those early few weeks:

(Note the second goal’s falling-backwards, looping header to the opposite corner – a pleasing type of event that cropped up regularly enough to seem characteristic of FIFA15. Those headers mysteriously went missing from the gameplay after one of the patches. Shame on you, EA.)

FIFA15 had everything you could want in a Career Mode. The early seasons were very Master League-like (you know, back when early ML seasons were good).

FIFA15 had the best goalkeepers ever seen in a football game. The best graphics ever seen in a football game. One of the best shooting models ever seen in a football game.

FIFA15 had player individuality on about the same level as PES2015’s. Which says something about The State of PES, I know, but I’ll get to that on Friday.

PES2015 launched in November and proved to be a difficult game to love, so there were sporadic sessions of FIFA15 even then. But once my Master League did get going, FIFA15 quietly vanished off my radar. Other sporadic sessions took place, enough to get me through another season of Career Mode, making 6 in all. But never again would I match the heights of those first months last year.

In a parallel universe there’s a version of me who gave up on PES years ago. That version of me is probably playing FIFA15 at this very moment.

My final score for FIFA15 can only be a fully deserved


The only thing stopping me giving it a provocative 10/10 is the gameplay’s excessive speed – why can’t Slow mean slow? – and the tendency it has to break down into tedious tussles for possession. Also that wriggly, twisty-turny AI dribbling is just annoying. You can fall into a rut in a FIFA15 session that simply doesn’t happen in PES.

Overall, though? FIFA15 is just a great football game, and there’s no seriously denying it. The best FIFA ever made, and one of the best football games ever made.


This Friday: my end-of-year look back at PES2015.

Updated: 7th September 2015 — 11:41


  1. Tommy – Park Chu Young in PES 6 is one of the few things I remember of that edition, I always try to avoid buying the same player more than once but I looked to him continually… The man, the legend.

    Have been doing a bit of price comparison, zavvi are selling 2016 on ps4 for £32.99, anyone have any reason (other than early delivery) why not to save £7 with zavvi?

  2. Werd venom snake pangolin

    Ha!. A totally stealthy side mission completed on MGSV. A long trek to save a valuable captive turned into an epic mini film. Even Mrs Werd was impressed with my final 5 takedowns and Fulltons. She did chuckle though when my epic went b movie due to my lack of directional awareness of where the chopper was. Still I was well impressed with my efforts.
    However my next story mode mission went a phlange after 10 mins due to myself running down a road and being spotted by a Spetsnaz, I could blame Mini Werd 2 crying…yes I will do that.

    NG – I dont think its worth mooching for early copies. It was great when 6 came out early though, I remember it well. I may try to search for it for old times sake, PES 2016 does have a six in the title…

  3. Pete – Was it PES6 where he could score from inside his own half?

  4. werd – congrats! I still haven’t done a completely stealthy side or main mission of any sort. You don’t have to chopper out of the field after any op. You can just stay in the field doing missions indefinitely. That’s why Mother Base is getting some flak for being largely pointless to visit, although rumour is there’s an expansion pack coming next year to change that.

    Pete – SimplyGaming offers the cheapest price for the earliest delivery – £36 for getting it a rumoured TWO days early, i.e. Tuesday 15th.

    Chris99 – I remember PES4 being the one where it was relatively straightforward to score from just inside the opponent’s half.

  5. Werd venom snake pangolin

    NG – ARSE BURGERS! I stupidly thought to save your progress the chopper was the place to go.
    If I say start a side mission, fulton a couple of soldiers then things go wonky and I have to switch off(act of baby) etc, will those soldiers be saved at the motherbase even though I didnt finish the mission?

    A bit of look and a sandstorm helped my perfect mission. I also love the way a Russian truck can turn up at any time or soldiers just scout the area and change shift. I even let one bloke finish his cigarette before knocking him out 🙂
    I often return to base just to shower as I heard it helps to calm Snake and refresh him mentally.

  6. Well, that’s it, PES 2016 on PS3 ordered through Shopto. No ambling into town this year. Hopefully this time next week, I’ll be playing it…or at least looking at the box.

  7. werd – your game – and all progress, Fultoned soldiers etc. – is saved anytime you see the swirly yellow circle in the top right corner. That happens after completing any mission or side-op, or when reaching a checkpoint in the middle of a mission. If you’re on mission and Fultoning soldiers, gathering materials etc. and then you’re discovered, and you choose to start again from the last checkpoint, you will have to re-Fulton all those soldiers and re-gather all the materials etc.

    You can run away from a mission partway through it, and keep running across open countryside until you see the swirly yellow circle. Everything you’ve just done in that mission is then securely saved. All Fultoned soldiers etc. safe. You only ‘lose’ them if you decide to reload manually. When you go back to that base, though, you’ll find it on alert.

  8. Shed – I’m expecting the game Wednesday at least, so 6 days away hopefully. So long as you get the dispatch notification on the Tuesday, we’re probably good for Wednesday, all being well with Royal Mail in your area.

  9. What did you think of the FIFA 16 demo? downloaded last night, haven’t played it yet though…. much different from 15 ?

  10. Paul – played a few matches on the FIFA16 demo. As ever, demos have very limited appeal and value in assessing what a footy game’s going to be like (I remember disliking the FIFA15 demo a lot), but it seemed very good indeed. The word from the FIFA16 Beta was that it was a slow, heavy game, so I was looking forward to sampling it myself, but it seems EA have already watered things down from the Beta, as confirmed by abbeyhill who played both. I did like it though. Just a shame that it’s an incremental step forward from FIFA15 rather than the sudden gear-change promised by the Beta.

  11. Thanks NG, will give it a go later tonight. Just placed my PES 16 pre-order on ShopTo ….. hoping to get it the day before this time, if not i’ll (Lee) trundle up to game at lunchtime and pick it up.

  12. Paul – now I’ll be sweating on your ShopTo preorder more than mine…

  13. Werd venom snake pangolin

    NG – thanks. I wasnt sure if the yellow circle meant just a temp save.
    Useful to know the run away rule saves all progress. I only have time for a mission a night so a leisurely mooch after the mission is a rare treat.

    Amazon is by choice this time. Bloodborne arrived bang on release date and so did MGSV. However if it hasnt dropped by 9:30 I will purchase at GAME in the Metro centre and return my Amazon copy. I have some games to swap so it may be a better option. I will not cancel my Amazon as i’m paranoid GAME will have run out, daft but thats me. I probs wont play until Saturday though as I have a night out(worst timing ever) the following Monday is a Spa day. Worst PES week since my ps3 died 2 weeks before 2014 and the year I forgot 2012 was out!

  14. Given what abbeyhill is saying about 2014 (and what NG has suggested may be the one that got away) I think I’m going to have a look at that before I join you all in 2016 – I’d only get annoyed and sell the thing by November if I leap straight in. I’m not even considering Fifa as 15 has loads more mileage in it if I ever go back.

    Your MGS comments are making me appreciate the downside of Hitman even more. I spent another two hours last night trying to steal something with no loss of life, each time I slipped up and ended in a shoot out but every time I could win that with ease and complete the mission. Hitman he may be but there’s no way he should take down 25 heavily armed rednecks in a gun store by simply hiding round a corner and waiting for them to come forward one at a time. I guess that’s the point of the rewards, if it was unbeatable outside of stealth it would only attract complaints (I’m looking at you Ninja Gaiden Sigma).

  15. I’ve gone for TheGameCollection pre-order this time round, £29.75 on PS4. I’ve only ordered one thing from them before but it wasn’t release day applicable. We’ll see, I think they’re ok for release day stuff. Bit of a gamble, but the price was good, so I’ll take a day’s wait if necessary. ShopTo gave me PES on release day last year. From what I’ve read, Zavvi are a bit slow.

  16. I’ve just double-checked the release dates and the UK release date is of course next Friday, the 18th. Somehow I’d got the EU date (17th) fixed in my mind. So Thurs the 17th is the likely UK delivery date for ShopTo and similar level preorders. Hmmm. Ah well, no matter – another day to devote to MGSV. I’ll still go on quest in Coventry city centre for the game on Tuesday onwards, despite knowing these mythical ‘independent games stores’ that always seem to shadily sell the game early don’t exist here anymore. It’s one of my yearly traditions.

  17. great idea, Turf, will be intrigued to hear what you think of PES2014 a second time round. I can see myself getting quite engrossed in it. In a way I was hoping to dislike 2014 & 15 immediately, so I could join you guys on PES2016 at the same time. However football games must be played to completion, and in the right sequence

  18. nG – I skipped PES4, so I’m still plumping for PES6 (PC version).

  19. Here’s another vid Konami will no doubt soon order deleted as it was clearly made before they fixed fouls (of course we all know that’s not going to happen). There are literally none at all in this one – not even for the AI.

    This is from the PS3 version but it does show the improved commentary.

  20. One of my favourite FIFA youtubers playing PES 2016

  21. Shed – are we sure that’s the PS3 version? Looks very good graphically. I think that’s the PS4 version, and a typo from the uploader. At least the game moves nice and slow.

    Peter Drury sounds like he had a cold when he recorded some of his lines. Nice to hear a different commentator.

    No fouls, and this is how it’ll be for the final version. In the video posted yesterday there was one free kick – but it was for an offside only. The fouls count was 0-0.

    There’ll be little point Konami getting this one removed. After yesterday’s shenanigans I bet it’s been download and re-uploaded to multiple other locations already. If it does disappear, expect it to reappear almost instantly elsewhere.

  22. n-G – I think we’ve all come to terms with the no-foul thing. Maybe we’ll get a few on Superstar but not anywhere near enough.

    I didn’t think that clip looked that good in terms of graphics – not what I would expect from PS4 certainly. Also, the intro to the match (no tunnel cut scene) would imply it is indeed PS3.

    Beglin sounds just as dull as ever on that commentary but Drury is indeed a nice change and most of his comments seem contextual enough.

  23. RAMSEY!!! wow, looking forward to hearing the full commentary, I’ve always felt beglin was the real weak link so shame he’s still at it.

    Just ordered at, saw some good reviews on trustpilot re delivery speed and £31.85 (ps4) too good a price to miss.

  24. that ‘RAMSEY!’ was seriously annoying. FIFA15 has been the only footy game I have played with commentary on all the way through, and that got very irritating too

  25. Abbeyhill, my wow was more of a cringeing wow, it was way too over the top. Back in the ps2 days I used to use the German commentary to have a break from Trevor brooking

  26. yes I thought that was a cringeing wow, Pete, there is no way anyone could approve of that! Actually my favourite commentary of all time was on the GBA Winning Eleven, just a few enthusiastic Japanese comments thrown in now and again

  27. Picked up a copy of PES5 the other day on Amazon, arrived yesterday. I’ve not played it since I had it on PS2 back in the day. What a difference from PES6! The shooting is miles better, to name but one thing. I couldn’t remember the difference being that, well, different! It almost feel like PES5 was the next one in the evolutionary chain, not the other way around.

  28. Colin Coynborough is back in rehab, Richard Harty is a pundit on TalkSport radio and Castolis is running a tapas bar back home in Greece.

    What I’m trying to say is that PES 2016 has all new defaults. They’re another young bunch but not too overpowered looking at their stats. An overall rating of 64 is a little less than last year’s defaults and on a par with the lesser teams in the Championship.

    You can also check out the other teams and players on the site.

  29. Pete – I always used to change it to the league i’m playing. The english comms gets boring after a week or so. I loved the dutch comms in Fifa as well.

    ISS Deluxe – “no foul?”

    NG – you may be well jel. A main mission done and dusted no alerts!. I have no idea how. I just fell into the zone and had a lot of time to plan and keep calm. It was to destroy the comms installation. I had no sticky bombs so I just chucked a grenade into the room itself. I killed two and extracted the rest. Not text book but it did the job.

  30. Nice One Shed!!

    R Jarvis looks like he could be useful with shooting stats like that.
    Im glad the defaults are different, new start, new stories to create etc.
    Also glad they don’t seem to be as good as last year, the defaults were too overpowered IMO.

  31. Tommy – I’ll never forget how deflated I was when my PES6 ML collapsed around the Season 5 mark. The game was too easy, too accessible, in the long run. PES5 had that extra dimension of longevity that PES6 lacked – and that shooting… What format did you get it on? PC, or have you still got a working PS2?

    Shed – great find, and it’ll be relief to wave goodbye to Vratokov et al. I never really settled down with the post-PES2012 Defaults in any guise. Looking down that PES2016 list, they still look worryingly competent. Arcas looks like being the new Castello/Castolo figure.

    werd – was that the one with the three radar dishes that you had to mark before getting the go-ahead to take them out? If so, that was the mission where the truck returning blew my cover that I posted a short clip of last week.

    I’ve just met Quiet in my game. The boss battle involved is superb, but will test your patience to the max. Took me five attempts, each failed attempt clocking in at 20-30 minutes, spread over two days of playtime. If you make it to Quiet, make sure Mrs Werd isn’t around when you watch the subsequent cutscenes…

  32. some ML footage….

  33. Stadium pics and a dude I could copy and use as my avatar(Ricardo of Porto)

    Villa park rip off is back and a few medium sized…sorry Paul

    NG – thats the one. I waited for ages for truck to go. I also returned about 20 mins into the mission.
    Mrs Werd is long in bed by the time I play…

  34. Paul – great find, and I love this time of year! The week leading up to getting the game is just magical as all the little leaks and nuggets of info start popping out. I even love the wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the last few days when you know it’s nearly here but it still doesn’t seem quite so real.

    Looking at the full Default ML lineup, it’s clear they’ve made a gesture towards old-school grind, but it’s still a very capable cast list compared to the classic old days.

  35. I think the days of old school defaults and churning out 6 or 7 seasons in Div 2 trying to get promotion are over, its all about pick up and play accessibility these days, cater for the casual gamer…..

    Pleased to see Rose Park Stadium is back, that was Anfield like and a smaller stadium at 35000.
    Obviously we are still missing a selection of smaller capacity Div 2 style stadiums but at least we won’t have to play in a big bowl stadium with 80,000 every game.

    Not seen any news on a day one option file of any sorts?

    This is the first year for 3 years Ive been excited for a PES game. Hopefully the gameplay holds its own and the little changes to ML will help draw us all in and get balls deep into the game.

    Pass assist level 1, Top Player, English Div 2, Classic players OFF, my starting config i think.

  36. ERR – wusses prof, 2 bar to start, Bundesliga 2 or English Div 2, Classic on, either defaults or my bespoke defaults.
    Tummy butterflys too esp with this gloomy PES weather.

    Paul – A few smaller stadia to mess with this term. May I suggest changing a few pitch patterns to stadia for a bit of variety.

  37. Yeah always do that WERD for a bit of variety. Hopefully its still in this years edit functionality.
    Also change the seat colours etc

  38. Also the PEU league players have been changed, I cant find Knippelgarth!

    E X C I T E D !!!!!!!!!!

  39. Defaults 0-bar Superstar Classic On

  40. Left back Eric Canning, who arrived from his native Glasgow with somewhat of a reputation, was last night arrested following what police describe as ‘an altercation’ in a city centre bar. According to witnesses Canning had been drinking heavily and offering to arm wrestle anyone ‘who fancied their chances’.

  41. nG – both on PC now. I have PES6 on PS2 too, and I’m sure the shooting isn’t that bad as I only played it a few months ago. It’s the one PS2 game I can just about get to load, lens is nearly dead. Awful shooting must be a PC thing.

    Those defaults look interesting, I think I will be starting with them this year over match mode players. I avoided singing defaults in 2015 as I didn’t like how they didn’t have a first name initial compared to the rest of my players. God bless initials.

  42. Having seen the new defaults, I’ll also be starting with them now on 1-bar and -1 speed and Top Player. I might even risk Superstar. Classic players on.

  43. Shed – That sounds like a good mix. Is that what you started on last year, and, did you finish on that?

  44. Tommy – PES6 on PC and PS2 is the same game, so shooting would be exactly the same. It was a light shooting year. You’d definitely adapt over time, but the nearness of the here-and-now to the new game next week would be making you impatient (relatively speaking) with any football game.

    Kudos to you for actually buying a PC version of PES5. My installation is a torrented version, something I’ve generally given up on in recent years – ah, but I own the physical PS2 and PC and PSP versions of PES5! So I’m entitled (in every sense).

    Re. the new crop of Defaults and PES2016, as ever it’ll be a day or two of Exhibitions/Cup games to take the measure of things, and then I’ll start out on Professional, Classic players ON. It just isn’t PES if I can’t sign Michel Platini at some point, or come up against Peter Shilton in goal, etc.

  45. Tommy – I think it is roughly what I started on, yes. I started on Top PLayer then whacked it up to Superstar when I got promoted to the Prem. Turned out to be a great formula for not winning a single bit of silverware but then I didn’t have time for as many ML seasons as I would have liked.

    I know you can’t tell by the demo entirely but Superstar didn’t seem quite so tough on PES 2006. ML does of course bring in other factors/scripting.

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