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.