I've been playing FIFA 15 on the Xbox One in the past two weeks and I'm hooked. I don't follow football closely, but I love playing this game. It looks great, and it features several modes that are going to make Xbox One owners keep coming back for more. Whether it is a quick single player game, tournament, or online multiplayer, it's hard to get bored with FIFA 15. I haven't even mentioned FIFA Ultimate Team yet, which is EA Sports' most popular mode that I thought would be overwhelming, but has become my favorite feature of this game.
If you're still undecided whether you should buy FIFA 15 for the Xbox One, continue reading for the full review and watch our video demonstration.
When playing a game in FIFA 15, there are subtle things in the presentation that add up and stop me from skipping certain animations and replays. Usually, when a ball goes off the field or after a foul, I quickly tap a button to skip. In this version of FIFA, EA Sports has added what's called Emotional Intelligence. Players now have emotional responses based on what happens on the field. For example, when a goalkeeper blocks a shot, you can see his teammates giving him a celebratory hug or chest pump. When a striker misses a few shots, you can actually see his teammates getting frustrated, especially the ones that were wide open. After a bad tackle, you can see players get up to confront the opponent.
There are several subtle visual details that are worth pointing out. The field wears and tears as the match progresses. I didn't even think I needed to see that in a football video game, but it's there and it looks great. The jerseys also move realistically when players run or get pulled by opponents. You can also see jerseys get wet from the rain and get dirty when the players hit the ground.
If you need any more proof that FIFA 15 is aiming for authenticity, just look closely at the players' faces. Messi looks like Messi. Balotelli looks like Balotelli. If you're playing as one of the Barclays Premier League teams, pay close attention to the audio and commentary. EA Sports has recorded and implemented realistic audio to goal reactions, misses, whistles, and over 2 hours of crowd-specific chants. Tackles, bumping, and collisions look very real, too. I haven't noticed players going through each other like ghosts.
This game is pretty on the outside, and it's just as beautiful when you go deeper. FIFA 15 stays up-to-date with player rosters, so you don't have to worry about that when playing. Of course, that means your Xbox has to be connected to the Internet. There are several Game Modes available:
- Kick-off: quickly jump into a single player game
- Career Mode - choose a career as a manager or a player
- FIFA Ultimate Team - manage, buy, or trade players to make your own team.
- Tournament Mode - play in tournaments like the Premier League or La Liga.
- Skill Games - 26 new Skill Games added to the popular practice mode including four new games that cover the basics – dribbling, shooting, passing, defending
- Highlights of the Week - weekly high profile matches and challenges you can play
- Online Seasons - compete online in a season format.
- Online friendlies - compete online against your friends
- Co-Op Seasons - compete online with a friend in 2v2 matches
- Pro Clubs - Join or create a club with your friends and play online up to 11 vs 11.
- Match Day Live - Follow your favorite team and play their upcoming matches.
Since there are several modes to choose from, you'll find something that fits what you like. I mainly play Kick-off, Online Seasons, and FIFA Ultimate Team. I haven't even touched career mode yet, and I'm probably not going to.
If you aren't careful, you can easily get addicted to FIFA Ultimate Team. This is FIFA's most popular mode. It lets you manage, buy, sell, and trade players to build your own team. You can then play seasons offline and online against other gamers' ultimate teams. You'll be tempted to create a team full of superstars, however, there are limitations that prevent you from doing that. Team chemistry is very important and your team won't be very successful if that number is low. Chemistry is higher when players are in positions they usually play in, and when teammates are from the same country, league, or club. Players with similar skill levels tend to have better chemistry too.
I don't follow football that closely, but building an Ultimate Team is an addictive challenge. While I don't know most of the players, it's all about balancing the overall skills of the team with chemistry. You also need to keep a close eye on the budget. You can buy players with coins and you earn coins by winning matches. You can also earn coins by simply trading in the Transfer Market. You can do this by buying low and selling high. You can also spend real money to get more coins, but that can get very expensive.
You can use your coins to buy FIFA packs, which include random players, staff, and consumables you can add to your team. Buying and opening packs can get very addictive, too. You never know who's going to be inside the pack and you might get lucky with some really good and very rare players to find, like Ronaldo or Messi. I haven't been very lucky with opening packs. I usually end up selling the players for coins I can use in the market.
Another cool thing about Ultimate Mode is that it's hard to stay with the same squad. Players get injured and have contracts. You won't be able to use them unless after they heal or you extend their contracts. You can use consumables to heal injuries or add more games to the players' contracts.
FIFA 15 Ultimate Team expands outside of your Xbox One. You can buy, sell, trade and manage your team through the web and companion apps on mobile devices. The FIFA Companion app has been available for a while on Windows Phone, but it has been updated to complement the latest version of the game. One thing you should note is that the Transfer Market where you buy, sell, and trade players has been mostly down outside of the Xbox One since the game's release. It has recently come back online, but we don't know if it's going to be stable from now on.
EA Sports' FIFA is one of the best-selling sports video game franchise in the world, and I think they've got another winner here with their latest release. It looks great and feels more authentic than ever before. There are plenty of modes available and Ultimate Team will keep you busy even when you're away from your Xbox. If you already have FIFA 14, you won't be disappointed getting the latest version.
Did you buy FIFA 15? How do you like it? Sound off in the comments and feel free to play with me online! My gamertag is Mackarus.
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