FIFA 15: End of Season Review

In the first of our community contributions Max has stepped up to slot home the first penalty with his review of FIFA 15, so without further ado, over to you Max.
I know we're late to the party, but here it is: the FIFA 15 review. Long awaited by all, I'm sure.
First off, the core gameplay is pretty solid. Passing is bearable, but sometimes they do suffer a little from not understanding the offside rule and passing to blatantly offside attackers. Shooting is generally not terrible, you miss a lot less open goals. Also you can't spam crosses anymore into the box with accuracy that puts seasoned sniper veterans to shame, and then have the all important Mario Mandzukińá card head it in with consummate ease, but it is still possible if you're lucky. Another thing you'll be happy not have to put up with is players' face models drawn by a 6 year old on Windows Paint. 

Another thing you may or may not be pleased to hear is that Pro Clubs are back! Buuuuut they're on next-gen only. Remember that disappointment you got as a kid when you open a coconut that you won from a coconut shy for the first time in your short life, expecting to be able to crack it with your bare hands, but realising that it's a lot harder than in the cartoons, and waiting excitedly for litres of coconut milk to pour from the top, and when only a small bit comes out, having your childhood ruined? Yeah, that disappointment. That's the same feeling you get when you buy FIFA 15 on the 360 or PS3 and settle down to get playing, and then realise that Pro Clubs wasn't made for last gen. This is especially bad for me as a religious Pro Clubs player for the last few years, when I realise that I don't have a next gen or the money to buy one. Disappointing feels aside, Pro Clubs hasn't disappointed those who can play it. Up to 36 players in a club are allowed, and all 11 players can be controlled in-game by separate people. Pretty solid from EA in that respect.

That's the positives out of the way; now to offer the opposite side of the spectrum.

One of the biggest gaps in the game this year for FIFA is the goalkeepers. Ooooooohhhhh God. Remember in FIFA 14, the goalkeepers were veteran ninjas with reflexes rivaling that of the Flash? Yeah, those ones - apparently during the making of FIFA 15, those same goalkeepers were shot in the spine by a high-powered rifle and paralysed from the neck down. Seriously, they couldn't catch a cold for love nor money, they can't even collect the ball as it pea rolls towards them only slightly faster than a dying tortoise and they have a fatal habit of punching out the ball just far enough for the opponent's striker to control it and run into the goal and shhhhhhhhhhhh you to death. Although to be fair, that's if the striker didn't contract brittle bone disease by slowly jogging a few feet to collect a pass, and immediately sitting on the pitch crying loudly and holding their injured leg; on the other hand, you have to give marks to EA for realism, because let's be honest, footballers today usually injure themselves more by falling on the ground than they did in the tackle itself.

Keeper beaten, leg falls off in 3, 2, 1...

Price ranges.
Oh God, price ranges.
The bane of pay to win gamers; which I guess is a good thing to be fair. As you may well have heard if you have functional senses and don't live under a rock next door to Patrick of SpongeBob SquarePants fame, EA have added a new feature into FIFA: Ultimate Team that limits the minimum and maximum prices of certain players. For example, a bronze, 39 rated Accrington Stanley player can be listed for a minimum of 150 coins, and a maximum of, at most, 5000. However, legend Pele or 99 rated Ronaldo will have a minimum within the millions, and a maximum of about a few more million (price ranges fluctuate from console to console, and are updated every once in a while). However, this means that cards that people would otherwise kill for, go for a fraction of the price - a shining example is InForm Alaba, the right back for Bayern Munich. He is about the only right back in the entire Bundesliga that is worth more than a Nintendo Wii from eBay, and obviously this translates to MASSIVE hype for his card, let alone his InForm. So when his first InForm card finally came around, his price range was released, and mother of god was he extinct.

David Alaba, also known as El Dorado
Going extinct is a new phenomenon in FUT now, and this occurs when a price range for a player is so godawfully inaccurate that you'd have to have less sense than a paralysed blind-deaf pensioner to not pick up immediately. Then, no one wants to sell him for this price, and holds onto their first owner Alaba cards. 
Anyway, after a storm of negative feedback that bested Hurricane Sandy in the competition to see who could throw things the furthest, Sandy throwing cars, and this storm throwing FIFA 15 star ratings through the floor, EA changed Alaba's price ranges. Within a few days, Alaba went from making dinosaurs cry because he did a better job being extinct than they did, to flooding FUT, KILLING MILLIONS, LEAVING PEOPLE HOMELESS, UNEMPLOYED, AND STARVI-
Sorry, I got carried away.
This means that, yes, coin-selling can't go on the way it used to: paying a coin seller, listing a 150 coin non-rare bronze player for however many coins you paid for, and then having the coin seller buy the player for what you paid for. Simple. Not anymore. Although, don't worry, you can still buy a preloaded 'mule' account that has coins already on it. 
What I'm trying to say is that price ranges were put in place by EA for money-grabbing intent, under the guise of making it fairer for people without money streaming uncontrollably from every possible orifice on their body by stopping pay-to-win - however, it actually turned out to make coin sellers savvier and lose EA more money, and made it easier for the casual player to get premium players at feasible prices.

I can't go any further writing this review until I have mentioned referees. Seriously, the amount of yellow cards they give keeps Howard Webb in the 2010 WC final off of the front pages. I, no lie, can standing tackle anyone in the box, no matter how bad the foul and the referee won't give the penalty any quicker than a stubborn 3 year old would go to sleep early. The other day, I was mid-roulette around the goalkeeper and about to score, when an opponent defender arm-checked my new Di Maria, injuring my player immediately and throwing me off balance. I didn't get a penalty, he didn't get a card, nothing! This has to be fixed next year.

Howard Webb recommends furniture polish before every game for that super shiny look
My last gripe about this year's installment of FIFA, is the servers.

EA servers.

I'm sure all of us here dread those words every time when we put FIFA into the disc tray for the first time for that year. I am sad to confirm that yet again, the EA servers are as dysfunctional as ever, and we will have to sit through another year of the loading circle of death. I can honestly say that I haven't got through all 90 minut- no, sorry, I forgot to take into account the added time when you're winning by one goal and about to concede BS- 100ish minutes of a FIFA game without a lag spike, connection lost or a rage quit. OF COURSE the ragequit is by the the other player because, obviously I'm perfect and never get angry (Ed. you just save that for Warhammer then?), and to be fair to EA, it's not their fault that so many players have tryhard, ragequitting tendencies now. 

To sum up, other than shockingly weak servers, which we have got used to after consistent failure on EA's part year in year out, the sensei-level ninja goalkeepers, the surprise brittle bone disease and the referee decisions, the gameplay is generally solid, there are fun skill challenges as well as Pro Clubs, and the game only really falls behind on the non-gameplay aspects in ultimate team, and connectivity.

3 out of 5.

Please visit Max's YouTube channel TheChickenHouse447


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