Football is this rare breed of a near universal pastime. “Association Football” as it is technically known, is played by millions in nearly every country on the planet. The FIFA football video game series has had annual releases since it began in 1993. The namesake of the game is the infamous governing body of association football, FIFA, founded more than a century ago. Just like football, FIFA 16 is a global affair. This football association video game boasts more than 650 teams from thirty leagues around the globe. In FIFA 16 you direct the tactics and control the players on the pitch. Men’s national teams include the European and Latin American powerhouses (Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Spain etc…) and several more intriguing outfits that are fun to play with (China, India, New Zealand). Bored with the English Premier League? Choose from The Korea K League or the Norwegian Tippeligaen. Women make their first appearance in FIFA 16 with twelve national teams featured.
Playability: Trainer holding your foot
FIFA 16 holds your hand (or your foot) with a trainer overlay that suggests what key to press given the state of play (ball throw, corner kick, lob pass, goal kick etc). There is no need to memorise keyboard controls. A variety of training exercises are a breeze to kick through to make even an old video gamer a football couch superstar. FIFA 16 offers Beginner and Amateur modes for newcomers, and gradually more challenging difficulty levels, all the way to World Class.
Annoyance: It’s about the money
Given the corruption scandals plaguing FIFA and football, it is droll that FIFA 16 developers have created the opportunity for gamers to spend more money to play FUT (FIFA Ultimate Team). Football is a beautiful game indeed, but it is also a game of big money. FUT draft allows players to build their own teams and to pit them against other players. There is an entrance fee for tournaments and you have to pay to buy packs of players. The problem is that you don’t know what players are in the pack… Dreaming of that dream team of yours? To get the amazing players you worship, you’ll have to be very patient or spend some real world cash (in addition to paying for the basic game).
Beauty: Into the stadium
The ambiance is there, the crowds, the songs, the cheers and the boohs. FIFA 16 recreates Borussia, Camp Nou, Juventus, Old Trafford, Parc des Princes, Wembley and a long list of stadiums around the world. With more than forty of the latest pop songs that make people groove in fifteen different countries, FIFA 16 has music to please everybody in the global village. From a distance, the teams look great and realistic, up close individual players occasionally have some wooden moves and a bit of waxy skin reminiscent of Madame Tussauds. It’s very amusing to play with stars like Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, or to make Zlatan jump and shake his pony tail. The mannerism, the gait, the tattoos, and the moles of the players are faithfully rendered. (Un)fortunately, they don’t talk, swear or spit much, which makes them cleaner and more perfect than their human models.
The Old Video Gamer’s Prattle: Fun football with international flair 8/10
FIFA 16 is a sophisticated and fun football simulation with global appeal and international flair. The tweaks from one yearly edition of FIFA to the next one are rarely substantial. More teams, more leagues, more stadiums and finally lady players are pleasing additions to FIFA 16. The FIFA Ultimate Team component of the game is a little cash greedy and an unnecessary annoyance for the old school video gamer.