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Review of FIFA 16 demo: New version leaves a lot to be desired

FIFA-16-Demo

On Tuesday, EA Sports released the demo for FIFA 16. However, based on what I’ve seen so far in the demos for FIFA 16 and PES 2016, EA will have to work very hard to keep its footy crown as PES 2016 has made a big step up, while FIFA 16 has plateaued compared to previous versions.

Game setup and presentation

In the FIFA 16 demo, you get to choose from Chelsea FC, Manchester City, Inter and a few others. The women’s teams included in the demo are USA and Germany.

EA Sports wastes no time getting you into a game. After the demo finished loading, I was immediately thrown into playing an El Clasico match between Barcelona and Real Madrid.

If you’ve played one FIFA game, you’ve played them all, so there were very few tweaks that I needed to make to set up the game. After playing the first game, I immediately set up a second game with the women’s team (more on that in a moment) and saw a few of the options to choose from, including kits, stadiums and time of day.  I was hoping to have the option to adjust the weather condition as this year’s game is supposed to include dynamic weather but that option wasn’t available. However, the referee’s vanishing spray is available. Also, the offside line has returned.

As always with the game’s opening, Martin Tyler and Alan Smith provide the commentary and it was nice to hear the duo get a little more in depth with some of the players, but this has been one of EA Sport’s cornerstones, so improving the commentary was unsurprising.  What I am concerned about is once the full game becomes available, how long will gamers play before we start hearing the same phrases over and over?

Graphics

To be brutally honest, the graphics haven’t really changed radically from last year’s game. In a sense, it’s not a bad thing either as last year’s game was pretty good graphically speaking.  If anything, what is noticeable is that the player models are a little better although some of the faces on the women’s team look to be a bit ‘mashed in’.  One thing I did notice is that Lionel Messi’s new tattoo is included.  So, does this mean we can start seeing a better representation for other players’ ink as well?

The stadiums, as always, look great and it seems that EA Sports has got the crowd shots appearing more realistic as opposed to the previous robotic movements. Some of the lighting is a better (not every stadium has the same lighting that they did in the last few versions).

Also remember last year when EA Sports made such a big deal about its “Emotion Engine”? FIFA 16 is a lot more emotive this time around.  Expect to see more frustration from missed shots, botched tackles and bad calls. There is also more pushing and shoving from opposing players and occasionally slapped away hands.

One big improvement that I noticed is the slide-tackle animations.  EA Sports stated that they were trying to improve them so we wouldn’t see so many canned animations. They were correct but the collision detection for the demo is a mess.

Controls

As stated earlier, FIFA 16 hasn’t changed much control wise and it’s very evident here. The only difference now is the no touch dribbling button. It’s easy to try but may take time to master. And as with any player, your results will vary. Using it with Cristiano Ronaldo is not the same as Falcao or Clint Dempsey, and the AI is not afraid to punish you for making that mistake. Otherwise, the controls for the game are the same as always and veteran gamers should feel at home with it.

Gameplay and AI

This is where the FIFA 16 demo gets dicey. EA Sports always promise to improve the AI, and yet it still feels like little has changed. I played with 4 different teams in the demo and, to be hones, with the exception of Real Madrid, I don’t think I really changed my strategy as much. It was just pass, pass, pass and, when open, shoot.  As I stated in my review of the PES 2016 demo, I felt that PES 2016 has a certain flow to the game. For example, the AI knew when to double team players. I still didn’t get that with FIFA 16. Many times, players stuck to their zones only double teaming if I pushed a button for them to do so and this has been happening since FIFA 14.  This was prevalent even in the women’s games as well.

What really frustrated me is the number of times when there was a loose ball, the AI would react poorly to get to it especially if it was in the box waiting for someone to score. This also was the worst part of the demo (which I hope they fix before releasing) in that there were too many times when defenders reacted poorly to balls being played in the box. Instead of sensible headers to clear the ball, I saw defenders trying to bring the ball in and pass. Instead of goalkeepers grabbing the ball, they tried to punch it out.

In one game, I saw a goalkeeper try to punch a ball to clear it when it should have been an easy catch, only to have that ball headed right into the goal. Yes, there are times when poor decisions are made in the real game, but these type of blatant faux pas were frequent in the FIFA 16 demo.  Furthermore, with the collision detection, I saw too many players trip over each other and clumsily playing balls in the air. I am really hoping that EA Sports fine tunes that AI again before shipping this game in less than two weeks.

The inclusion of the women’s teams

It’s wonderful that EA Sports decided that women’s teams should be featured in FIFA 16. For some critics, it’s a sign that EA Sports is trying to be more inclusive, but what’s not so nice is that not all of the women’s teams will be included in the final release. What can you do with 12 teams?  The game includes men’s teams from all corners of the world, but only 12 teams are included to play in a modded form of the Women’s World Cup. As far as the gameplay, however, much of what I said earlier also holds true, so your miles may vary as to how much you’ll enjoy using the women’s teams if you do so at all.

In conclusion, FIFA 16’s demo leaves a lot to be desired.  In many ways, it’s the same game that fans year after year will flock to but underneath the gloss of a game that has many of the licenses to teams and player likenesses, there are still some glaring issues with the AI that still haven’t been addressed in years. Unless EA Sports really polishes the AI before release, I feel that it’s going to take a few steps back and PES 2016 will really shine.

FIFA 16 will be released on September 22 in the US and September 24 in Europe.  For those that have EA Access, they will be able to get the game a few days earlier.

Don’t forget, regardless of which soccer game you are getting, order FIFA 16 or PES 2016 today and have it at your door on the day it releases.

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34 Comments

34 Comments

  1. onur

    May 3, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    fıfa ıs goodest game. and ım best fıfa player ın the vorld.

  2. Todor car

    October 15, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Neznam da instabil

  3. Nick

    September 18, 2015 at 6:06 am

    I thought the same thing this guy did until I turned the difficulty up. On higher levels of difficulty FIFA 16 starts to feel the way a football game should feel. Can’t compare it to PES since I haven’t played that in a few years, but FIFA 16 is big step forward for the game. I play on PC, and FIFA 15’s graphics were a big disappointment for me. Can’t say the same this year.

  4. Bonusbertie

    September 15, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    Good to see the fanboy species thriving on both sides. Children.

  5. Pedro Iaco

    September 15, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    Honestly, both games pretty much suck. Its not they arent good but they just don’t feel fresh anymore. Fifa is too stiff and PES feels it could be deeper. Miss WInning Eleven 7 times when we all had fun and that was it

  6. ruben

    September 15, 2015 at 8:45 am

    For real football/soccer fans, FIFA is more realistic than pes, the movements of the ball, the footwork, skills, crossing,etc
    pes is only better in faces, lighting (sometimes), positioning, but its no as real as fifa
    This from a real world fan and player
    Dont being fan in this comment
    Just real

    • John lemourx

      September 16, 2015 at 5:27 am

      You fool.

  7. Yuri Laurentino

    September 11, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    Well, i don’t know about you guys, but i played on legendary difficult and god…. it’s to damm hard, you must use all of your skills to create a chance (pass, lob, drible, control, vision) and there you can see how the game became more slow and skilled to play.
    Let’s see if versus another player, i can enjoy the true football like the legendary.

    ps: I’m Sorry for bad my bad english, i’m brazillian hahahah

  8. ANDY RAKE

    September 11, 2015 at 11:00 am

    All the people on here saying ‘its just a demo’ please take your head out of your asses! Its not a demo, its a small portion of pretty much the complete game.

    This game launches in October. Its takes a few months for production to burn the CD’s, package them and distribute them. So this is pretty much what the game is going to play like, its far too late now for EA to be making wholesale changes.

    Fact is, FIFA 16 is utter crap. The players are awful, clunky, move like robots and the whole gameplay hasn’t moved on in years. And yet people continue to buy it year in-year out, purely because ‘its FIFA’.

    If you play this then PES 2016 back to back you realise how slick PES is and how clunky FIFA16 is. I would avoid it like the plague.

    • Yuri Laurentino

      September 11, 2015 at 1:55 pm

      I really liked PES this year, he made such great game as a arcade game, like the old ones and i love it.
      But the lack of licensed teams is really a down for the game.

      But Become a legend and master league are 10×0 compare to fifa.

      ps: Sorry, i don’t know english too well (BR) hahaha

    • FIFA RULZ

      September 11, 2015 at 4:35 pm

      PES is garbage and apparently so is your life since you have done nothing but devote your time to this post.

    • Bonusbertie

      September 15, 2015 at 3:18 pm

      I find your comments lack any sort of maturity Andy.

  9. Muzzy

    September 11, 2015 at 4:58 am

    The sad reality is that PES 2016 gameplay is better than Fifa 16’s…Stop trying to point out stuff that don’t make sense, PES 2016 feels better and that’s it. Unbiased folks will tell you that PES 2016 is better. Not to say Fifa 16 is a bad game but PES 2016 is better.

  10. stevemovic

    September 10, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    I played with Madrid several times i didn’t hear isco name on the commentary its was the same thing on fifa 15 you only hear his name when he missed a goal i hope they fix that some of the more established players and promising young stars that people use in career mode name should be part of the commentary please EA get it done

  11. Ben

    September 10, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Did you play the beta? There were quite a few improvements and a lot of nice little tweaks IMO, and I don’t know that the demo will tell the complete story. Nor would I base my outlook for the game on the demo.

    • bama gooner

      September 10, 2015 at 6:21 pm

      “It’’s wonderful that EA Sports decided that women’s teams should be featured in FIFA 16”. Dude get real.. No one gives 2 Abby Wambach’s that women’s teams are in this game. Instead of adding 12 teams nobody cares and wasting space, they should have added teams or hey! How bout this.. Adding some awesome stadiums. King Abdulah? Yeah right, I’d rather play at an Indian Cricket pitch, thanks EA for trying to get Baghdad Bob to play, if it’s legal where he lives. Anyway, just had to call u out on the Womens Teams crap. Total garbage and your lying if u say “Wonderful”. I will say they did a great job slowing down the game. When I played closed Beta, Sterling wasn’t able to fly past everybody like I had 11 John Terry’s

      • Harry Cee

        September 11, 2015 at 7:59 am

        Hi…maybe you should try finishing the paragraph particularly “What can you do with 12 teams?” That was part of the point I was trying to make is that it’s great that they are included but it’s a tacked on feature that with the limitations set at 12 teams….there is really no place to go with it.

    • Harry Cee

      September 11, 2015 at 8:06 am

      2 points that actually dovetail into each other,

      1. The whole point of a demo is to try and give people an idea of what the final product may be like thus it’s a ‘try before you buy’ product.

      2. Demos are usually incomplete, still to be tweaked products.

      With that said, if you read my review, I am fully cognizant of the fact that this is a demo and I also made mention that some of what I didn’t like will hopefully be fixed by the game’s final release.

  12. JLBeight

    September 10, 2015 at 11:40 am

    just read this after playing the demo… im sorry but this version of FIFA has a chance to be the best since 2013 … the graphics are solid, sweaty goals from pacey strikers and over the head through balls may finally be cut out of the game…for real footy fans this is huge..overall reallylooking forward to FIFA16 cheers

    • ANDY RAKE

      September 11, 2015 at 11:06 am

      You obviously work for EA

      • Chucky

        September 19, 2015 at 8:34 am

        “You don’t have the same opinion as me, therefore the only possible explanation is you MUST work for EA…”

        You don’t value your own opinion much do you?! Jesus Christ!! How arrogant and opinionated can one person be!!!

        IT’S JUST TWO FOOTBALL GAMES, IN A FREE MARKET, GET OVER IT!!!

  13. Carlazzo

    September 10, 2015 at 9:34 am

    I have played both demos and I am not bothered which game I purchase, I am not someone that sticks to one game because I purchased it in the past, for me both have pros and cons but when it gets down to the knitty gritty then gameplay wins always and this year PES 2016 has won. Where FIFA 16 gets my attention is that they have all the licenses for each league, this is big if like me you wish to sit in your living room dreaming that you are in the teams you are playing and reliving a life not lived.
    This year however I am going for gameplay and I also think that PES has better player animations this year over FIFA which look good but not as detailed.
    There is also something in the way that the PES players move, their speed and fluidity appears more realistic for me.

    FIFA is great this year but PES is better, I know where my money is going licenses or not.

    • Jon Jimmy

      September 10, 2015 at 4:41 pm

      Are you sure you are playing the same game? FIFA gameplay is way more better than PES. I did played PES demo because this year graphics definitely looks great and way more better than FIFA but seriously gameplay is sucky. you can just slide and tackle your way to victory.
      FIFA improved alot with their gameplay with their no touch dribbling, improved tackling making it realistic and fun. FIFA 16 definitely is better than PES 16.

  14. Mox

    September 10, 2015 at 3:42 am

    I played fifa and pes demo already (pes demo more, because it came earlier), like each year.
    I am not a fifa or pes fanboy, i each year play demo and then decide.
    So this is my list from this year.

    Fifa:
    + Finally cdm at least stay more back (even if cm still always run forward), and players mark better (but still behind pes)
    + Interceptions are great like promised, i always try to close passing lines and this year i catch much more passes
    + game is less pacey and like David said the Jockey of defenders is now more fast
    + Shooting feels more realistic, not always the same
    + Crosses are more powerful (plus goalkeepers rush more out for crosses)
    + And lob passes over the defense are much harder now

    – Full back pull to much to the center now, which leaves a lot space at sides
    – marking from defenders is better, but still behind pes

    PES:
    + Much better dribbling, not so wooden anymore (but still behind fifa)
    + Much better passing, i was always annoyed, that i takes so long till the player passen after i press the button, finally this year it is much better
    + Great AI (marking is great and players try to close holes in defense), Fifa did here a step forward but is till behind pes

    – Interception is poor now in compare to fifa
    – passing and dribbling still dont reach fifa level

    And for graphic i dont care so much, it is more about gameplay for me. I think they are both solid.

    Overall i just like fifa better, like i said it plays more fluid, even less pacey than pes this year (even when i fear they increase again the speed for FUT). Plus the big advantage is still FUT.
    For me it was not so close in years, i think i will even buy me both game, first fifa and then later pes.

    • ANDY RAKE

      September 11, 2015 at 11:04 am

      Utter shjte!!! FIFA plays more fluid? you have got to be kidding me, how old are you? 10?

      FIFA is as clunky as f*ck! players turn like robots and tackles just get skipped. You can see its scripted to hell.
      Play PES again and feel the movement properly.

      • Chucky

        September 19, 2015 at 8:28 am

        Woah! Because someone likes a different game to you they are idiots and you feel the need to put them down. Grow up. Some people like PES, some like FIFA get over it. “Mum, he said my game was rubbish….” Did you not know there’s a free market out there where people can choose which games they like to own and play? If you want everything to be dictated and people to do as you say and like what you do, then move to North Korea and start climbing the ladder. Does it make you feel inferior when people don’t like the same game you do? Do you crave acceptance from others? You need to seriously get out more…

  15. David

    September 10, 2015 at 3:06 am

    I disagree with this review. I’m loving FIFA 16 based on my experience with the demo so far. Although not huge, the improvements in the graphics are nice. The player models are much better as well as the crowd. The pitch looks way more realistic. As time passes in the game, you see the pitch getting more worn. I like the new “swing step” feature added for defenders. The “swing step” feature allows you to quickly switch direction of your defender when your back is to the goal. I found this extremely useful in preventing gaps the attacking forward could run through. I also noticed the AI of the defenders has changed to where they mark way better and act more like a unit compared to FIFA 15. Slide tackles are way more realistic in FIFA 16. You can now stop a slide tackle and quickly get to your feet while defending. In FIFA 15, it was basically all or nothing with slide tackles. Crossing is much better now. The attacking player will actually run onto a cross when you place it ahead of him/her. Overall, I’m pretty happy with what I’ve seen so far in the new FIFA. I’m enjoying it a lot more than FIFA 15. September 22 can’t come soon enough.

    • ANDY RAKE

      September 11, 2015 at 11:02 am

      But none of the points you make are new! for crying out loud, things like ‘the pitch getting worn’ have been in games like Madden for years. You’re just never going to see how crap FIFA16 is because you’re brainwashed.

  16. prakash

    September 10, 2015 at 2:11 am

    I truly agree with u mate . Its the same as fifa 15 . its just dat its a bit tough to score goals now . u cant just dribble urself thru the opponent defenders . one touch dribble has been added . Its a gud thng if u knw how and wen to use it . I have seen PES gameplay and by the luk of it , i guess fifa needs to improve . But again , when it comes to PC , i dont think pes will outshine fifa because again we are gonna get a sh*tty game . We did nt even get a demo for it . So even though i dont want too , i will be bying FIfa unless the PC version of PES is awesm .

    • Shaun

      September 11, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      It’s not difficult to score goals at all, in the women’s game I played I was 0-1 down and had a player sent off, I comfortably won 4-1 with Germany, with City I scored hatrick in the first half with Raheem Sterling, not one fixture I have played yet I have scored less than 3, it’s easy to score goals in Fifa 16 and I am no veteran at the game, pass, pass, pass, goal, pass, pass, through pass, goal, though I did score a delightful lob with Raheem’s 3rd…

      Overall I cant compare it to the demo of PES16 as not played it, but the demo of Fifa 16 is a lot better than PES 15…

  17. Trentos Lord

    September 9, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    I hate to say it buddy, but you’re dumb.

    • ANDY RAKE

      September 11, 2015 at 11:00 am

      EA fanboy alert

    • Gary

      September 26, 2015 at 4:16 pm

      I have played every fifa there is.
      Im 34 and to be fair I actually can’t stand fifa 16 at the moment.
      To many passes going astray, selected player making wrong passes, meaning a pass to the nearest player is on and for some reason the cpu decides to pass to a totally different player.
      I’ve had 5 open goals with players blazing wide.
      Andy carol heading straight in to keepers arms etc.for me this year’s fifa has to be the one do far that have been the most frustrating frontier start..
      Not enjoying it all.

      • js

        September 26, 2015 at 9:43 pm

        agree , this years fifa is a big rubbish, controllers may be the same, but the way of playing is completely wrong i could not even catch an idea how to score a goal (which i did a lot of times), simply it is a waste of money this year, defenders may be better this year, but attack and quick passing is rubbish, for me it is big dissapointment

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