FIFA 16 PS4 Review: Sing when you’re winning

You oftentimes don’t reap what you sow. You can meticulously build towards the sort of all-inclusive team goal, the likes of which would make Ajax legend Rinus Michels blush with glee all to be undone by a moment of measured brilliance out of nowhere — à la Zinedine Zidane’s left-footed volley against Bayer Leverkusen to seal a Champions League triumph back in 2002.

It may feel unfair, and at times downright unjust, but that’s what makes the sport the most beloved throughout the world; that level of fervor and unpredictability Fifa 16 coins. Until now, EA Sports Canada’s attempts at replicating The Beautiful Game have ranged between incredibly competent realizations all the way down to inconsequential in the face of Pro Evolution Soccer’s past dominance. It’s been an up and down ride, but make no mistake, this year’s iteration brings with it one of the most pronounced gameplay upheavals in recent memory.

With the potential to construct a play like that of the Egyptian pyramids only to have it crumble in disarray like a game of Jenga, the FIFA 16 experience now better encapsulates the moment-to-moment susceptibility housed within football; the risk/reward mantra that’s so ingrained in the very fundamentals of the sport. For once, it finally feels as though there are separate phases of attack and everything just feels a lot more reactionary and purposeful. The passing, for instance, has been revamped and doesn’t feel nearly as choreographed as previous years where it sometimes felt as though the game had devolved into a bout of pinball.

This time around passing can regularly be too short with the propensity to be miscontrolled, which can subsequently drag players out of their respective positions leading to more avenues to explore enroute to that elusive goal. It’s a far more dynamic, and frankly realistic, way of depicting the sport and treads the line much closer to Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer than ever before.

FIFA 16

Despite the evident admittance of its influence, it’s also particularly commendable that EA Sports has sought to rectify the midfield shortcomings of yonder. As noted extensively in our review of FIFA 15, the middle area of the pitch was always void of any real contestation, never the place where games could be taken by the scruff of the neck or seemed to have any real effect on the overall procession of play.

Now, however, the general gameplay manages to mostly capture that balance of allowing you the sort of malleable room to really work towards a pattern of play and not be let down by a flimsy mechanic or one of those tried-and-tested balls over the top. It’s a refreshing change, and while not perfect – EA Sports’ post-demo tinkering being one of the culprits – it means that every match plays out in a more distinct and individual way. And unlike years before, playing the computer never feels too formulaic or monotonous either – a testament to the effort leveled towards arguably the most important aspect of the game.

The level of unpredictability brought about by the aforementioned variety in passing responses is an example of a much-needed injection of dynamism into proceedings and is in stark contrast to the days where matches of FIFA – be it on Ultimate Team or Online Seasons – would devolve into a series of preconceived tropes and repetitive actions of abuse. It’s taken far too long but gone are the days where pace-afflicted speedsters would induce tremors within the legs of defenders with a mere sleight of foot or turn in any general direction.

You’ve now got to rely on a lot more cunning and anticipation to outgun a defender and the experience is all the better for it. Though still not perfect by any means – with collision detection, input lag, and the odd passing placement still suspect to a point – players now have to rely on diminutive movement rather than full-speed-ahead pace to get the better of an opposite number. It also makes you more appreciative of being able to read situations and react to certain stimuli as patterns emerge and it feels far more fulfilling to succeed as a result.

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FIFA 16 Scores Big With 12 Women’s Teams

While the next FIFA World Cup isn’t for another two years, many soccer fanatics will be assuaged by the release of EA Sports’ FIFA 16.

As FIFA announced yesterday, FIFA 16 is selling well in North America since its release on Tuesday. Two new concepts are a big part of FIFA 16‘s initial success: no-touch dribbling and 12 women’s national team rosters. The winner of the E3 2015 Game Critics Best Sports Game, another new feature in FIFA 16 helps those who are unfamiliar with the series that has been around since 1993, first appearing on the Sega Master System: a FIFA trainer, designed to help players of all skill levels.

Ever since winning the 2015 Women’s World Cup, women’s soccer in America (and all women’s sports, really) have seen unprecedented popularity. FIFA 16 recognizes this and is capitalizing on it by featuring the reigning World Cup champions, as well as popular squads from Germany, Canada, and England, among others.

FIFA 16

But as Fox News points out, FIFA 16 is putting a big emphasis on the women’s squads, despite the fact that they only account for 12 of the 650-plus playable teams on the recent EA Sports release. The U.S. releases, for example, will feature Alex Morgan alongside Lionel Messi on the FIFA 16 cover. The Canadian and Australian releases for FIFA 16 included their respective women’s national team captains in place of Morgan. Japan, who the U.S. defeated in the World Cup finals, was left out.

For the gamers who aren’t especially impressed with the ability to play as a female — last year’s male-teams-only FIFA resulted in over 13 billion hours of online play — the gameplay has improved with Fifa 16 coins. The feature causing the most buzz is the “no-touch dribbling” available for the first time in FIFA 16. As Matt Lawless for Mail Online described, the no touch dribbling “allows you to free yourself from the ball” so that you can “buy time and feint past your defender.” The additional time given to players to create some separation and set up some skill moves are major bonuses for long-time FIFA players.

There is one other thing that serious gamers are excited for — the 2016 FIFA Interactive World Cup.

Along with FIFA 16, the FAQ at FIFA.com elaborates on what Guinness World Records: Gamers Edition has officially declared as the largest gaming tournament in the world. Giving someone the unofficial rights to the title of virtual soccer world champion, the online qualifying matches begin October 1. Involving three seasons and resulting in 31 tournament entrants, the FIFA 16 qualifiers end on January 1, 2016.

FIFA 16 Is Available Across the World

Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) today announced that EA SPORTS™ FIFA 16, winner of the E3 2015 Game Critics Best Sports Game award, is now available in retail stores and as a digital download* worldwide. FIFA 16 has been described by Digital Spy (UK) as, “an impressive beast of a game that’s stuffed with official leagues and licenses, game modes and other little touches that add flavor to the match day experience,” and hailed by EGM (USA) as, “an unparalleled soccer simulation that improves upon FIFA 15 in every aspect.” With gameplay innovation across the entire pitch and brand new ways to play, FIFA 16 lets fans Play Beautiful.

“It has been incredible to see the number of fans already engaging in and enjoying FIFA 16 through EA Access and our preseason demo,” said Nick Channon, Senior Producer of EA SPORTS FIFA. “We are very excited with the early feedback, particularly on the balanced gameplay, and now that the game is launching across the globe, we shift our focus to providing the best live service in the industry.”

A record 6.4 million fans have downloaded the FIFA 16 demo in the ten days since it became available. Fans playing the full version of FIFA 16 through the Play First Trials on EA Access**, only on Xbox One the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, were excited to try the newly added Women’s National Teams, with the United States Women’s National Team ranking in the top ten most selected clubs or national teams. FIFA Ultimate Team™ Draft, a brand new way to play the franchise’s most popular mode, has also been a fan favorite, with more than 13 million matches played throughout the demo and EA Access combined.

FIFA 16

FIFA 16 delivers a balanced, authentic, and exciting football experience that lets fans play their way, and compete on your Fifa 16 account. With innovative gameplay features, FIFA 16 brings Confidence in Defending, Control in the Midfield, and gives players the tools to create more Moments of Magic than ever before. FIFA Ultimate Team, the game’s most popular mode, introduces FIFA Ultimate Team Draft, a brand new way for fans to test their team building skills and compete with some of the best football players in the world. And this season, Career Mode adds two features most requested by fans: Pre-season Tournaments and Player Training that ensure an even deeper and more authentic career whether fans play as a manager or a pro.

FIFA 16 is developed in Burnaby, British Columbia by EA Canada and is available now on Origin™ for PC, Xbox One, PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360® games and entertainment system and PlayStation®3 entertainment system.

EA SPORTS is one of the leading sports entertainment brands in the world, with top-selling videogame franchises, award-winning interactive technology, fan programs and cross-platform digital experiences. EA SPORTS creates connected experiences that ignite the emotion of sports through videogames, including Madden NFL football, EA SPORTS™ FIFA, NHL® hockey, NBA LIVE basketball, Rory McIlroy PGA TOUR® golf, SSX™ and EA SPORTS UFC®.

FIFA 16 Women Team: Moving over Messi

For the first time ever, female gamers can now see themselves as soccer players in the best-selling global soccer (or “football,” for those outside the U.S.) “FIFA” franchise published by the EA Sports division of Electronic Arts. “FIFA ’16” goes on sale today for PC, PlayStation 3 and 4, as well as Xbox One and 360.

Women are now “in the game,” declares the trademark tagline for “FIFA’s” publisher EA Sports, a division of Electronic Arts. This inclusion is recognition not just of the women’s game but also the growing influence of women in gaming and the marketplace.

“I think it is amazing that women are now being recognized as true footballers and our inclusion in the game is the perfect example of the progress we continue to buy Fifa 16 coins,” U.S. National Team striker Abby Wambach told FoxNews.com.

Wambach has helped lead the team for more than a decade, finally winning the World Cup in her fourth appearance to go with two OIympic Gold Medals. She’s scored more goals in international matches than anyone in history — female or male.

And women are not only in the game, they’ve scored space on the cover. Forward Alex Morgan graces game packaging in the U.S. alongside Argentina superstar Lionel Messi who plays for FC Barcelona.

“It is such an honor to be on the cover of “FIFA ’16” but most importantly, we continue to take significant strides for female athletes and I am happy that EA has led the way,” Morgan wrote in an email to FoxNews.com.

Canadian National Team Captain Christine Sinclair and Australia’s Stephanie Catley are substituted for Morgan on the cover in their respective home markets.

And it’s not just athletes who are taking notice. Nearly half of video game players in the U.S. are women, but critics say they are grossly underrepresented — and misrepresented — by the industry. For instance, men are cast as heroes and women are frequently either objects of desire or damsels in distress in the video game world. It also follows last year’s Gamergate, which drove some female developers out of an industry some observers say is rife with sexism.

While “FIFA” alone may not change these attitudes, it will introduce positive female role models for all players.

Alaina Percival, CEO of Women Who Code, a non-profit that aims to encourage females to enter the male-dominated tech sector, told FoxNews.com that the virtual soccer images can have a greater impact than just girls playing out soccer dreams onscreen.

FIFA 16

“A large percentage of the male engineers I’ve met have said they got into coding by playing video games, so hopefully this will be a step in the right direction to getting young women and girls inspired to pursue careers in software engineering,” she said.

Stephanie Barnier, a wealth advisor for The Wealth Consulting Group, was a prolific goal scorer at the University of San Diego and said that the “FIFA” game should appeal to both sexes.

“Nowadays, it’s a ‘we’ thing for the US women’s team, they are stronger than ever before and women can play soccer like women. I think you’ll find most women — and a whole heck of a lot of men — find that very desirable,” Barnier told FoxNews.com.

World Cup Golden Ball winner Carli Lloyd added that the game may also motivate girls in the real world.

“I think it is so important for young girls to be able to play as women’s teams in FIFA ‘16. This will give them hope that they too can be on a video game one day and they can play FIFA using the team they love,” Lloyd told FoxNews.com.

As for “FIFA’s” game play, it compares well to this year’s updated men’s version and captures the personalities and body movements of the players. Morgan and Wambach were among the U.S. national team players that wore motion-capture suits to have their moves on the ball and off as well as signature celebrations copied to lend an air of authenticity to the software.

12 women’s national teams including the World Cup Champion USA, Germany, and Canada are in the inaugural women’s game, along with dozens of men’s squads, leagues, and the hugely popular, custom FIFA Ultimate Team mode.

“FIFA ‘16” is missing some women’s national teams, notably rival Japan, which the U.S. defeated in this year’s final, getting a measure of revenge for the heart-wrenching penalty kick loss to the Japanese in 2011.

Analysts say games aimed only at girls have historically failed, but the times — and the demographics — are a-changing. Consider females slightly outnumber men in the US, they make up about half of youth soccer players, and also account for nearly half of all gamers.

Plus, given the Women’s World Cup was the most-watched soccer match ever in the U.S,, EA Sports may see increased demand for this game.

“I’m not sure if it’ll have an immediate impact, but over time, it is inevitable that more people will be attracted to the game if it allows people to simulate both men’s and women’s soccer,” Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter told FoxNews.com.

Lloyd, who scored a hat trick in the first 16 minutes of the finals to stake the U.S. to an insurmountable lead, said “there are so many young girls who play soccer and will be begging their parents to buy the game for them. I do think sales will increase.”

FIFA 16: Xbox One Hardware Bundle

Microsoft has released a new FIFA 16-themed Xbox One hardware bundle that includes a year’s subscription to Electronic Arts’ gaming service EA Access.

The package also includes a 1TB hard drive, a chat headset, and digital codes redeemable for three Xbox-exclusive FIFA Ultimate Team Loan Legends.

The bundle is the first of its kind to include a membership to EA Access with Fifa coins, a recently launched subscription program for the Xbox One that gives members access to free downloadable games and exclusive discounts.

Currently, EA Access members can download and play free Xbox One versions of EA-published games like Dragon Age: Inquisition, Peggle 2, and Need for Speed Rivals. Online shooters are a particular focus for the program, as subscribers additionally receive free access to Battlefield 4, Titanfall, and Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare.

FIFA 16

Several legacy sports games are also part of the package, including Madden NFL 15, FIFA 15, NHL 15, EA Sports UFC, NBA Live 15, FIFA 14, and Madden NFL 25. Launched in 2014, EA Access offers membership packages priced at $5 monthly. A year-long subscription is available for $30.

In addition to its slate of free games, EA Access also gives subscribers an early look at upcoming games days or weeks before they’re officially released. Downloadable versions of early-access games can be played for free up until their retail launch, after which EA Access members can buy them at a discount and resume their progress immediately.

EA Access also gives an instant 10-percent discount on all Electronic Arts-published content in the Xbox One Games Store, including pre-orders, expansion packs, and DLC.

The Xbox One FIFA 16 hardware bundle is available for $400 from the Microsoft Store, where it includes a bonus Xbox One digital copy of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Unity free of charge. The full bundle, minus Assassin’s Creed Unity, is also available at Amazon.

FIFA 16: Three Important Things

We all have ways we like to play a game, particularly if it’s a sports title with which we’re super familiar. But whether you’re a long-time FIFA player or looking for your first turn with the franchise, there are some things in FIFA 16 I highly recommend you check out.

The game is naturally packed to the gills with things new and old that are worth experiencing, from this year’s inclusion of Women’s national teams and training in career mode, to Ultimate Team and Online Seasons. A trio of things stand out, however, as elements I suggest you go out of your way to investigate.

NO TOUCH FEINTS

This is a new control this year that lets you move your player and maintain possession of the ball without touching or dribbling Fifa coins. It’s not something I use in all situations, but I really like it when I do. Because the player’s body movements are divorced from the ball itself, it’s useful for making quick little fake movements or stepovers.

These kinds of skill moves are still available through the right analog stick like in past years, but this new control is a quicker move to make a little shimmy that is not only easier to pull off (simply hold down LB/L1 and move the left analog) but the animations are less involved than a potentially wasteful skill move. I personally avoid skill moves the vast majority of the time because of these reasons, and this new control gives me more moves in my bag of tricks without having to worry whether I or the player on the screen can pull them off.

You can also use this command to manually move the player around to shield the ball from opponents and face teammates before you pass without having to take extra steps to turn and dribble with the ball.

EMBRACE THE CHALLENGE

I was pleasantly surprised that I had to change up my normal tactics while playing FIFA 16 – not drastically, but I had to better plan how I was going to get through the midfield. I encourage you to try new things when playing the game to get better and unlock the middle of the field. I played with my formations and lineup, used different d-pad strategies at times, and tried to approach situations in new ways.

FIFA 16

The game will restrict you to the sides of the field when you’re on the attack, so I had to work harder to make things work by cutting in and trying to decipher when a through ball was needed on the edge of the box versus a regular pass, as well as when I could do a give-and-go. This isn’t new for FIFA, but I found I had to be more cognizant this year of how I was building up play. So far I’m scoring a lot less than I have last year, and I’m just starting to figure out how to find my scoring touch.

On defense, I actually got in the habit of controlling a defender off the ball while using the teammate pressure command. Although I wish it was more aggressive, I used this command while I controlled a player specifically to try and cut out passes and anticipate my opponent’s runs. I started doing this because I found that I was getting beat in a lot of one-on-one situations by the A.I., so this was the best way to prevent getting burned while still playing some good defense.

FUT DRAFT

The entry fee for this variation of Ultimate Team might be a little steep at 15,000 coins (your first play is free), but I suggest you give it more than a try. The rewards even for losing your first match are good in that you’ll get multiple packs with some decent players to aid your regular FUT squad (or you can sell them), and the challenge of putting together a good lineup is fun.

Although you can pick the order of the positions you draft for in your starting 11, you never know which way the dominos are going to fall. Chemistry is still important for all the spots, so although you may be satisfied with how your LB and CB link together, you just hope that it’s not at the expense of whomever you draft later at LM. Similarly, the subs you draft can change your entire philosophy if someone good drops in your lap and you want to put them in your starting lineup. Even from the get-go you have to pick a formation (which you can’t change), forcing you to make crucial decisions from the start.

This may all sound too restricting, but I liked having to make some compromises and even try and field a team that I knew had chemistry issues, although it had its strengths at the same time.

Man City star David Silva set to join FIFA 16

FIFA 16

Developers EA Sports have warned gamers that they should never underestimate a playmaker, they might not be putting the ball in the back of the net, but the best ones are able to find the open teammate and change the complexion of a match.

Fans have had the chance to try out the new No Touch Dribbling techniques added to the game, which aim to free you from the ball to buy time, create separation, give time to set up a feint or skill move to help pass a defender.

It’s been available in the FIFA 16 Demo launch earlier this month, alongside the the new FIFA Trainer with Fifa 16 coins, an updated tool for FIFA 16 that EA Sports hopes will help you reach your potential on the pitch.

Basic commands get you started while deeper hints will improve the game of the most skilled player.

And for those wanting to know where they can pick up the best passers in the game, FIFa devs have put together a top ten shortlist you can check out below.