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October 5 2015
FIFA 16 - PS4 Review
Release Distributer Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
9/7/2015EA GamesEA SportsEA Canada1-42-?
Version HDD Install Resolution Touchpad PS4 Exclusive OFLC Rating

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FIFA 16's players and animations are stunning.
Football. Soccer. The Beautiful Game. Whatever you call it, this is the world’s largest sport and with billions of people following and playing the game around the globe it's not surprising that any video game release is sure to generate much interest. For years EA's FIFA franchise has battled with Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer but while each has its fans EA's title has the official FIFA license, as well as access to the Premier League and Bundesliga among others. It has actually been a few years since we've reviewed a FIFA title, so were keen to see what EA had to offer with their PS4 iteration of FIFA 16.

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Real Madrid take to the pitch..
As expected there is no storyline in this game - it's a sport after all - but there are plenty of game modes to sink your time into including a Career Mode, Skill Games, Tournaments, Women's International Cup, and of course one of the biggest features, Ultimate Team.

As with any game, sport or otherwise, the most important aspect is how it plays and on that front we've had an absolute blast with this game which hits a fine balance between attack and defense with neither feeling too overpowered. Fortunately newcomers to the franchise can use a Training mode to learn how to dribble, pass, defend and shoot before hitting the pitch in real matches.

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Women’s football makes it into EA's FIFA franchise for the first time.
One of the biggest additions to FIFA 16 is that of female soccer teams and it's a great step following the huge success of the Women's FIFA World Cup which was in Canada this year. Unfortunately the extent of these female soccer teams is 12 international teams including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Sweden, and the United States. There is no way to create a team with female players, no female leagues, and even the female international teams aren’t those that played in this year’s World Cup Round of 16 - so you can't even replicate that tournament. At least the developers have scanned the bodies and motion captured actual players from the American team so wasn't just generic female bodies mapped to the male animations.

Interestingly, at the time of this review, only 16% of gamers have actually completed a match using female players - perhaps that's a sign that it's only a very small element of this pretty massive title. Hopefully future iterations of the game will see female football expanded as their inclusion is superb, but just much less than we expected. It's also interesting to note that, as we understand it, Australia is the only territory to feature a female soccer player on the cover of FIFA 16 - that being Steph Catley - so congratulations are in order for her, and the Australian Electronic Arts team.

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Liverpool vs Manchester City in FIFA 16.
As expected multiplayer is a large component of this title and is generally a very slick experience with little lag when each gamer has a decent internet connection. Having said that, despite the fact that there were over 10,000 people online when we were playing, getting a match was often time consuming even when we were willing to play people beyond our teams capabilities. Still, you won't have this problem if you have friends with the game, and this, as expected, provides the most entertainment. When it comes to online modes there is plenty on offer including Seasons, Co-Op Seasons, Online Friendlies and Pro Teams so gamers are well catered for.

There isn't too much to complain about with this release as it's a fun game online however if we are to nitpick our biggest issue would be the menu system which is at times confusing and changes according to what leagues you are playing and what teams you have. We see what EA have tried to do here by putting the modes you've been playing front and center, but, sometimes we just like a list of the modes. Another minor niggle is that as it has been a few years since we played the game the Ultimate Team, with all the players, and trades, and upgrades, can become a bit overwhelming. We're sure with time we'll understand it better, but youngsters and newcomers may get lost.

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The 78 stadiums in FIFA 16 look wonderful.
It's clear this is going to be a great looking game when you get into the menus which just look fantastic, but that doesn't mean much if it doesn't impress on the field, and on that count it also hits the right notes with some wonderful, slick animation from the players as the move, run, slide, and dive around the pitch. EA's Ignite engine is now a few years old having first appeared in FIFA 14 and it's a very solid engine that makes this one of the most realistic sports games ever with thousands of animations. These aren't limited to player movement, but also individual moves for star players, and even nice touches such as second balls being removed from the pitch during player, cameramen on the sideline, animated crowds and of course a wide range of player celebrations when goals are scored.

We still noticed occasional issues - primarily in heavy tackles when a player is given a card some of the collisions are slightly inaccurate (players don't quite touch but the effect is still seen) - but there is also some occasionally awkward moves with players sort of shuffling across towards distant opponents instead or running normally to them. Still, these are pretty minor niggles in an otherwise impressive game visually.

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FIFA 16 is a fantastic soccer game.
As expected the audio in this game is top notch with realistic crowds that react as one would expect from a real world game of soccer - they cheer, they go quiet, they boo. While the commentary is generally very solid, we did notice some issues and errors at times (of course, real-world commentators can also make mistakes), but when we scored a goal to go 2-1 up and the commentator says "with that goal they take a 1-nil lead". On another occasion we heard a "you don't get a more obvious offside then that" when my player was perhaps a few centimeters offside. Just little inaccuracies that remind you you're playing a game.

FIFA 16 is a cracker soccer (or football) title which provides tight gameplay, plenty of game modes, a slick online experience and a level of polish rarely seen in sports games although we're sure some football fans will equally argue the merits of Konami's impressive Pro Evolution Soccer 2016. While we can't compare this game to other PS4 FIFA titles, nor Konami's release this year, as a casual fan we were more than impressed with this release from Electronic Arts which should suit gamers of all ages and skillsets. Highly recommended.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSImpressive, smooth animation impresses, stadiums look great, and it's slickly presented.
SOUNDGenerally great crowd noises and commentary although occasional inaccuracies.
GAMEPLAYWe haven't played FIFA for a couple of years, but this is slick, fun and accessible for gamers of all skill levels.
VALUEPlenty of game modes, female teams are included, but we would love some more variety - indoor soccer, beach soccer. Still, you'll be hooked.
OVERALLFIFA 16 is a slick beast that provides plenty of thrills for soccer fans and comes highly recommended.

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