Outside of changes to core systems there are some bigger innovations, like FIFA Trainer and the introduction of Women’s Teams, which will make this the most accessible entry in the series to date.
Here’s a run down of the most prominent changes we’ve seen so far…
1. Defenders Aren’t Chumps
Most people equate excitement in football with offensive play. FIFA 15 probably gave too much of an advantage to its wingers and strikers who, blessed with pace, were able to get by its more static and lumbering defenders. When defending in FIFA, the default tactic is to track a player and apply pressure, limiting the passing options of the player in possession. But while tracking, defenders weren’t as nimble or as reactive as their real-life counterparts. FIFA 16 adds more animations, which enables defenders to pivot while tracking a run, allowing them to keep within touching distance of more skilful players for longer. If you commit to a tackle, the recovery time is much shorter – press tackle again, and the defender will get back to their feet. It means tackling is no longer an all-or-nothing dilemma.
2. Your Team Has Your Back
The team works much better as defensive unit, with players in support maintaining their shape and adapting in response to the attack team. It’s as if the centre-back now has the ability to communicate to those around them, shouting at team-mates to track a run or maintain their shape when under pressure.
3. Quality Tackle!
For as long as I can remember there’s been two types of tackle in FIFA: the subtle one, where you stick a leg out and hope to retrieve the ball, and the slide tackle, where’s it all or nothing. FIFA 16 let’s you tackle in the air when a loose ball is falling. You can perform a ‘fake’ tackle, which can be used to lure attackers into committing early. It’s the defensive equivalent of a step-over.
4. Players Better at Intercepting
Players across the pitch have much more awareness of the ball as it travels through space, and if it’s within reaching distance they will stick out a foot to trap an errant pass and steal back possession. It all means the midfield – the key creative area of a game – isn’t so easily bypassed anymore. Games can still be end-to-end affairs, but it’s one of the small changes that definitely gives renewed focus to midfield play.
5. Fancy Finishing
A lot of the changes above benefit midfield and defence, but attack isn’t neglected with a range of new finishing animations. There are multiple types of header which again makes crossing a more attractive and exciting strategy. But the new volley animations are particularly satisfying and attractive. Striking a ball sweetly as it falls out of the air is one of the most exciting things you can see in a game of football, and FIFA 16 now has something which comes close to that experience.
6. Women’s Teams
FIFA 16’s announcement led with news 12 international women’s teams would be included for the first time in the series. Obviously, it’s about time, and it’s something t