EA Sports is raising the bar for its flagship FIFA soccer series once again. Creative director Simon Humber and art director Mike Day focused on giving this release a more televised, realistic feel – and seeing what they’ve come up with is downright awesome.
Developed by EA Canada on the Ignite engine (PC, PS4, Xbox One) and the Impact engine (PS3, Xbox 360), FIFA 15 will feature a dynamic new “emotional intelligence” system that emulates players’ realistic reactions to in-game situations; if a player misses a key slide tackle or an easy chip-in shot, all twenty-two players on the field will react. Over six hundred different emotional reactions can be triggered, involving facial expressions and body language, all based on a given player’s attitude toward teammates or opponents.
Let’s say a player misses a crucial penalty kick – his teammates will then come up to him and offer support. If rival teams are pitted against each other, they’ll be noticeably more aggressive, even exchanging insults. Helping craft those realistic moments further through sound were audio leads Tyler Berrie and Jeff Macpherson.
Not only does FIFA 15 strive to simulate emotional authenticity, it also brings the game to life with vivid, photorealistic graphics. A new lighting engine based on the one used in Battlefield 4 allows for global illumination from a single artificial sun source, giving the game a bright, vibrant polish. The physics of the game are truly incredible, complete with visible breathing and hair movement, and contribute to the lifelike feel EA intended.
The stadium environment will react to in-game actions, with slide tackles wearing down the turf as the match progresses and corner flags swaying in the wind if hit. Character movements are even more fluid and logical – if a player is hit or shoved while running at full speed, the momentum of their fall will match their velocity, causing some to fly through the air.
The game hit shelves on September 23, 2014, and is available for PS4, PS3, Xbox One, and PC. Versions for Wii, 3DS, and Vita are coming soon. Our verdict is that FIFA 15 will fill the post-World Cup void that soccer fans are sure to be feeling.