build a youth scouting network to keep your team’s pipeline strong

This is my first FIFA 15 coins game on the new generation of consoles. I played FIFA 10-14 heavily on Xbox 360 before deciding to make the jump to PS4. I got the game at midnight release on Monday and have played enough matches since then to have a decent opinion on it.
GAMEPLAY – My biggest problem with FIFA 15 was the insanely overpowered headers. Crosses were pinpoint accurate even when you were shoving the passer out of bounds towards the corner and defenders almost never challenged for the ball, making it way too easy for anyone to score just by getting the ball to the wing and pressing the lob button. And let’s not forget corners. They were so easy to score in FIFA 14 that I felt like I had conceded a penalty every time my opponent won a corner. I’m happy to report that crosses and corners have both been toned down to a much more realistic level in FIFA 14. Spamming crosses won’t be very effective this year, meaning all the people who relied on that will have to actually learn how to play. That’s a big positive in my book.
Another area where I had some issues with FIFA 15 coins was the sluggish feel of the dribbling and running. I eventually got used to it after playing a lot of matches, but the game felt slow in comparison to FIFA 11-13. They made a conscious effort to improve that this year and I think you can feel it when you play the game. Fast players actually feel fast. Movement is generally responsive. It almost feels like you’re gliding at times, but I’m still in the process of adjusting to the console/game switch. My early sense is that I like the physics and control a little more than last year’s game. On the downside, I’ve found that players can take just a little too long to release the ball when I press pass, but that could also just be part of my learning process with the new game.
Shooting feels quite a bit different this year. It’s going to take me 50+ games before I really have a fine sense for which shots consistently work in which situations, but for now I can definitely say that it has a different feel compared with the last FIFA. I’ve already hit some amazing longshots with ordinary players. Finesse shots in the box still seem to work pretty well. Goalies still seem too good at making reflex saves when in close proximity with the attacker. Near post power shots are a lot more effective however. EA emphasized the new goalkeeping mechanics in their ad campaign and you can definitely see where they’re going with it. Goalkeeping feels more organic and less robotic, creating more unique situations and goals. Sometimes keepers will make ridiculous saves and other times they will spill the ball or get beaten by pretty soft shots. I think this is a step in the right direction, as it’s an attempt to make the game feel more like real life, where goalies aren’t going to make the exact same reactions in the exact same situation every time like they did in past FIFA games. Expect a little bit of frustration at times when your goalie gets beaten though.
I mostly play online, so I don’t have a great sense for the single player experience, but I did complete several single player online matches in Ultimate Team and my sense is that the AI is more organic and challenging this year. I did not like the way that the CPU effortlessly held the ball with unrealistic anticipation and control last season, always knowing exactly when to turn away to avoid your defenders. I honestly haven’t played enough against the higher difficulties this year to know if that’s still going to be a big problem, but my early sense is that the single player experience will be more enjoyable.
On a small note, I have to give the developers credit for making adjustments to some of the finer points in the gameplay. For example, throw-ins have been problematic in recent years because your runners don’t run. They just stand still, making it very easy for the defense to pick them up and intercept your throw. This year when you get a throw-in, you can toggle between the thrower and the runners, allowing you to take control of the runners and create space for them before you toss it to them. This is a small thing, but a very nice little addition.
GAME MODES – All of the major game modes have returned from FIFA 14. You can play online seasons, co-op seasons, career mode as a player or manager, pro clubs, skill games, kick-off matches, and Ultimate Team.
Pro clubs and virtual pro drop-in matches look almost identical to what they were last year. You can still create a virtual pro for online use in these game modes and gradually build up his stats by completing various accomplishments, such as winning 10 headers or creating 10 goals from corners. Pro clubs, which allows you and your friends to play online matches with your virtual pros and work your way up the divisions ladder, should still be a lot of fun. Unfortunately, there’s still a 5v5 limit for virtual pro drop-in matches and there’s still no any allowed, which I think really hurts that game mode compared with FIFA 10-13.
I didn’t play much career mode last year, but I went in and messed around with it in FIFA 15 just to get a feel for the features. My sense is that it hasn’t changed radically from last year, so whatever you felt about it then will probably still apply. The manager mode is kind of like a watered-down football manager where you can sign players, sell players, send scouts across the globe to find talent, and build a youth scouting network to keep your team’s pipeline strong. There’s also the option to have a player career, where you control one player over the course of his season and must impress the manager and perform well to stay in the lineup.

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