(It has come to our attention that, while being nothing short of an expert in the fields of gaming, writing about gaming, and photoshopping things on to other things, Michael here may not be completely au fait with the game commonly known as football - or to you Americans, “soccer” - Ed)
The kick-the-ball yearly staple returns with hundreds of sprites doing ball kicking, and when this ball goes between two posts at either end of the green field, there is celebration.
The speaking men who speak over the festival of balls will say encouraging and discouraging words, some of which are tinged with sadness, some deeply imbued with wisdom; all of them seemingly specifically unrelated to the actions currently taking place on the screen.
Kick-balling is good, and wow it looks really real, but what’s unreal is the ability to do a run from the start-siren of the performance all the way to the goal mouth and place your ball inside with little or no opposition from AI. The football men all have statistics and characteristics granted by the gods though so it is real and true apparently.
Well, EA Sports, it turns out it ISN’T in the game because, on the PlayStation 4, there is much sadness when playing Kickball 15 online due to lag and stutter which can make all of your strategic manoeuvres towards valuable points virtually poo. This can sometimes give you a wee fright and alter the important outcome of your online fights, but you can use it as an excuse.
Aside from minute but initially unsettling nuances of change (notably Finesse shots), FIFA The 15th remains, vitally, a very good game of soccering. All of your favourite game modes are back too, like Career and the other ones. You can create your own grotesque nightmare of a human and take him right to the very top of his business stratagem in Career Mode. In between game-bouts in Career Mode, there is training to hone your booting skills, like how to curl one right off around a guard into a gaping maw. Well done, Career Mode.
Still, the boys (and there are many many boys to choose from) all have fantastic costumes that match the fantastic team uniforms that they have in real life. There are reds and blues and all of the gangs that exist in real life also exist here, so if you have a favourite gang, you can choose that gang to play as that gang.
In the end, FIFA Two Thousand and Fifteen edition is solid and expectedly packed with enough stuff for you and your friends to shout at each other about on your internet. The slick evolutions of the engine don’t necessarily merit a new release, but FIFA 15 is still very brill. However, there is a creeping sense of existential dread in the faces of each of the football men that will stick with you like a fucking Stanley Kubrick film. Also, there’s nothing a lot different from FIFA Number 14. This existential dread echoes the feelings of reviewing a title like this because it is the same every year, and yet you will buy it, rendering this review totally pointless.
As always, EA punch a hole into the thin fabric of sense by convincing people to pay up to sixty bangers for a game that remains virtually unchanged from its immediate predecessor, but we do it and we like it and we don’t say shit about it; every year. Help. Help us oh god please somebody. Thank you, comrade Stalin, for our happy childhood. Excellent out of ten.
(note to EA: fix the lag)
FIFA 15 is available now for PS4, PS3, PSV, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC, 3DS, Wii