Out of all the games EA Sports produces, FIFA has stood as the reliable constant. Where the other series' have gone through their own spots of turbulence, year after year FIFA hasn't skipped a beat, even if the game has adopted the policy of "if it's not broken, don't fix it."
With FIFA 16, EA Canada takes a considerable chance with implementing new ideas and features in the game, tweaking and refining gameplay across the pitch.
EA says it translated and read every FIFA 15 review in an effort to get feedback on what improvements users wanted in FIFA 16. The game's producers boiled all that feedback down, let it stew for while, and ended up with three buckets of enhancements: More depth in existing game modes, balanced gameplay with new mechanics that offer more precise, fluid control on both offense and defense and deeper and more authentic presentation.
At the top level -- and the biggest change in at least one of our households (David's) -- is the addition of the Women's National teams and World Cup-like tournament mode. From David: "For the first time my two daughters (age 6 and 11) took an interest in playing the game and insisted they get to play it first before their brothers (age 6 and 9), who are young FIFA junkies."
The girls were a little disappointed they couldn't select Women's teams and play them in an offline exhibition mode (you can play online friendly matches) or against a male team. They also wanted to be able to mix the players up, making a co-ed Ultimate Team, so to speak.
But they were certainly impressed by how closely the virtual women resembled their real-life counterparts and EA's done a particularly good job with the players' hair as pony tails bob up and down quite realistically, as does the fabric on players' jerseys (this applies to both men and women).
"How do they do that, Daddy?" the girls asked.
"A lot of lines of really good code from great programmers," I said.
That went over their heads a bit, so I just said, "Magic."
More casual FIFA players are less apt to notice some of the refinements on the field, but they are noticeable, as is the overall presentation of the game, from the fans in the stands to the new weather conditions (haze, fog, variable rain and snow flurries) and commentary.
Like NHL 16, FIFA 16 has received the option for an adaptive onscreen trainer to help teach and improve player's tactics as the progress through the game. FIFA's controls (perhaps the more advanced maneuvers) have always remained somewhat of a mystery to some, which is why the game's trainer is such a welcome addition.