With little fanfare, the latest instalment of FIFA has crept onto the app stores a little earlier than expected, bringing with it the usual high expectations. FIFA has much to live up to, but does it live up to the hype?
Featuring the Ultimate Team format, FIFA 15 differs from other versions of FIFA by narrowing its vision and focusing on a fantasy football team experience and collectable elements rather than the endless footballing universe found in the console versions of the game.
When you first start the game, rather than choosing a favourite team to play with you are given a deck of player cards to form your squad. Additional booster sets can be added through in game rewards for reaching achievements and of course additional cards can always purchased using in-game currency or in-app purchases.
From our initial hands on game time it appears that you have to play as your ultimate team in every game rather than choosing any team in any league. This may be a little strange for some of us more experienced (older) FIFA players, but it does encourage ownership of your band of superstars and drive a sense to upgrade your squad.
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t any competitions to compete in. FIFA has always had a great share of real world league and cup competitions to play in, and while the 2015 mobile version isn’t as complete as its big screen counterpart there are still plenty of challenges to work through each with its own reward.
Ultimately FIFA is a football game, certainly the best in its field for several incarnations, and it’s the in game action that defines how enjoyable the game is.
Offering three different control schemes, an onscreen virtual joypad, touch friendly casual controls and for the first time Bluetooth controllers, FIFA offers options to try an accommodate most types of gamer.
Without physical controls fast paced games are always going to struggle on mobile devices but the bigger the screen you have available the better FIFA copes.
In my experience gameplay on the iPhone 5s is generally fine although the lack of physical controls puts this version of FIFA behind the PS Vita version.
The in match graphics are pretty much what you would expect from a FIFA games with highly detailed players and outstanding broadcast style presentation, however it would be intriguing to see what EA could do with the new Metal graphics engine on the iPhone version.
One ultra frustrating issue with FIFA 15 Ultimate Team is that the game needs an active internet connection to play, which means that if you are stuck with zero signal strength, or like me on a train with a wifi only iPad the game won’t even load to the menu screen, which isn’t great for a mobile game.
FIFA does football very well and if you can live with the connectivity requirement the it’s looking like FIFA will bring you your footy fix for a while.
FIFA 15 Ultimate Team is available to download now from the App Store and Google Play Store.