O jogo bonito. The beautiful game. Said by many, but understood by few, including EA. Being a top football lad myself, I inevitably succumb to corporate propaganda and pick up the latest reboot to fuel my need for updated squads every year. Sorry…did I say corporate propaganda? I meant corporate extortion. Did I say pick up? I meant stick the nose-end of a Dyson into my wallet and witness it grow smaller and smaller as the gold packs become ever more a psychological dependency.
PLEASE NOTE: I own and have played extensively FIFA 14, 15 and 11
Man vs Machine
A lot of people, including myself, will experience unrivalled anger when playing FIFA, as is the norm with competitive video games. The problem is, most times people merely shake off this anger, blaming nothing in particular and ultimately settling for the idea that their rage is the result of their incompetence. The stereotypes are widely known throughout the gaming community. “That bitch was hacking!”, “Fuck that! This game is bullshit! This has so much lag!”, “That’s it! Rage quit!”, but most importantly of all, “Fuck you, ref!”. The divide lies with multiplayer games that feature no CPU players, and those that are dependant on them. Call of Duty squeakers audibly explode because they find it hard to accept that someone else is better than them, that they can execute that famed 360-no scope with such a greater finesse than them, but the rages you are subjected to on FIFA are in a whole different league. In FIFA, there is no one to blame. There is no actual person controlling the factors of your rage eruption. Phrases like “This game is bullshit! Terrible programming!” have become synonymous with sore-losers, but in a game where 9/10 of the probability of your success solely relies on gaming mechanics, these types of phrases actually apply. And boy, oh boy, has there been rage about FIFA 15. To the common gamer this may not mean much, not necessarily because the rage is not representative of anything significant, but simply because rage is a very impulsive action and does not accurately portray long standing opinions. To an extent I agree with this. For example, I raged at The Last of Us when that DAMN clicker snuck up behind me and bit a chunk out of my shoulder, but these brief feelings of loss were anomalous to my OVERALL feelings of the game, and most rages were directed at my own incompetence. But that is a special case, as I actually applaud The Last of Us for enabling me to become so scared in the first place. I like to think that the regularity of these rages is somewhat proportional to the overall dissatisfaction people hold on the game. But that’s all quite ambiguous. I mean, you can’t just PROVE that EVERYONE rages at FIFA, and if they do, maybe not ALL the time. You may believe that everyone does so, but that doesn’t make it true. But thanks to the omnipotent internet, we can see just what people think of it.
This is the Amazon customer review chart for FIFA 14 on PlayStation 4. That’s about a 7/10, right? Not so bad, is it? I mean MOST people gave it 5 stars! Great! Well, that would be great, if only half as many people didn’t give it the worst rating offered. When I first saw this, I only thought that the majority of the people who gave it 5 stars obviously had justifiable reasons why. But then the internet started getting rather big butthurt over FIFA 15, especially on YouTube, people started to voice EA’s persistent problems, so I returned to amazon to see what the customers were saying. When I actually investigated these reviews I was certainly enlightened.
The most helpful positive review only lightly glosses over FIFA’s features, and it is all subjectively positive, but the most helpful critical review goes on to go to thick detail about FIFA 15’s real problems, about broken goalkeeping, its inconsistent defender mechanics, its obvious attempts at debuffing shooting, and its many other poor decisions. Reading that review itself wasn’t what shocked me, it was the fact that TWENTY TWO TIMES MORE PEOPLE FOUND THE CRITICAL REVIEW MORE HELPFUL. This person gave it 2 stars, and the majority of the people judging these reviews found this the best overall representation of the popular opinion. But how? Despite this, the game is still rated 3 and a half stars. But that makes more sense when ‘positive’ reviews look like this.
I mean this guy just openly rips open FIFA and EA and concludes with a brilliant score. This has to stop. People have to stop tolerating. People have to stop giving disingenuous five star review scores. This gets people no where, it sends the wrong message that the developer will inevitably listen to. EA won’t fix anything if you’re too busy diligently playing FIFA to tell them that they actually have problems. This is why I don’t give review scores, because it doesn’t necessarily represent anything you have drawn up to conclude it. People will look at review scores immediately and use it to judge the overall quality of every aspect in the game. A review score lists no merits or problems, and because of that it is useless.
But then again, some of these problems are painfully obvious, and EA would be fools to have to need to have them pointed out to them. The main niggle, or rather super-niggle, lies in EA’s server room. The Origin servers. *Shudder*. People have been speaking out about the connection loss and resultant in-game consequences that the player has no control over. For a game where a defining moment can happen at any minute, I call fundamental bollocks on the fact that if disconnected, the game can be decided an automatic loss. I think this Geordie explains it better than I…
The ‘I’ is for illuminati…
A lot of people are talking about some alleged ‘scripting’ system in the game, where to make the game more ‘realistic’, player’s teams will become less responsive after a lucky streak, or previously disadvantaged teams receive an inexplicable steroid-like boost. If this is true, then I find it derogatory of the term ‘realistic’. The whole point of football is that NOTHING is scripted and completely unexpected things can happen out of no-where. When Leicester won 5-3 against Man U, after it being 3-1 on the 57 minute mark, Leicester coming straight out of the championship, when Fulham got relegated to the championship after spending 13 years in the premiership, when Germany destroyed Brazil 7-1 in their own home, were any of these events scripted? Did any of these follow any formula? I think once you try and enforce fairness it becomes the antithesis of what it is trying to achieve. It’s like how trying to enforce happiness only causes oppression.
FIFA does and always will make a lot of money because it is the best football game available, and people will always love football, and so people (like me) will always be inherently inclined to purchase it, I wish I could say that FIFA deserves £50+from me every year for this feeble attempt at a reboot, but, again, this is a franchise, and franchises ruin video games as they slowly ebb away at prospects of originality, improvement of one area and the maintenance of another, and artistic license. The graphics are amazing, but they hide a very ugly corner of the beautiful game.