As the football season draws to a close worldwide, save for geriatric stomping ground that is the MLS (which has become so much of a joke that even Will Ferrel can whimsically become a leading figurehead), there is always much hype amongst the FIFA community over the release of the Team Of The Season or TOTS stat boosted cards. As I hate myself, I happen to own FIFA 16, and in some recent state of hopeful joviality I donated my very own coin towards the TOTS lottery through purchase of the divisive FIFA points. It was swiftly after this that I packed the FIFA equivalent of dogshit from £10 worth of points, swore profusely, and consequently resumed my natural state of self-hatred.
Being someone who is currently attempting to grind their way through the second level of Dark Souls after 2 whole days, I understand the ease and the release gained from heatedly spouting verbal accusations of ‘scripting’ ‘hacking’ or ‘EA bullshit’, but I’d always viewed these ubiquitous, venomous accusations of the FIFA community to be owing to a healthy dose of poor sportsmanship rather than anything else, something that historically has clung to football in itself. However, after this telling event which I label as a passive burglary I am somewhat more inclined to agree with the fans.
With my exams forcing me to act a social recluse and live life through an academic sieve for a while alongside my A level compatriots, time for Xbox and other distractions from my self-hatred had to be put aside and pummelled under textbooks. This meant no FIFA during the crux of the Premier League and during the hype time for this year’s Euros. Not good.
In an effort to maintain what sanity I had left at this point I scrolled through various FIFA clones on the android app store, so I could still access the kicky fun times between revision breaks without having to go through the sometimes cumbersome admin of Xbox FIFA. This is where I met my baby.
Dream League Soccer 2016 is an indie soccer mobile game from devs First Touch Games. It is better than FIFA.
In all of FIFA’s audacious claims of revolutionary gameplay, the current year’s instalment being even more revolutionary than how even more revolutionary last year’s was, I think EA forgets the fairness in its previous titles’ divine simplicity. The programmed compensation for online matches in the modern FIFAs feels so far removed from the golden oldies’ minimal physics which Dream League so expertly iterates on. But it’s not just the smooth and minimalist physics that is the lure of Dream League Soccer, it is also the fact that it is entirely free.
Granted, I’ve spent double digit dollars on its microtransactions but considering that I’ve sunk more hours and care into this game than one of a £50 cost, that is in itself commendable. Where FIFA has an ostensibly polished sheen, much of its recent marketing being focused on ‘realistic’ facial animations’, the end product sees player models looking numb with Novocaine during cutscenes.
As the likenesses and names of FIFPro footballers are essentially uncopyrightable, First Touch do a bloody good job of capturing facial features of certain footballers and honestly put FIFA to shame in some cases.
After triple digit numbers of games I can’t help but notice just how embarrassing this makes FIFA look. For all of EA’s prestige and level of technical aptitude they just couldn’t sway me as much as a indie team could, not next to all of FIFA’s conspicuously biased programming which tricks fans into thinking they need to buy better players.
Bravo, First Touch.