Version Reviewed: 1.0.7
App Reviewed on: iPhone 6 Plus
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
The mobile versions of FIFA have been a progressively improving product over the last five years. Granted each year’s iteration was good in its own respect, but year-over-year it began to feel like a constantly building crescendo of quality. With last year’s outing snagging a coveted Editor’s Choice, can 2015’s installment continue the trend?
Imagine a world where developers are so content with a particular game mode that they decided to do away with the rest of the game altogether. This is exactly what happened with in FIFA 15 Ultimate Team. As the name might imply, this year’s focus revolves around EA’s ever present Ultimate Team mode, and not much else. Call me crazy, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either.
The free offering dives right into the card-collecting mechanics before players even have the chance to hit the pitch. Instead of the prerequisite on-the-field tutorial and the like, players are treated to the pleasure of opening packs of cards and designing their squad from the ground up. For some this may be quite a change of pace, but given that the mode is far from a newcomer and EA’s added emphasis over the past couple of installments, it is hard to imagine that this will be new to many.
An improved casual control scheme will be waiting to greet competitors when they take the field, which further helps to take advantage of the iOS touch interfaces. That said, there's still an on-screen joypad, so complaints about precision should at least somewhat be predictable. Thankfully the stellar presentation is back, and it plays almost as fantastically as its visual polish would suggest. This is essentially the same footie experience that we loved last season, only with another pass of spit-shining.
For everything that the game does well, it is worth mentioning that the concept of an exhibition match or an online game with your favorite team and/or lineup will be next to impossible. Unless the player has managed to luck into recreating the squad using cards, there is little that can be done to settle a grudge match. Instead players are forced to use one of their Ultimate Team squads. While this is certainly not the end of the world, it does feel like a bit of a step back from prior seasons.
It's hard to be too critical of FIFA 15 Ultimate Team when it could, in theory, be played forever without the need to spend a penny. Sure, the grind will be long and hard, but it's not only possible, it's a totally feasible manner to play the game in its entirety. However, it is impossible to miss the fact that this is only a portion of the game that fans have come to expect. Luckily, what is present will prove to be more than enough to satiate most soccer fanatics.