FIFA 15 made a splash in the video game market on Sept. 23. The release comes just in time for college students who are supposedly studying for midterms, but who really need that 20 minutes of stress relief that a FIFA contest provides.
As a nerdy kid who was raised on Nintendo 64’s Super Smash Bros. and NFL Blitz 2001, I needed to take a moment to myself when I first unwrapped FIFA 15 and put it in my PlayStation 3. What I saw was the vast improvement of video games over the years.
In just 15 years, gamers have gone from appreciating boxy character faces and inanimate conversation scenes to expecting games to look and sound as realistic as the person playing next to them. I felt like I could have been in a commercial where my roommate was getting paid by Electronic Arts for every time he said the word realistic while describing the game.
FIFA 15 boasts only a few new features in comparison to its predecessor, FIFA 14. The online play, game modes and settings are more or less the same as they always have been. What has been improved in new FIFA installations is the realism of motion. Whereas other games like NCAA Football and MLB The Show series have trailed off and become more like cartoons, FIFA has reinvented their brand year by year and continues to cater to the demands of its international users. Player movement has incorporated physical aspects of momentum and speed so that users are not always left asking where players come from or how their opponent can possibly move faster when they have the ball. Also, both casual and serious soccer fans can genuinely judge the ability of a player on his FIFA ratings.
Some will say that FIFA 15 is just another game. The culture surrounding it, however, is far from negligible. Video games that are as successful as FIFA are part of a larger culture that encourages camaraderie between users, specifically in our younger generation. FIFA, Madden, NBA 2K and games of other genres like Super Smash Bros. or the Batman series are all just a mechanism of goals and rewards that players use for enjoyment. That can be extremely important for a stressed college student, or one who is struggling for an opening line with a prospective friend in the elevator. So, next time I am procrastinating on an essay and screaming “goal” for a minute straight like a Mexican soccer announcer, do not tell me to get back to work. Let me enjoy my reprieve, and know that we could probably all use one.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Oct. 7 print edition. Email Bobby Wagner at [email protected]