FIFA has been a top tier iOS sports game year in and year out, and now there’s the new installment FIFA 16 Ultimate Team. The core game of soccer returns, and this year’s edition emphasizes the card collecting Ultimate Team mode as the only way to play. You have access to all players, and you can mix and match them with plenty of upgrades to create your own squad that can then compete in leagues and tournaments. The game is free to play with two forms of currency mainly tied into acquiring new player cards, and upgrading existing ones.
The most noticeable change for FIFA 16 is the graphics engine with all new details and animations. It’s one thing for EA to claim enhancements, and quite another to actually witness them in motion. The game looks great in action with such fluid movement of all 22 players of both teams on the pitch. The players seem to have dynamic motion including varied slides, stumbles, and collisions with other players to provide a realistic depiction of the soccer action. The same great ball physics of past FIFA’s is included, so that the ball can ricochet off the goalie and other players and allow for competitive corner kicks, and put back goals. It’s a great graphics engine, and there are also enhancements to the game engine allowing for noticeable AI player improvements. The game does feature a similar on screen control scheme to year’s past, though this year seems to make it more difficult to properly set the power of shots and passes.
The advancements in FIFA 16 let you truly go on an offensive attack with precision passing including crosses and leads to set up solid shots on goal. The main limitations of FIFA 16 revolve around the core concept of only including the Ultimate Team mode. Since you start out on the lower end of the totem pole, everything that you can play is catered towards your team level. That means, you can’t just play with your favorite team on hard difficulty, and instead need to begin with a group of random players on amateur difficulty. You need to work your way up through the simple beginnings to get to the more competitive matches, but doing so runs you into the in-app purchase upgrade wall. The player is given little choice in what and how to play, and instead you need to go through a very specific route. That includes accelerated clock matches that are made for on the go gaming, and can really breeze past before you get into the flow of the game.
FIFA 16 Ultimate Team (Free, Universal) provides a great game of soccer when you’re on the pitch, but it’s watered down by everything off the field. FIFA 16 Ultimate Team is good, but it’s not as good as it could be because it doesn’t cater to individual preferences.