The gaming community is profoundly divided when it comes to EA Games, but the FIFA franchise remains a place where the company's detractors and fans see eye to eye. The game is balanced and engaging, and brings new elements with each installment.
Next week, FIFA 2016 is due for release on multiple platforms: PC, new-generation (the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One) and old-generation consoles (the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360) are getting the game at the same time. The demo provided us some useful info about how the game behaves on each of them, and we're here to let you choose which best suits you.
The overwhelming popularity of FIFA guarantees that a big chunk of its audience does not own the latest PC configurations. This is apparent when you see the system settings available, which are rather limited in comparison with same-gen games such as The Witcher 3 and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
For PC owners who play on an Nvidia GTX 980 Ti card, the game is flawless in the 110 to 120 fps interval, with all graphic details maxed out. Most gaming PCs will behave just as fine, since the FIFA 16 is decent in system requirements.
When using an averagely priced GTX 950 card and a resolution of 1440p, the frame rate stayed mainly at 60 fps, with a few mishaps during replays that took it to 40 fps. For an inferior resolution of 1080p, the interval 90 to 120 fps was constant. Immersion of the game took a hit during cut-scenes and replays, where there were graphical hiccups.
An optimal configuration for a 720p experience would contain Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 (64-bit), an Intel Core i3 at 3.1GHz, 4GB of RAM, and an Nvidia GTX 650.
Even if the visuals were pleasant, the bugs and errors we met when loading the game were irritating. EA's support forums offered little help, and we tried reinstalling the .NET framework or verifying the installation to get it to work. The solid and permanent solution was to disable the game's client in the Options tab. We encountered and solved this problem on both Windows 10 and 8.1 64-bit. It is strange that this issue is not addressed in any FAQ or official support forum, since the option is right there in the game.
On PS4 or Xbox One
When compared with the version on consoles, the PC version of FIFA 16 runs faster and looks just a bit more polished thanks to an over-the-top configuration.
What about the gameplay?
Xbox One and PS4 versions both felt more responsive than the PC. Simple actions such as passing and shooting for a goal were smooth and natural on consoles, whereas on PC the match felt tedious and unintuitive. Not even changing the key binds resolved the strange feeling that we were playing with our hands tied.
Heading the ball was natural and quick-paced on each version of the game, and goals kept adding. We felt a significant change of pace when choosing to play women's teams, as they were more rapid than the now-perceived-slower men's teams.
EA has generally been responsive to client feedback. We can expect changes and fixes to come with the full version of the game announced to be launched next week.