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Five ways FIFA 16 will change the way pros play

Wednesday, September 2, 2015 10:29:17 PM America/Los_Angeles

FIFA 16 is less than a month away from launching and shaking up the entire competitive scene. Tactics that have worked this year will instantly go out of the window and the pros will have mere weeks to figure out the best way to play on the new game before the competitions start up again. The same thing happens every year when a new FIFA  comes out, leading to a shaky start to the competitive scene of the latest version, but to help the pros out we have identified five key new features that are sure to have a massive impact on the competitive scene in FIFA 16.

Passing with purpose will make attacks quicker

In an attempt to make the midfield actually matter and not just that row of players you ping the ball over the top of, passing with purpose has been implemented. In the pro scene over the past year, the midfield was always a key part of any attack, but often finding that final ball was the area where some players would lose possession. However passing with purpose should mean that more of those final killer passes make it to their target.

By pressing RB (on Xbox One) whenever you make a pass, the ball will zip across the pitch at a rapid pace. By using this modifier, pro players will be able to squeeze the ball through the tightest of gaps and through to their striker, cutting the defence to pieces. In order to make the modifier balanced there is of course more risk, with the ball travelling at such speed it becomes much harder for the receiving player to control, so learning just when to play a pass with purpose will be one of the first things pro players will be learning.

Defenders will be enticed in with no touch dribbling

No touch dribbling is another feature that seems like it should have been implemented before, but it’s actually making its debut in FIFA 16. As the name suggests, no touch dribbling allows you to continue to move, without actually touching the ball. You can use it in a number of situations, whether that be to let the ball come to a natural stopping point, to set yourself up for a skill to jump round a defender, or what is sure to be its most used tactic, to entice a defender into making a challenge before you swiftly pull the ball way from them and into space.

Lionel Messi was used for the motion capture to create the animations of no touch dribbling, and he is arguably the best in the world at drawing in defenders by giving them a glimpse of the ball and the proceeding to make them look silly by dancing round them and putting the ball in the net. So while the addition may be slightly overdue, you know it will be incredibly realistic, and as a result, when it’s used well, it could become one of the go to moves for pros to make when trying to get past a defender.

Slide tackles will become more viable

Slide tackles have always been fairly few and far between in pro games of FIFA. While they can win you the ball back, more often than not, it will leave you with a player out of position and the opponents in possession – or worse, you could give away a free kick. However one feature being added to FIFA 16 could easily change that, as now you can re-press the slide tackle button once the animation has started, and your player will get back up out of the slide in one continuous movement, using the momentum to keep most of their speed.

While it obviously isn't the flashiest of new features, this one could change the way pro players defend forever. Whereas slide tackles have previously been a last resort, they now carry much less risk, as the player making the tackle won't always be out of position should he miss. This doesn't mean that we will be seeing slide tackles every minute, but with less risk involved it seems obvious that the pros would be using this as often as possible – after all, it is much harder to dodge a sliding six-foot man than it is to jump over an outstretched leg.

The goals will be better than ever

One complaint many people had with last years outing was that there was too much focus on the attacking play, and while the development team has spent a lot of time working on the midfield and defence, they have also improved the play in the final third as well. There’s a whole host of new features added to finishing that mean we will be seeing some of the best goals ever in pro FIFA.

As you would expect, there is a ton of new shooting animations to make each shot feel unique, there is also a new crossing system that will change where the ball is played and how those trying to get on the end of it react to the moving ball. Perhaps most importantly though, EA’s added new in-game physics built around how the ball is struck and its trajectory thereafter. Hit the ball with the outside of your foot and it will behave totally differently to using the inside or laces, and after some refinement this finally seems to be the case in FIFA, meaning the goals are only going to get better.

But it will be harder to score

While the attacking side of things has certainly improved, it’s on the defensive side of the ball that will feel most alien to pro players when they get their hands on the game. More than 25 new defensive features have been added to give those without the ball more of a chance of winning it back. Things such as aerial challenges, fake tackles, quicker changes of pace and direction and hard hitting full body tackles can take a player out of an attack or neutralise the threat.

The most exciting new defensive feature is known as defend as a unit and sees the defensive AI improved significantly. Previously, it was possible to draw defenders out of position and leave a massive gap in the centre of the defence, but this year, if you do draw a defender out of the back line, the rest of their team will work together to cover the gap, moving closer together or pulling a midfielder to take his place. This is inevitably going to make it harder to worm your way through the defence, and as a result, goals will become harder to score. All the more satisfying, you could say too.

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Mike Stubbsy