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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that FIFA 16 is the latest iteration of EA sports' yearly soccer simulation. There isn't any controversial content in this game. But players should be aware that for the first time in the franchise's history, players can select to play as women's teams along with the standard men's football clubs. There are two small caveats: First, gamers who play online can talk with other people, and no one from EA Sports will filter or moderate the discussions, possibly exposing players to inappropriate content. Second, there are many logos for brands splashed all over the stadiums and on the players, as well as optional in-app purchases, which Mom and Dad might not like.
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What's it about?
Available for multiple platforms, FIFA 16 is the latest soccer simulation from EA Sports. It was designed to deliver an authentic professional soccer ("football" or "futball") experience. This ranges from the way the players look and move on the pitch to the authentic stadiums to the rules of the various leagues (even down to the crowd's chants). There's a lot that's new this year, including the option to play as one of 12 women's national teams for the first time in the FIFA franchise. There's a new FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) Draft mode, which tests your team-building skills as you choose the best fit for each position (and then compete with them), as well as a revamped Career mode with requested features from fans (preseason tournaments and player training). Finally, there are new defense controls, passing options, and a focus on the midfield, along with additional Skill Games designed for those new to the franchise.
Is it any good?
For soccer fans, this is the best game available, easily justifying the purchase; that can't always be said of yearly releases of sports games. At the risk of stating the obvious, the problem with an annual sports game is there's often little added to the overall experience to justify the purchase. This isn't the case with FIFA 16. Though it's comparable visually -- but still better on next-generation consoles than on last year's FIFA 15 -- it's the controls, options, pace, and modes that make this year's game feel light years ahead of what came before it. Worth noting is the increased attention paid to defensive players, with more tension and drama in the midfield, including new ways to pass and dribble, so the spotlight isn't only on your forwards and strikers.
Along with regular games against smart computer-controlled teams, or playing head to head with a friend beside you (not to mention in online matches and tournaments), the new FUT Draft mode adds another layer of strategy as you buy player packs, build teams, and play them against friends (or enemies) online -- but be aware it costs virtual money, which you can redeem via in-game purchases. Winning tourneys will put more cash in your bank, which you can use to buy more players, and so on. What's more, adding women is a great idea and long overdue -- after all, the U.S. Women's National Team won the 2015 Women's World Cup. It's clear that FIFA 16 is the finest football sim there is. If you like soccer and video games, you'll love FIFA 16.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about gender roles in games such as FIFA 16. Was it a good idea for EA Sports to add female players? Could it be argued that this is a step forward in acknowledging and appreciating women as professional athletes? Could it encourage more women to play this video game or in real life?
Is it worth it to buy an annual sports game? If the developers release a free downloadable update to account for changing team rosters, do you really need to buy one every year? Can you skip a year or two, or do the new features and better graphics justify the purchase?
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions
Social Studies: events
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, decision-making, strategy
Creativity: producing new content
Self-Direction: set objectives, time management, work to achieve goals
Responsibility & Ethics: following codes of conduct
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: EA Sports
- Release date: September 22, 2015
- Genre: Sports
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models
- ESRB rating: E
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.