EA Sports’ new mobile game FIFA Mobile is the third game in their portfolio after Madden NFL Mobile and NBA Live which suggests a major shift in the company’s approach to mobile gaming. These game’s are small in size, have modest graphics and can run on the most basic Android phones.
While the earlier games in the FIFA series, especially the FIFA 16 Soccer were designed keeping in mind the strengths (powerful processor, better graphics, higher RAM and bigger display) of a modern day smartphone, the new game has been developed to run better on phones with limited storage, small screen and slow broadband speed.
FIFA Mobile has been released on all major mobile platforms and can be downloaded right away from the App Store, Play Store and Windows Store.
While the game itself is free to download, it is not entirely free. The freemium package has been created in such a way that a user has to spend real cash on in-app purchases at some point. A basic coin pack costs Rs. 60 while the biggest pack is priced at Rs.6,200.
The game follows the same Ultimate Team model which began with FIFA 15 Ultimate Team game which was discontinued after the release of FIFA Mobile.
Ultimate Team model basically allows user to build a custom team from scratch. User can hire any player from any league or club in their team and then lead them into leagues and knock-out tournaments. With the new game the company has revamped the leagues model. Instead of participating in existing international, one can only take part in custom leagues created by other players. You can send a request to join a league and if there is an opening slot in the league you may join it. You can also create your own leagues and set its rules and the prize money.
The events mode allows user to pick up a friendly game with any of the other players who are active in the game.
The game seems to be entirely driven by these limited multiplayer modes. This explains why EA Sports has downgraded the graphics as multiplayer games take much longer to load due to heavy graphics.
The game requires player to login through Facebook or Google account every time they open the game. This is a bit annoying and may require several attempts. The game crashed multiple times while logging with Google account. Logging with Facebook account was successful but after multiple attempts.
While matches load a lot faster now, we are not really impressed with the game controls. These controls include on-screen joystick and a set of four buttons for controlling player actions such as sprinting, sliding, shooting and passing on the right. The keys are big and manageable on small screens, but they are not as responsive and user-friendly as the controls on FIFA 16 Soccer.
There is no in-game commentary or the option to add one in the audio settings. In earlier games, you could add console level commentary packs in up to five international languages.
The biggest letdown in the game is the way the matches are played. You can’t play a full match against an opponent, but will only get the option to attack and score goals. The moment the ball is kicked into your half of the field, the game will fast forward by itself and you are again placed in a situation where one of player has the ball and he is close to the opponent’s goal.
This is similar to those casual football games such as Flick Kick or Stick Soccer which have very limited options.
It is rare to see a succeeding game with graphics inferior to its predecessor. Usually every new game brings a new visual element to the game. The overall graphics look similar to the FIFA 14 game. In-game players hardly bear any resemblance to their real life counterparts. The good bit is that this has helped FIFA keep the game’s size in check. The file size after installation is less than 200MB which is considerably lower than the 1.9GB file size of the predecessor.
Despite the small file size, FIFA Mobile is not a very user-friendly game. For an avid fan of the series this game has very little to offer. For a causal gamer, the experience is going to be far from smooth. FIFA 16 Soccer is by far the best mobile game available on mobile devices and hardly faces competition from anyone when it comes to graphics and gameplay. Instead of coming up with a new game that has nothing exciting to offer, EA Sports could have made improvements in FIFA 16 Soccer, upgraded the player ratings and added more game modes.
Developed by EA Sports
Price: Free (In-app purchases Rs 60 to Rs 6,200)
Available on: Play Store, App Store, Windows Store
Tested on: OnePlus One (Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, 3GB RAM, Adreno 330 and 64GB storage)