Every year there comes a time in every sport gamers’ calendar when your game is out of date, past its sell by date, a figment of memory long ago. So, this got me thinking — why not review a game after having the last 12 months to get to know every little eccentricity…

I’ve been playing the FIFA series for as long as I can remember — being genuinely useless at actually playing football, FIFA gave me an outlet to release my inner Ronaldinho and Scholes. Back in the days before you could play FIFA online, it was bossing it. You had it plain and simple, the ability to create a career and go forth and take on the world (albeit limited) and you genuinely got satisfaction from it.

Granted, FIFA has come a long way since I started playing it; I mean yes the graphics have improved but that’s not gameplay, technological leaps go part way but it’s all about how it makes you feel.

I’ve never found it so hard to invest in a game before. This installment seems almost algorithmic, they’ve found something that once worked and they package it up with new kits, stadiums and players and it’s an absolute guaranteed money maker. We buy into it because let’s face it, there’s not much competition. But it’s shit.

Career central, right?

So, career mode hooks you up with being a manager, player or player manager — with player mode what was known as ‘Be a Pro’ and was introduced eight years ago. Player mode gives you the opportunity to either create your own character or take on the persona of a real life footballer, but you have no control over the team selection.

Of course like a purist I wish to pursue my own career. I’ve chosen my team (Tottenham but went on loan to Leeds after a season – God knows why), working my way up and within 18 months I’m a first team regular and called up to the England squad. Valued at around 30,000,000 with an overall of 82.

FIFA 16 Career (In Menus)
FIFA 16 Career Mode

Such meteoric rises are uncommon in real life football, yet this is what you’re striving for in FIFA. You’ll get to the precipice of greatness, becoming a club captain, international first choice but yet there’s not much to want you to keep playing.

You whack up the difficulty but you’re left either playing the whole match as the team, only to be subbed after 60 minutes EVERY SINGLE GAME (yes, even for LEEDS!?) to then play the remainder as the team without ‘you’.

Play as the pro and you’re left watching your AI (artificial intelligence) team mates play the AI opponents, which can only be described as the most nauseating eight minutes, not only this but it’s just plain BORING.

Build your long pass count by doing 60 cross field passes for an achievement then sub yourself out because there’s more to life (trust me I know there is – humour me). The achievements aren’t really achievements, after heading the ball 10 times you get a +1 for heading the ball, you header it a further 25 times to get a +1 on your player – whoop whoop.

You’d think a big money move to Barcelona would make me happy; I signed for them after one season and played cup games against teams in the Segunda División – so glad I had a game save to go back to. BOOORING.

Ultimate Team Moneygrabber

OK, yes there’s more than offline career mode. Another favourite of times gone by for me was Ultimate Team (FUT). Once an old staple for building your own squad, from a bunch of misfits from around the globe to a well honed team of absolute beasts you can call your own. Yeah, your new striker may have played 75 times for ‘other clubs’ and scored 50 times for them, but he’s your player now.

You do your research; one low attacking/high defensive and one high attacking/high defensive CDM in your 442 (yeah – I’m old school). You’re onto a winner but wait, some Division One BRONZE card just ripped his way through your GOLD star studded team worth well over 200,000 coins. What’s that about!?

Our friend the algorithm is back. You’re on a streak winning and playing like you BELONG in eSports – then BOOM. It’s as if your players can’t string passes together and you end up rage quitting 4-0 down at 30 minutes. Not even ashamed to admit that has happened on more occasions than I care to think.

Speculation is that the game gives advantages to swing the result, so you literally can’t win. Think back to those days when you were playing Mario Kart on the SNES (and every Mario Kart since), the players at the back get the better weapons, well… y’know what I’m saying (no, I don’t mean Franck Ribery with a bunch of red Koopa shells).

I fought all the way through to Division Three (from Div Ten), with a team made up predominantly with Silver players. You’d think I’d be up against similar opposition but it was never the case, hardly ever would I be playing against a team with one silver. Let alone a whole team. I was strolling to Division Two before the intensity just sky-rocketed and I couldn’t touch the ball.

My Silver UK Team
My Silver UK Team

This gets me on to the subject of packs, I’ve never once had any of the top players. Yet you see YouTubers opening packs for fun and bagging two Ronaldo cards without an issue. It’s hard not to get hyped and genuinely think you stand a chance of doing the same.

There’ll be kids around the world watching videos like this, whether real or not, thinking they can do the same spending their expendable income (or not so expendable) on buying FUT Credits to spunk on packs under the false pretence they’ll get something decent.

Truth is, you’ll be lucky to get a rare player. The likes of Bale, Ronaldo and Messi landing in a pack are literally unreal – 1,000,000+/1, if you get my drift. Yet a little bit inside you thinks you’ll be able to land the mythical creature. If you’ve been able to grab yourself a top player than I am genuinely a bit jealous.

Who else hasn’t gone: ‘Spanish, Man Utd, GOALKEEPER… VALDES!?!‘ – trolling for lols.

Will I be buying FIFA 17?

OK, so Frostbite are on board and they’ve created this unbelievably cheesy ‘trailer’ (I preferred the Patrick Stewart narrated one from 2015 tbh). It would seem that EA have finally listened to their customer base, to an extent and I think if they hadn’t made an effort to change then I wouldn’t be buying 2017, but..

I have to admit, despite the hating, I’ll be getting 2017. I hope and pray that it’s a step in the right direction. Most of all I hope one thing more than ever… EA Sports sort their sodding servers out.

Good riddance FIFA 16, you’ve been a massive disappointment.