FIFA14 has been a blast this year. After taking longer than usual to get my bearings, the game has proven to be a good time. EA Sports has done a great job making the video game match reality as closely as possible. Throughout this season, players like Fabian Castillo and Tesho Akindele have shot-up in their rating as they both were in the midst of breakout seasons.
With the MLS in full-swing and FIFA15 scheduled to be released on Tuesday, how did EA Sports do with the newest version of their flagship soccer game?
All ratings I'm looking at came from here.
For players who are currently injured or have had significant injuries this season, it seems EA Sports has decided to give them kind of a pass. The three players who fit into this category are Mauro Diaz (72), Hendry Thomas (68), and George John (67). Despite injuries causing them to miss games or be significantly less-effective, the trio listed above are still three of the top-five players in FIFA15's initial ratings.
This says more about EA not wanting to downgrade a player just because of injury than it does about what anyone thinks any of these guys will be once they get back to full fitness. Pure conjecture here, but I think the makers of the game will probably want to see consistenly lower levels of play before moving anyone's rating down from previous uninjured seasons.
Andres Escobar (63), Zach Lloyd (65), Tesho Akindele (65), Matt Hedges (69), Victor Ulloa (62).
I know not every team can have everyone rated in top form, but some FC Dallas players have really extended themselves this season without much fanfare. Escobar has been nothing short of dominant in some games -- especially when Fabian Castillo has been out. His speed, if nothing else, should put him at least around a 65-66 rating.
Lloyd has proven he can play both inside and outside defensive positions with a high level of effectiveness. This kind of play would theoretically be rewarded in a game like FIFA14, except that MLS is still in the midst of its season. Perhaps after the season is over EA Sports will raise Lloyd's rating, though it's hard when a guy doesn't have a really clear single position.
As for Akindele and Hedges, I think they are both about two points too low. I could see why EA would want to keep Tesho lower -- he has less than a full season as a pro. For Hedges, though, I don't know that there is any reason why you wouldn't make him a 71 at least. The captain has anchored a team that has gone through more changes this season than a model at a fashion show. he deserves at least a 70.
Michel (67), Jair Benitez (65), Peter Luccin (63), Raul Fernandez (69)
Based on some of the other players, something's got to give. I've been watching this team all season, and you can't tell me that Luccin or Benitez have meant more to this team on the field than Escobar. I understand that guys like Luccin play a key role as experienced players and I also know that Benitez has been better in years past, but this is a video game that is supposed to be for this year. Escobar is built to be on a video game and Akindele isn't far behind. I dont' have anything against Luccin or Benitez, but neither has had a season worthy of being at the same level as the two youngsters they are rated alongside.
Michel is a different sort of animal. His movement during FIFA14 gameplay was slow and plodding. I guess we have to just ask this question -- how much are Free Kicks worth? They must be worth quite a bit, because that's Michel's real gift.
Fernandez is included because he's been OK, but he hasn't been the fourth-best player on the pitch for FC Dallas this year. Fernandez' rating is more a function of goalkeeper ratings inflation that happens every year in this video game.
As a team, I imagine that FC Dallas' rankings are not horribly off-kilter. The great thing about the ratings throughout the calendar year is that they are subject to change and fluctuaion. If someone plays better, they'll be rewarded. If they play worse, that will also be affected. The ability to change player ratings based on form is still (to me) one of the greatest achievements in sports video games.
I can't wait to play this year's version.
Do you have FIFA15 yet? Let us know what you think of this year's version.