FIFA 15 Gamescom gameplay preview: Hands-on with the goalie friendly next-gen stormer
We played and reported on our first impressions of FIFA 15 during E3 in June but it's amazing how much can change in a couple of months in the games industry and we have to say that the Gamescom build of FIFA 15 is quite simply stunning. It should be, it's due for release soon.
Playing as Liverpool against a fantastic gamer from the Netherlands (we think) we got truly tonked by a rampant Barcelona which taught us a few things. One is to make sure you switch your controls from "classic" to "alternate" from the start if you are used to playing that way. The other is that the new goalkeeper animations and AI technologies make for the most varied and exciting goalmouth action of any FIFA game.
The goalies have been rebuilt from the ground up ("turf up" was the phrase used by EA, groan) and all-new motion captures of USA's World Cup hero Tim Howard, among others, have been used to give the maddest and loneliest member of the team a complete graphical overhaul.
They now move more fluently and have much greater variety in that way they can attempt to catch, tip, punch and even deflect a ball with the legs. It's rare in a match to see a keeper make the same sort of movement more than once, we found.
Also, their intelligence now allows them to make new decisions on the fly - whether to run out of the area to make an interception, or their overall positioning.
When we previously wrote about our experiences of the game, we mentioned that we lost in the last minute to a goal from a shot through the legs and bodies of a packed penalty area, and now we now why. The goalie - Simon Mignolet in that instance - was unsighted so dived too late to reach the ball.
In our Gamescom game, we were subject to a deflected goal. Mignolet again started going towards the original trajectory of the ball, but it hit a leg and wildly deflected. He tried to twist in mid-air to get to it, sticking out a leg in the process, but to no avail.
And this is only one of many instances and, indeed, features in FIFA 15 on next-generation (we played it on Xbox One) that ensure that this year's edition is a massive leap forward for the franchise.
It comes out 26 September for all major consoles and PC, but it's is only the next-gen editions, PS4 and Xbox One, that have the main new feature set.