FIFA is bang in form this season, but they can’t all be beautiful games.
We’ve all heard how sublime FIFA 17 is with those fluid Frostbite-powered visuals, refined gameplay and packed team roster, and yet, not unlike Manchester City, its history is a story of ups and downs.
Beginning life as FIFA International Soccer in 1993, the EA Sports series has since appeared on everything with a screen and its annual refresh is the only thing in life more inevitable than death and taxes.
The footballing powerhouse may be a regular fixture in the upper reaches of the software charts, but Pro Evo’s bitter rival has scored more than a few own goals during its playing career, from ugly handheld instalments to ropey ports that should never have even made the subs bench.
Looking back, it all seems like a stark reminder that the series didn’t always deliver the winning formula fans now take for granted.
FIFA was on a roll for the best part of a decade, but with last season’s instalment EA Sports had grown complacent.
No matter what your system of choice happened to be, FIFA 16 was the version where legacy issues which had plague the series for a number of years caught up with it.
The match engine was in need of a drastic overhaul by this point (which it was mercifully given in the Frostbite-powered FIFA 17) and the gameplay felt imbalanced - defenders were overly powerful and forwards lacked fluidity in the final third. And tactics? What are they?
Perhaps we wouldn’t have been so harsh on FIFA 16 had it not been released in the same year as a cracking edition of Pro Evolution Soccer, which returned to form with a shiny new match engine and retooled gameplay.