Fifa 16 demo review: What does the teaser teach us about the introduction of women's sides?

The full version of the game will have 12 international teams available to use

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The Independent Tech

Along with the standard tweaks to passing, shooting and defending that come with every release of FIFA, EA Sports have included women's teams for the first time in the game's 22 year history.

It comes off the back of the successful 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada which drew the highest attendances and TV viewing figures ever seen for women's football.

"Bringing some of the best women's players and teams in the world to our franchise is a massive event for EA Sports, and we are equally excited about bringing millions of fans a new way to play," David Rutter, vice president and general manager of EA Sports FIFA said earlier this year.

So will FIFA fans take to the new feature, or is it little more than a gimmick?

The demo version of the game released this week allows gamers to play with two of the 12 international sides that will be included in the full game, with the United States and Germany available.

The initial observation is the size of the players in comparison to their male counterparts. Understandably, they are on average much shorter and slighter.

EA went to great lengths to ensure the introduction of female players was more than simply rendering female faces onto the bodies of the men. Everything from running motion, facial animations and hair movement have been designed specifically for the mode. The shouts of female voices can even be heard during the game. Beyond aesthetics, the movement of the players is different to the men's game.

Consequently, playing with the women's sides in the demo feels like a noticeably different experience. There is more space, and consequently more time in which to pick passes and curate moves.

 

When it comes to the ability of the players in comparison to the men there is little to choose between them. With EA making it impossible for the two sexes to compete against one another, both in the demo and full game, it has allowed for the female players to be rated on their own scale. USA World Cup winner Carli Lloyd is the stand-out player with a score of 91. In the men's game, only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi exceed this, with Luis Suarez on 90.

It means that opting to play with women's teams isn't that frustrating experience of dealing with relatively sluggish, mid-level players that is experienced when picking sides away from the very best teams available. Scoring spectacular goals, going on dizzy runs and playing precise through-balls can all be enjoyed in the new game mode which should help make it popular.

However, EA Sport have restricted the parameters of the women's game. The full game will only allow the use of women's teams in three different game modes - 'Match Day', 'Offline Tournament' and 'Online Friendly'. With gamers tending to favour the 'Career Mode' and 'Ultimate Team' modes, it's a decision that threatens to make the progressive addition feel like something of a novelty.

The full game is released on 24 September in the UK.

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