In Now Playing PC Gamer writers talk about the game currently dominating their spare time. Today, Ben just wants everyone to get along in Fifa 16.
Before I lost my ambition and people skills around the age 12 or so, I always said that if I became a football manager, step one of my career would be locking everyone in a room for 24 hours so they could get to know each other and—unless I opened the door to find they’d all fought to the death—hopefully play better football as a result. Sadly, there’s no such option in FIFA 16’s new Ultimate Team Draft.
Ultimate Team is essentially a trading card metagame within FIFA 16 where you buy and sell players online to build dream squads. In Draft, the biggest addition since the mode’s inception, you’re loaned quality players to pick from in each position—the rarities that would make a professional YouTuber FIFA Pack Opener’s face melt. People have wandered EA Canada’s stacked menu wasteland for years and never known the joy of seeing Ibrahimovic’s squashed face peek out from under a wrapper. And snagging Ronaldo? It’s a 1 in 75,000 chance from a gold pack.
But in Draft, the first pack I open offers Ronnie for rent, so I immediately set him as attacking right. It’s a decision I come to regret upon opening the next deck and finding a grinning Robben.
Ordinarily he’d link up nicely with my superstar striker, but here, like in school and later my dating life, I have a little problem: chemistry. If adjacent players share nationalities, clubs or leagues, chemistry increases and football quality improves. However, if one of them is Portuguese and plays in Spain and the other is Dutch and plays in Germany, what you have is a culturally confused squad of alienated millionaires.
The non-delicious contents of my melting pot are starting to congeal, like neglected muesli. Every pack I open introduces yet another foreign player from yet another foreign league, and while that’s fantastically inclusive and everything, I need a more conservative immigration policy if my team is to succeed. Finally my back four hits a purple patch as I draw consecutive Italians from the mediterranean strand of EA’s algorithm, and one by one introduce them to each other like I’m df ropping them off at daycare.
Due to my focus on chemistry and the impossible goal of turning every thread green, however, I ignore another quite important facet of my players: their rating. Just as you want players to talk the same language and be into the same bands and stuff, you want them to be, well, good at playing football. The drubbing I get in my first match might have something to do with decisions such as ditching Real Madrid star Sergio Ramos in favour of a random scrub from Atalanta, which I could have sworn is a city in America. Hair aside, my footballers just don’t gel.
The real kicker, though, is having to pay a £3 entry fee for the privilege of playing Draft again. Since you can win packs from it, and packs cost money, it makes sense, but you know what doesn’t? Finding myself booting up Draft again and again to lash the majority of my disposable income on virtual footballers when the heating in my flat has run out.