This year, EA Sports is aiming to play up the game’s emotional side, and it achieves this almost entirely through its audio-visuals. It’s about animation and atmosphere: players will more frequently react to on-field incidents, and crowds will bellow team-specific chants from the stands of all 20 authentically modelled Premier League stadiums. This is the sort of thing FIFA has done well for a while, and this year it does it better than ever before.
However, while the fans may be more animated in an emotional sense, they’re still the same cardboard cutouts, and their reactions don’t always correspond to what’s happening on the field. They’re noisier than in previous years, but that’s also true when you’re performing badly. They even celebrate each goal with equal fervour regardless of context: I couldn’t tell the difference between the reaction to my scoring the 13th goal of a 14-0 win and Barcelona edging El Clasico by the odd goal in five thanks to a last-minute winner by Neymar.