FIFA 16 – What Has Happened to Passing?

FIFA 16 – What Has Happened to Passing?


Passing the ball is one of the biggest problems in the game. Do you agree?


FIFA 16 – What Has Happened to Passing?


The first week of FIFA 16’s global release is undoubtedly an exciting time for any fans of the franchise – a new game means you get to play with updated teams and players, try out the new features and experience the excitement of rebuilding your Ultimate Team from scratch (though for those of you who purchase coins or FIFA points that may be a little less relevant).

Unsurprisingly, there are complaints that arise early on in the game. FIFA 14 saw crossing and heading become a major component of attacking play, and the chip through ball combination the trusty aide of the average player. FIFA 15 was burdened with goals scored directly after the kick off and the farcical new goalkeeper engine frustrate many a player. And after seven days of playing FIFA 16, I believe I have found one of the biggest problems in the game for me – passing the ball.

With FIFA 16 generally being a game harder to attack in, it is no surprise that previously easy traits to look for in your team are pace and strength are no longer the standard way of measuring a player – they need to have some quality in their other stats too. This leaves stats like dribbling and passing as far more crucial to having a good group of players in the team. And as dribbling is much more tied in to the speed and strength of a player it leaves passing as the key element to have in the squads midfield, and to an extent the front line.

This is where my problem begins. Simply pressing the pass button no longer reliably delivers the ball to the recipient – often a pass will be miskicked by the passer and will veer off direction, or even not have the power to reach the player and be easily intercepted by the defending team. This makes ball retention increasing difficult in the middle of the pitch as when trying to move the play around your midfield; you will often find the odd misplaced pass breaks down your own play. Passing has to be given far more attention, with angles and balance of the players needing far greater consideration than last year – and when trying to make quick decisions in a game of football, especially one like FIFA in which every minute counts, this can hinder your team and your chance of winning the game. Often the ‘driven pass’ is the option you have to take to excel in the game, yet even that has difficulties and using it will see your players smash the ball at their teammates to a ludicrous level of power – resulting in a minimal chance in actually keeping the ball as you would have hoped.

The short passing problem is a massive issue when using wingers in a team like I prefer to do. My standard formation is a 4-4-2 standard, which I have made a team in since FIFA 13, and thus has the positions left and right midfielder in their starting line-up. Primarily this makes passing in the middle of the pitch with my centre midfielders – preferably the main playmakers in the starting line-up – harder, as the decrease in passing accuracy and ability in this FIFA in combination with the lack of options that you’ll generally find with two in the middle of the pitch increases the difficulty in moving the ball around the field. Problems continue when the ball is shifted out wide to my two wingers. Being on the sides of the pitch they only have the fullback and centre midfielders in suitable distance for a ground pass – and given the inaccuracy that has befallen passing this year wingers are not able to reliably deliver the ball to the nearby players. This leaves the only real options for a winger as crossing the ball into the box, or attempting to dribble further with it – fine on FIFA’s past, but with the relative weakness of such traits in this FIFA this is far harder to achieve.

Through Balls have taken a major hit between FIFAs as well, with many passes intended to be ‘through’ the defence and in front of the attacker being anything but. Many of the balls made by my players do not travel in front of where the player is at all – and if they are put in the right place the power will be off the mark, either intercepted before the ball has a chance to reach the space or pelted far beyond the reach of the receiving player. The dreaded chip through ball of FIFAs past is all but vanquished now too – no longer can you unlock a defence with a quick button combination and one fairly quick striker. This would be seen as a bit of a relief for many people, but when near all through balls have to be angled just right to prevent them from being skewered and over-hit I see an issue with the mechanism. Not only is it tiresome and frustrating trying to get the power balance and swerve of the ball correct, but now the added bonus of having some through balls go to the wrong person is put in place. Regardless of how blatant the intended recipient is, many a through ball will ignore them by playing it to another team mate – and ruining what would be a very good attacking move in many cases.


FIFA 16 – What Has Happened to Passing?

All of the new problems I have discussed are largely situated in attack, yet for me personally the passing has an even bigger impact in defence. Whenever I am trying to make an interception I generally avoid using the ‘lob kick’ and ‘clearance’ buttons (X and B for Xbox users like me) as the game’s computer will often be unpredictable in determining who has the ball and make my player tackle instead, and potentially give away a foul. Instead I use the passing options to try and deal with such interceptions, as it ensures that I do not give away a foul, and has a far greater chance in reaching my attacking players for a good counter attack. My tactics play a major role in why I would say I am able to defend so well in FIFA’s over the years. However if you thought passing was difficult with midfielders, defenders are there just to prove that the standards can be set even lower. Depending on how spaced out your defence is any form of pass over 20 yards is a massive risk and makes your team extremely vulnerable to counter attacks. All the horrors that have infected short passing resurface to an even larger degree here, as generally a misplaced pass puts the attacking team in a great position to score. The ‘through ball’ clearance is far less effective now and can often result in a defender chipping it to a nearby player rather than a ball across the field as it would have done in previous years. Passing the ball between defenders is no longer a safe option on this FIFA and thus defending has become harder without actually making the typically defensive traits harder.

Perhaps this has not been a major issue for other people as much as it has with me. For those of you who already consider themselves strong at the game you may have already sussed out the passing deficiencies seen across the pitch, or maybe your play style isn’t as dependent on passing and you thus don’t see much change between FIFA 15 and 16. However I know for a fact that there will be people like me who are still adjusting to the changes in the game, and people who have struggled to win games with the new way in which we attack. Perhaps worst of all are the current prices – you can’t even rectify the ineptitude of the passing by buying quality attackers as the decent passing players are all still extortionately priced. I hope that when prices come down and I can afford the likes of Cazorla, Ozil, Silva and De Bruyne for my Premier League team I will solve this problem – but for now, FIFA 16 is finding tough to adapt to.


The Author: Owen Macdonald

Owen Macdonald is a 25 year old from London, United Kingdom and supports Fulham FC. Whilst a relative newcomer to the Ultimate Team franchise, having created his first team in FUT 13, Owen’s passion and ever growing knowledge of the footballing world has led to a love for FUT.

His enthusiasm for the game is not matched by many, and if asked will gladly talk about FUT and football on the whole for hours. Away from football Owen is a keen writer and enjoys politics and cinema.


24 thoughts on “FIFA 16 – What Has Happened to Passing?”

  1. Definitely this is the worst FIFA I ever played. I got better on passing after playing many matches but still think there is something wrong with the game.
    Another issue for me is shooting. It is completely different from previous FIFAs which for me makes no sense. We have to learn again everything from scratch.
    These guys from EA did a very bad job in my opinion. For me would be enough to make FIFA 16 like FIFA 15 but decrease the speed of the game to kill the pace abusers.

  2. I agree.My teams in division 4.I always lose because of passing.It like auto passing.Can someone help me to fix it?because i always lose.

    My teams vs Bayern Munich=0-4
    My teams vs Lazio=1-3
    My teams vs Real Sociedad=0-2
    My teams vs Hamburger=2-3
    Then i give up.Can someone help me? Please.
    Sorry for my english.Im Indonesian 🙂

    1. Friends – I never played football all my playing life, just started playing since FIFA 10, but 16 is the easiest I find, for accurate passing – agree possession is a problem though.
      Not sure why you guys are facing this issue with passing. I am now one of the better passers among my friends (used to be the worst till FIFA 15).

  3. It seems as though the developers forgot these are professional soccer players who should be able to control a pass at pace, complete simple, accurate passes and strike a moving ball with accuracy. Too many times I have missed easy shots and passes because the received ball was in motion- it makes little to no sense.

    Just another example of developers trying to make a game more realistic while doing the complete opposite. Passing and receiving is dismal at best. It doesn’t involve more gameplay skill, just patience to not break the disk in half. Back to 2015…

  4. You know what they say if it ain’t broke.They Just cant seem to find the perfect Engine for the game.Every year they introduce something fundamental and then they remove it the very next year.Fifa 15 was a perfect game i could have enjoyed the game for another whole year if it wasen’t for this Fifa 16.A game should be a game not a real life.Now a days all the matches i play end in a stalemate or 1-2 goals scored that to from set peices or corners.Open play goals are no where to be seen because they damaged the fundamental trait of the game and that is passing.I got a bit of a hang about the dribbling mechanics and sprint speed system but passing is really messing with my head.the moment the angle is a little awkward the players will perform a stupid pass out of the stadium.

    And dont think i am some kind of noob i am playing since FIFA 2008 and this ladies and gentlemen is the worst Fifa ever.Ea cant do bad than this….

  5. The passing in Fifa 16 is horrendous. I can’t believe I’ve lost 29 matches and only won 32. My Fifa 15 in seasons in division one win rate was 75% Draw 10% Loss 15% and I played with Barcelona, the slow possession game where I rarely played lobbed passes nor crosses. But in Fifa 16 it’s a struggle to maintain possession. Some of the small distance passes will make you throw up. All EA did was increase interceptions and now you can’t play beautiful and control the game if you want to. I’ve already sold mine. Playing 15 at the moment and waiting for Fifa 17 to see if it’s better.

  6. Totally agree with you. But you forgot to mention shooting and player positioning. As fifa15 you can no longer dribble pass a opponent with pace. i used to dribble pass so easily in fifa 15. But fifa 16 makes it like a crao. it is for the player who are not fast but patient. passsing power makes it even more crap . EA forgot we play fifa with joystick not with a motion sensor. totally waste of money.

  7. medhatithi chattopadhyay

    this game was perfect and true hard game and the pass system and evrything was superb but then came 1.2 patch and for u bloody arcade players who don’t want to learn anything ruined the fifa which we hardcore gamers middle finger to all of u idiots

  8. Totally agree, this is supposed to be a game, not a simulator. Now I hardly play fifa cause 16 is so un-enjoyable. Hope EA does something about this

  9. rodrigo gomes

    eu tentei traduzir e entendi boa parte do que falou. pelo que entendi, concordo bastante com o que disse. está mais dificil fazer passes e defender. joguei pouco o 15, só peguei ele para conseguir transferir o que eu pudesse para o 16 e sabia que o 15 estaria mais próximo em jogabilidade com o 16 que o 14 por exemplo. lógico que achei abusivo o pace do 15 mas ainda assim, conseguia defender melhor que no 16. os passes do 15 saiam bem melhores e com maior fluides que no 14, assim como os atacantes se deslocavam melhor para receber a bola. o que realmente acho muito dificil no 16 é defender e dar passes

  10. I totally agree with the article . Passing in FIFA 16 is a nightmare , it is screwing the game . I will go as far as saying the manual pass is a better option . If your playing style is to keep possession , well you better forget about it , your passes in 50% of the cases won’t reach the desired player . Beside the passing system , FIFA 16 screwed in a lot of other areas and yet EA is doing nothing to fix the issues despite numerous complains from the players :
    1- The match-making for the online seasons/FUT , a lot of players including myself are waiting sometimes over an hour to get a match ( i managed only around 8 matches from the 22nd of september ) .
    2- Goalkeeper issues , specially on the corners where your keeper get out of his goal without pressing the triangle button
    3- Through passes like the direct passes got screwed .
    4- Shooting : sometimes you get the right power and other times it’s like your giving a pass to the keeper .
    5- Fouls : in the little matches i got a hand on i was penalised for at least 5 penalties despite not even controlling the defender , and in 4 of those 5 penalties there was no contact .

    and i can go on and on …. I am really dispointed with FIFA this year , and i can undertstand the really bad reviews it is getting from the players (4.2 on Metacritics) . At first glance before trying the game i was thinking the reviews were because of a love/hate relationship with EA but now i would give it a 1 . A few tweaks in the FUT and re-opening the transfer market in the WEB/Companion App dosen’t compensate the regress in the gameplay .

  11. I totally feel your pain, but I actually think this is a cool choice made by the developers. In FIFA 15, you push the button and the ball goes EXACTLY where you want it. It’s like “driver-assist”. I think you have to pass with more determination in 16 – holding the button a bit longer, aiming a bit more accurately and holding your aim a bit longer. Additionally, real football matches are full of miss-kicks and small errors, I think 16 is trying to bring some of that “randomness” and human quality of a real competition.

    1. I am sorry but you are away with the fairies!! The game is broke and needs fixing soon.

      The number of times I have tried to play a square pass and for whatever reason the AI sends the ball backwards towards your goal only to be intercepted by the opposition attackers is nothing like “randomness” it is plain wrong!

      Also try turning away from goal, when attacking, and lay the ball off and it does the same sends backwards towards your defenders and again it is intercepted by the opposition forwards. Thats not “human quality of a real competition” is is poor software writing!!

  12. Basel ALThawadi

    Totally agree with you i’m with 433(4) and like first time play fifa

  13. Would high passing stats be the most important trait in a player then?

    I have around 400K to spend on a new squad, I am thinking either a Spanish players from BBVA/BPL as they have the players with the best passing and De Gea to make the vital saves, only thing missing is a good striker IMO.

    OR: Serie A team, they have probably the best defence (Chiellini), strong physical CM’s and good strikers that aren’t overpriced – Bacca IF.

    What would you guys recommend?

  14. Luiz Fernando Nunes Marques

    Despite the fact passing became so hard, i really enjoyed the pass without L2 pressed. Is more close to reality, i think.

  15. John (no-english)

    totally agree. Passing is hell, I used to play 41212(2) as well, and everytime I play I don’t know what I am doing. I’m not losing a lot of games, actually I won most of matches, but with no style. This game made me more concerned in not lossing the ball than trying to score.

    1. Amen, yesterday played 3 matches (I had much work) I tied all 3 and it was a dog fight at midfield, for some reason the 4 5 1 formation seems to obliterate the oposition midfield why? because passes are shorter in distance…. so the shorter the distance between your guys the harder it is to miss… formation change????? hope this is not the solution, I HATE LONE STRIKER FORMATIONS….. in my mind is like I GET A GOAL THAT IS IT…… PARK THE BUS JOY RIDE ALL THE WAY till the 90th minute.

  16. Owen you are right on the Money, and btw the problem doesnt get any better with better passing players, since FUT13 I have played abscent wingers in a 41212(2) formation lets just say I am not a skillfull dribller to say the least, so as you might now figure out I rely heavily on passing, 1 2s and through balls…. well this FUT16 is hell to me, and I even have cazorla as CAM and lets put it this way….. I have an easier time getting to girls to kiss each other in front of a camera and a crowded pub that actualling having a through ball meet its target…….
    Not even on the break is this an easier task, where all that green is there, all alone for the taking…. the best you can hope for is sending it through before the midfield and hoping it loses strength on the las 3rd of the pitch, finally praying for 2 miracles happening at once, that the keeper doesnt run like a gazelle on red bull to kick it outside of the park or that there is some CB that has less speed than homever you have as striker finding strenght and speed of Lord Jesus himself that catches the ball before you (Yes my lads Ive seen my Remy catched by no less than Vertonghen, Cahill and Kompany in wide open space)

    And I tell you my midfield is not that bad—- Oscar, Firmino, Matic, Ramsey and Cazorla…. Fernandinho and Wilshere…… all either miss passes or try to kill their teammate with the ball…..

    my 2 cents

  17. Totally agree with you’re whole article. It’s become so hard, it’s almost unplayable for me. Like you I rely on passing out of defence (as habitual) and on FUT i’m getting hammered for it – sometimes 5 or 6 goals.

    I’ve tried adjusting settings / config options but no joy. Got a pretty good team but still not much difference for me….just hoping I can grasp it before my coins run out!

Comments are closed.