Ea sports fifa is one of our favorite ways to…

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EA Sports FIFA is one of our favorite ways to spend time when we’re not watching football or reading the collective works of Philip Larkin. EA’s FIFA 15 hits stores Sept. 23, and just the thought of it gives us The Thickening.

This summer, EA Sports gave a few lucky GFOPs a chance to preview the game at FIFA Fans First events in Seattle, NYC and, most recently, Portland.

Here are highlights of the Portland event, which included a trip to the MLS All-Star game, from GFOPs Andy Reynolds and Gil Elhart.

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From Andy:  

Until a couple of weeks ago, my favorite soccer-related memory was cramming into a local bar with several hundred of my fellow American Outlaws to watch John Brooks beat Ghana while beer dripped down on us from the rafters. That all changed pretty quickly when I got an email telling me that EA Sports were sending me to Portland for the MLS All-Star Game against Bayern Munich.

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We were given a tour of Providence Park, a personalized Portland Timbers jersey, a shopping spree at the Adidas team store, and a chance to get some hands-on time with the upcoming FIFA 15 against the likes of Graham Zusi, Danny O'Rourke, and DeAndre Yedlin (the Timbers Army contingent bit their tongues on that one).

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The crowd reactions and detail are both really cool, as is the addition of delayed offsides calls (I really thought my Portland team had scored against Man City for a second, and then reality prevailed). The new movement system is the real star, though. No longer do players move like they’re wading through molasses; they react quickly, make realistic runs off the ball, and the AI will even dash to the corner flag to waste time if they’re trying to close out a lead. It was also pretty neat to see players react positively or negatively to your decisions, missed shots, etc. (If that change had been incorporated into FIFA 2000, Emile Heskey would have been stuffed in a bag and shipped to an undisclosed location by his own teammates. Before halftime.)