Since the glory days of crappy graphics and Ronaldinho’s flowing locks in FIFA 2004, all the way through to the drama and questionable ethics of EA sports’ money-spinning sub-division Ultimate Team in recent years, FIFA has prided itself on state of the art, life-like gameplay and fast paced, high scoring entertainment.
“The game provides a huge change to both casual and veteran gamers”
However, many of its more hard-core fans (myself included) have felt that the recent games that have been churned out have become rather stale, and although it’s clear that EA’s main priority is to make as much money as they possibly can, FIFA 19 looks set to shut down the haters. The game provides a huge change to both casual and veteran gamers, and the inclusion of the champions league and Europa league rights is the cherry on top that many FIFA fans have been dreaming of for a long time.
“Timed Finishing is proving to be divisive”
For those who aren’t familiar with the basics of FIFA, it’s essentially a football simulation game where you control the players – there’s no simpler way to put it. This year, the only main new features are Dynamic Tactics and Timed Finishing. Dynamic Tactics allow you to manage how you want your side to play. Not exactly ground breaking, but a necessary addition nonetheless. Timed Finishing is proving to be divisive. It’s essentially a bar that if pressed at the right time, your shots have a better chance of going in. For me it didn’t seem to have too much of an effect, but there you go.
There are a huge number of different ways to play FIFA, from career mode to pro clubs to tournaments to online seasons. The sad thing is these features haven’t changed at all, and in particular career mode is as boring and one dimensional as ever. But it’s not all doom and gloom! FIFA’s response to NBA’s story mode, ‘The Journey’, returns for its final instalment, this time with 3 different careers to try and navigate: Alex Hunter’s ascent to stardom, Danny Williams’ time on the periphery of squad football, and Hunter’s stepsister Kim Hunter’s youth career in the women’s game.
“it has introduced a number of ‘house rules’ games to make those one off games with your mates so much more fun”
Kick-off is the bog standard FIFA game mode. It’s the staple of many ‘lads’ nights in’ and up until FIFA 19, was relatively monotonous. That being said, it has introduced a number of ‘house rules’ games to make those one off games with your mates so much more fun. There’s the classic ‘long-range shots only’ and ‘headers and volleys only’ that we’ve all played in the park on a Saturday, and there’s Survival in which your team loses a player every time you score.
Finally, and my personal favourite, is ‘no rules’. It does what it says on the tin: no offsides, no bookings, and most importantly, no fouls. I can tell you there’s nothing more enjoyable than your opponent going through one on one yet still being able to break his leg and get away with it.
“FIFA 19 has definitely made a big stride in improving on its predecessor”
There’s only one place I could have finished this review. Ultimate Team, FIFA’s Crown Jewel and #1 money making tool returns for its 10th anniversary year. Most of the features have remained pretty much the same as last year, although Online Seasons has been reinvited into the not so imaginative FUT Division Rivals. You now get weekly rewards for playing online seasons, something that makes the game mode much more accessible to the casual player.
Packs also now have probability markers on them, an important step to covering themselves over the laws of underage gambling following new Dutch laws. In April 2018, they declared Packs in FIFA and the so called ‘loot box’ method of modern gaming illegal, threatening to ban FIFA in the country unless drastic changes were made. Personally, I think it’s a good way to see what you’re getting for your in-game coins (or real money!)
To sum up, I think FIFA 19 has definitely made a big stride in improving upon its predecessor, although some of the fundamentals of the pay to win system in the game make it easy for me to understand how people see it in a negative light. The lack of development in career mode stops me from giving it full marks, however, all things considered, it is inherently a very good game.
Featured Image courtesy of EA Sports FIFA Official Facebook Page.