FIFA 19 Review
Here we go again, it’s that time of year that millions of gamers eagerly await, the release of the latest FIFA game. We’ve enjoyed doing our FIFA 19 review but with Champions League, Europa League licences, new ways to play kick off mode and some changes to gameplay, does it live up to expectations?
This year EA have acquired the licences for the Champions and Europa leagues. They’ve incorporated it brilliantly into our favourite footy game and it certainly adds that special little something that was needed. Of course, we get the commentary from Derek Rae and Lee Dixon which to be honest had me laughing out loud with the way they say some of the player names. Kick Of mode has also had a bit of a revamp. We now have 9 new modes within Kick Of where we can change the rules of the game, play survival mode and more. It’s a lot of fun and a welcome change to a part of FIFA that has had little improvements for some time. One new addition is the House Rules and it’s here were you can set up some special rules for your mode. Probably the most fun mode to play is the Survivor mode where if you score a goal, a player on your team will be selected and sent off. It’s down to you to decide, score high and lose players or play it safe! There are quite a few modes on offer and while they are fun, I thought these would be far more fun if they were added to the online portion of the game. I am hoping that EA will do this for FIFA 20, but who knows. I also still hope that EA will finally drop a 5-a-side mode in throughout the game as this is another mode that would be great for the series and definitely add something new!
So, speaking of modes, the Career Mode and this is a mode like Pro Clubs that EA didn’t really do much to improve, which is a shame since there is SO much that they could improve on. Fans of this mode will still play it but will be disappointed to see it not getting as much love and care as Ultimate Team which returns, despite the recent controversies and kerfuffle about these loot-boxes.
FIFA Ultimate team has had very little done to it, which we were shocked about considering the amount of money people spend on it year after year. The only real changes are the addition of the Champions League and the Division Rivals Tournament. Ultimate Team is the most loved and cherished mode that EA seem to care a lot about over the last few years, and while some will say that it’s the mode that keeps on earning, and therefore it seems to be their TOP priority when it comes to updates each year. There is a mix of online/offline modes with the usual challenges you get from daily to weekly ones. You can put a lot of time into building up your squad to get that chemistry just right for the team to gel together.
The only downside about to Ultimate Team is the eco-system behind it in terms of the money. It feels as though that no matter how well you perform on the pitch, it’s very rare that you will get a great player, especially one that doesn’t seem to fit the team’s current chemistry. It can take a while to get a good team together, but if you don’t mind parting with your real-world cash, you can speed the process up. To me it feels like a whole pay to win scenario, which is why I don’t play UT very often.
As you would expect, The Journey has returned, and it continues off from last year. The only difference is that you are given control of Alex’s sister Kim. You can switch between the two of them throughout the story, but it does recommend who to play to get the most out of the overall story. For me, it’s not the be all and end all of the FIFA series and while it was a nice addition in previous years, hopefully it won’t make a return next year and let the team concentrate more on building upon what they have.
With all said and done regarding game modes, the one mode that is my passion is Pro Clubs. The lads that I play Pro Clubs with love the game mode. However, this year and in previous years, EA has left us with a bit of a bad taste in our mouths. Why? Simple fact is that we are forgotten. I hate to say it but when it comes to Pro Clubs, it almost feels like an afterthought on EAs part and I wish it wasn’t true, but it is. There is SO much that the team could add to it and even make it an Esport mode. Regarding your Pro and how they look, a few more hairstyles could be added and maybe even tattoos. In other EA Sports games they have evolved the characters to what can be edited/created, so why not the FIFA series?
They could also add in more gameplay features to the mode. I have been saying for years that a progressive card system would be great, where if your Pro was to get sent off, he would then be unavailable, and it would force you to play as a default until your team played a set number of games. What this would do is probably make players think about those nasty late challenges that would otherwise ruin a match that we see so much of in an important cup final or league match. EA could also fix how the leagues and cups are done, with maybe have a more natural league system that would let you progress up the table as it is in the real leagues. It’s probably a lot to chew on, but they could add so much more to Clubs that I feel like if they just took a step back and looked at it, they would see the potential and give the fans what they want.
FIFA 19 gameplay has certainly had a bit of a redo this year. I’m going to be bold and mention the “S” word, that’s right I’m talking about scripting. EA would say that there is no such thing, 1000’s of FIFA players would disagree, but none of that matters now. Gone are the guaranteed 45th and 90th minute goals, you know the ones. The game now just feels more unpredictable and free flowing. So goodbye to scripting, form, coincidence or whatever else you call it. AI players now feel almost unique and individual whereas before you kind of knew what you were going to get. Sometimes they are stronger than you’d expect, sometimes faster or weaker, it just feels different and a lot better than previous games. A new shooting option, Timed Shooting, has now been added too by way of the double tap, which if done correctly (think of Gears of War reload bar) can add some serious power and accuracy to your shots. However, get it wrong and those shots can go anywhere especially into row Z or the carpark. While it does add something extra to the gameplay, it is a bit overpowered at times. This feature is optional and can be turned off in the settings menu.
This year also seems to have more of a smoothness to the overall feel of the game, with passes and touches being more fluid and organic. It has lost a lot of its rough edges that made it feel awkward and clunky in the past. The frame rates are all polished out and EA have done some real changes to the players. When it comes to FIFA 19s visuals, there has been a big upgrade too, while nothing massively apparent at first, you can notice what’s been tweaked and updated. The kits, stadiums and the crowds have all been given a lift and so has the players. Some of the players still have some improvements in the looks department, but they are still recognisable and the detail on them is remarkable. Where I found FIFA this year standing out is how amazing it looks when viewing it on a 4K HDR display, it almost looks like watching a real footy match on TV, now I do mean ALMOST. The animations on the players as they move about the pitch and how they interact with the ball while the run towards goal seems spot on. You get a sense that the player and ball are independent of one another and not just stuck together like glue.
Players now react to everything that goes on around them too, with little feints, touches and readjusting themselves as the run with the ball. You can notice their bodies swivel and react to how the ball is moving at their feet. Not only this, players react more realistic when striking the ball for a pass or shot on goal. You will also notice from time to time that when a player gets tackled they will roll about or shout out at the opposition for the challenge they did. There are those funny moments too where the ball will crack your player right in the face and see them wince and hold their face as they turn around in pain. There are quite a few of these little moments that really add to the overall aesthetic of the game and it’s a welcomed addition. You can also tell that a lot of time and effort has seemed to be put into the physics of the game and everything feels more weighted. What I mean is, that you feel every tackle, jostle and interception that is made, plus the actual football feels more heavier too as you run with it or shoot at goal. The overall effect just adds to the realism of the game and this is something that needs to improve with every new FIFA game.
With all being said and done, is FIFA 19 a game that is right for you? Well with the two giants of football (PES vs FIFA) battling it out each year, it’s down to your choice and what you look for in a footy game. I choose FIFA each year due to how the game plays, how it looks and of course, my beloved Pro Clubs mode! While not much has changed to Pro Clubs this year (which is why it was not touched on much in the review), it is a mode I play for the entire year until the next FIFA arrives. I do hope EA take notes from the Community and really show some love for this mode as there is HUGE potential there.
FIFA 19 is my go-to footy game and it’s hard to push me away from it. While to some it may not warrant a purchase as Career mode/Pro Clubs have been left pretty much untouched, and there has been some soreness in the Community about it. There is more than enough here for the die-hard fans to keep them coming back for more. BUT, EA definitely need to up the ante for FIFA 20!
GoG Rating: 8/10