This title was reviewed on PS4, but is also available on PC, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
For those of you that don’t know, I am a football and FIFAholic… Morning, day, and night if I am not physically playing footy then I am likely playing FIFA on the PS4. I can safely say that this year is no different and I have picked up FIFA 19 and completed a training session on the good, the bad and the exciting things that the newest installment of FIFA has to offer. Let’s get the trials underway and the heart pumping whilst we find out what FIFA 19 is really made of.
It does not matter if you are new to the franchise or an experienced veteran (1996 was my first FIFA, so my age is showing!), FIFA 19 has come into the fray with an incredible number of game modes to keep EVERYONE entertained for the next 12 months. The home screen is attractive as always and the game modes stretch from Kickoff, The Journey Champions, Career Mode, Tournaments which includes the Women’s International Cup and all the Tournaments you can imagine that occur around the world. Last but not least, the newest introduction of the UEFA Champions League is something that EA have implemented fantastically after acquiring the license from its biggest competitor; Konami’s PES series. This tournament has been put into a number of the other game modes including the fan favourite and world popular FUT (FIFA Ultimate Team).
There are a massive number of sub-game modes within each mode, which again I reiterate is enough to keep the players keen on the game and franchise for 12 months and beyond. You could be returning to what I feel is one of the best story modes ever with Alex Hunter who is now accompanied by his sister Kim and mate Danny in his life story to see how his career will pan out, playing in kick-off mode with house-rules AKA “no rules” and sliding all the players you want in the box or taking out the keeper with no repercussions. I found this to be a great stress reliever with friends and something I will continue to do if I have mates over for some FIFA.
FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) is the draw card once again for the franchise and continues to bring players back every year without fail. Things such as “special player” cards, packs you can open and use to build your own team is something that attracts most people and keeps them coming back for more. Again, whilst I consider myself to be a decent FIFA player, this game mode continues to be slightly frustrating as unless you are prepared to spend more money, other online players continue to have an advantage with better player cards and better stats resulting in what I “Ultimately” think is a pay-to-win dynamic.
Now FIFA like most repeat franchise games is not without its’ faults and I have experienced a number of them. The gameplay for veterans is something that you need to adjust to as there is more emphasis on defending manually and hitting the tackle button at the correct moment whilst also introducing additional defenders as required. The build up play feels a bit more realistic than previous years and along with the added difficulty of defending I must say I think EA has taken a step in the right direction for a more realistic game.
Whilst we are on the topic of realism, I have to say the likeness of the players has either not improved or possibly even taken a step backwards. Whilst it is only during the cutscenes, the player likeness to me is important and unless you are one of the top 20-30 players in the world I feel that EA has somewhat rushed the process. Maybe I was just expecting a larger improvement from FIFA 18 to FIFA 19. Westham for example have Marco Arnautović, he has had blonde hair since the middle of the previous season and they STILL have given him brown hair and it just doesn’t resemble him at all. It does drive me a little crazy so unless you are looking at your favourite player’s FUT player card, be prepared to look at a lesser version of the player.
With The Journey, FUT and the brilliant introduction of the UEFA Champions League into the massive range of games modes this alone is enough is for me to recommend the game to you. However, as indicated there is still plenty of room for improvement with things such as player aesthetics, realism in how the game is played, and I still would love to see a mode where there is something like FIFA street 5v5.
FIFA still currently remains the dominant force of the arcade football world with its ever expanding licensing, this along with a huge line up of game modes has helped ensure that it keeps its other competitors out of the spotlight for another year.