FIFA 20, a rinse and repeat of a tried and treated formula or a refreshing new entry to the series? Well, to be honest it’s a bit of both. I don’t play FIFA Ultimate Team so that will not be in my focus, but I am a fan of the career mode and have enjoyed FIFA’s newest addition, Volta Football. Catch up on the FIFA Career Battle over on our YouTube and find out more about mine and Mike’s special FIFA relationship. This isn’t really a review as you can read mike’s here. Instead I’m just going to talk about why I have been really enjoying this game and why I think FIFA will be the premier sports game for a long time to come. If I had to score it I’d probably be at an 8/10… But without further ado, let’s get into the beef of this piece.

I cannot really directly compare it to the last entry as I never bought it, but what I will say however is that I have freaking missed this game. I know for a lot of people FIFA is kind of the joke of the gaming community; ‘hardcore’ gamers don’t like it, and think it’s EA just getting easy money, using the same game over and over. I completely and utterly disagree with this (Obviously excluding the Switch version). I think if you’re not a fan of football then I can understand where you don’t see the benefit in these games, but for me (and Mike) we’re both football fans and huge gamers, and it fulfils both of those needs. First off there is the need to have the squads as up to date as possible, and as EA abandons the previous with each new release, they gotta make money right? Anyway, onto why I like this game, and I do like it a lot.

Firstly Career Mode. Career Mode is absolutely great with enough bells and whistles around the matches to keep you entertained between, and to make you feel like you’re really managing the club. I particularly liked how in depth the whole transfer process is, and the fact that you can go through the whole process with a manager or agent only to be rejected by the player because they don’t want to move country, making it very realistic. This is the first time I’d played it on professional difficulty and tried it with anyone who wasn’t Madrid, and I really like the realistic challenge. You have to manage your players expectations and your team rota to make sure everyone is happy, and if you’ve promised someone game time and they don’t get in, they’re more likely to ask to play. Same with a new signing; them and the press will bring it up if they don’t get in for the first few games… Meaning you’re a naughty naughty manager! However this rotation really comes into play later into your season, with Madrid I’m worried I’ve sold/loaned out too many players, so I won’t be able to keep my fit squad.

I’ve been playing a career with Exeter City (hopefully you’ve heard about it) and one with Real Madrid, and the difference between the 2 has really impressed me. Club negotiations with Exeter have been tough, players haven’t wanted to move, and it all takes place in your club office. Get to Madrid and players can’t move quick enough, and you’re meeting big name managers in swanky bars and restaurants. I’ve really enjoyed the negotiations for a player fee or wage, as it really felt like a challenge to get the deal that I wanted. Essentially, the career I think is as realistic as it can be whilst still being fun to play. It offers a hell of a lot of content for people who only want to play career, and if you’re playing on the right difficulty for you, the games can be tough and rewarding. One negative is something that Mikey talked about is, for sure, the lack of care on lower leagues faces; I signed Jack Grealish to Madrid as I’m now an honorary Villa fan, and his face looks like mashed potato and I’m a bit gutted that he’ll look like this for the rest of my Madrid career! So I can absolutely sympathise with fans of newly promoted clubs, as the realism just isn’t there! Also I’ve noticed the transfer fees being unrealistically low for a lot of big players, but I’ve really not let it bother me too much. 

Anyway, onto the pitch itself, still using the Frostbite engine, I really feel like EA have perfected their gaming engine with this entry (I say this but there will be more additions next year). All these fluff words that were banded around before the game’s release are suddenly taking meaning, and I have noticed that the ball moves realistically, players are more intelligent and you have to move them around yourself into space. The passes are heavier and will follow pretty much exactly where you aim them; they won’t magically pick up a player. The battles in the box feel tough, you can’t just hope to run through players or scramble the ball into goal (OK it’s happened once or twice). The game has changed ever so slightly, but it has definitely made me better at it; the opposing teams are a lot smarter with the attacks they make, I’ve found I can’t just storm down the left and run past everyone like Speedy Gonzales! I have to move the ball around, find space, and squeeze the ball through. Essentially it’s a real joy to play as a football fan and doesn’t make me want to sim any matches! 

Also it’s the perfect quick game; last night I was so bloody tired but had enough energy for a quick game, not something heavy like The Surge… So I popped on FIFA and played a couple of games, then fell asleep! It’s also still the most fun couch game to me, I can’t wait for mine and Mikey’s next FIFA weekend (which I’m sure I’ll stream). What’s kind of crazy is that on the day I bought FIFA I was going to buy a Switch; I’d saved up for it and everything, but decided to save some money and buy FIFA instead…. And I haven’t thought about the Switch once since. 

FIFA 20 is a fantastic entry to the series, and shows to me that this will be the go-to football – no – sports game for a long time, and I can’t see me missing a year from here on out. Go and pick up a copy if you haven’t already; you’ll be hard pushed not to have fun.

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