It’s that time of the year again, the new football season means the release of another FIFA with the current year attached to the title, with a game that’s a yearly release huge changes aren’t usually expected, but with the addition of the Champions League branding FIFA 19 is out to break that trend.
Overall, FIFA 19 does everything that FIFA 18 does, but with that little bit more wow-factor. Although the biggest changes have been the extra game modes and the extra licences, the actual gameplay changes have been on the smaller scale.
One of the biggest problems that EA tends to face with the FIFA series is that the game doesn’t tend to feel how football should feel, instead, it plays how football looks on TV, swaying too much toward the presentation instead of the actual gameplay. FIFA 19 is attempting to change that with the introduction of the Active Touch System, which in an attempt to make the action seem more natural and authentic.
The way it works is; you can loft the ball to a different player and flick the right stick to control the ball in number of ways, meaning that in this situation the ball could either be controlled or set up for a volley. However, this depends on the quality of the player, so the worlds best will have no issue with this system, but lower league players with a lower skill level will see the ball pinging off into row Z.
With this new system it brings a whole new list of animations, these allow the game to feel and look much more realistic. As well as the new touch system, there has been work on battles when jockeying for the ball as there is a higher physicality rate in FIFA 19, this makes mistakes somewhat easier to recover from. The work on the battle system will go a long way in the argument of losing games due to “FIFA bullshit” or in more professional terms; a suspected predetermined outcome.
If you read my “10 things that FIFA needs to change” article last year you’d have seen that I put in that FIFA needed a Party Box mode, full of different game modes to shake things up, and with the addition of the new game modes in FIFA 19 I’m sure to accept a call from EA any day now congratulating me on the idea – seriously, you’re all welcome.
These game modes include: turning cards off, having a player sent off every time you score, or a personal favourite of mine – Heads and Volleys mode, this really does shake things up as playing Kick-Off matches again and again really does lose its magic quickly.
The changes to Kick-Off don’t stop at the extra modes, they also have the ability to play the stand-alone game as if it was a cup final, semi-final or group tie, allowing these random matches to have an extra layer of spice to them, if anything, it’ll add more tension to any FIFA tournaments, which is a nice little touch.
Since most of the marketing has been centred around the inclusion of the Champions League, Europa League and Super Cup licences, it’s incredible to play these matches and see FIFA 19 go all in as it really ramps up the overall quality. This includes the iconic “Champions” music, specific advertising and the overall atmosphere as the crowd levels can truly be felt, it feels like an expansion to the overall package, much like the FIFA World Cup expansion felt in FIFA 18.
The new licences are also added into career mode, meaning that new graphics are added to the homescreen and new cutscenes are added when choosing groups, but FIFA 18 had the career changes, so that’s it for the changes in 19.
The other small changes include animations in the crowds, such as waving flags or taking selfies, but the crowd does still include the same 8 or 9 models copy and pasted over and over again, but maybe that’ll be changed in FIFA 2020, who knows.
The graphics are consistently beautiful, really capturing the atmosphere within the stadiums, this was reviewed on an Xbox One X and the rain effects have seen a huge upgrade, but the downfall of the graphics meant some frames were lost.
The Journey returns for its last outing, it’s still god-awful but a review will be posted at a later time of just The Journey, when I feel the need to torture myself by going through the cheesy, terribly written hot garbage.
Ultimate Team returns to be the money spinner with little changes, but it isn’t clear if EA will run special events on the mode, most likely creating more and more “special” cards in an ever-growing effort to take all the cash.
FIFA 19 is a step in the right direction, building on already solid foundations that was laid by FIFA 18. The new modes will allow newcomers to settle in at their own pace and was a needed piece of the puzzle, it really has taken bold new strides in having something for everyone.
With a new football season, comes a new rendition of the classic football game, FIFA. With a few big changes, it's still the game everyone loves.
- Revamped gameplay
- New gamemodes
- Stunning graphics
- Copy-pasted crowds
- The Journey returns
- Online players still rage quit