FIFA 20 Review

Releasing its 27th installment in the FIFA series, on 27th September 2019, officially Electronic Arts have made their next football simulation game available for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. Since its release, the game has received mixed feedbacks on social media platforms and predominantly all these comments focused on how it could have turned out to be the best. As we all know that it’s not something new and the franchise has also promised to improve certain areas of gameplay for their fans. But that will not hinder the franchise’s progress in developing the patch for their new product, in spite of all the complaints regarding the in-game bugs.

EA Sports’ latest release – FIFA 20 is an all-action all the time feature, bringing out the best of gameplays in recent days. Of course, it won’t suit the gentle hearted, but will be a delight for the gaming addicts who are ready to play it late at night, in spite of tons of commitments for the next day. One revolutionary move from the gaming giant is that, FIFA 20 will be the the first entry in EA Sports’ long-running football series to feature mixed-gender games.

To make it precise and short, whatever the user’s mode of choice can be, the new update keeps up to the reputation of remaining one of the classics in the arena. With enhanced graphical elements and a wide variety of options to customize the game has drawn itself closer to the user than ever before. The inclusion of the usual array of authentic teams and kits is another good news for its fans.

Gameplay

In terms of corrections, the franchise has clearly tried to replicate the pace of the actual game, a constant complaint from many in the past years. Whereas loyal players of FIFA will cherish all new changes including the ball in FIFA 20 travels much slower on the ground and in the air, more so with the latter. The inaccuracies are higher for lob passes and through balls, especially if players with a lower “Vision” rating are delivering them. The improved realism can also be felt in the weight and bounce of the ball and thereby showing how players interact with the ball with other parts of their bodies except their legs. This gives birth to new player animations that include outside-of-the-foot ball flicks with the ball at mid-player height, trapping, passing and assisting goals with their chest, and doesn’t stop there. It also enables using different parts of the forehead for headers.

The most effective gameplay change in FIFA 20 is to set-pieces: free-kicks and penalties. A fully-revised setup changes the way the ball is targeted and angled into the nets during such match defining moments. Bringing back the target circle for the first time in 15 years, although it’s not as easy as it used to be. Unfortunately, the sad news is that new bugs seem to have crept in with the new gameplay changes in FIFA 20. The biggest of the lot is off-the-ball fouls worsening it even more as it seems to go unrecognized by the AI referees in the game. Both pro- and street football, have witnessed players being knocked down to the ground by an opponent and there’s not much work done in that part.

FIFA Ultimate Team

Making a giant leap by learning from other games, Ultimate Team in FIFA 20 now offers “seasonal” objectives that will help you with loan players, packs, coin boosts, stadiums, themes, badges, and balls to explore the deeper you dive. Each season will last a-month-and-a half or so before the items on offer are refreshed and you start over. Of course, that’s assuming you get time to look outside of the menus that take away most of the time in Ultimate Team which is also the issue with the mode in general.

The mode will also feature 88 icon players including Carlos Alberto, John Barnes, Kenny Dalglish, Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, Garrincha, Pep Guardiola, Kaká, Ronald Koeman, Andrea Pirlo, Ian Rush, Hugo Sánchez, Ian Wright, Gianluca Zambrotta and Zinedine Zidane for the first time.

Introduction of two new game modes namely King of the Hill and Mystery Ball will also be added in Ultimate Team following their previous inclusion in kick-off mode. Mystery Ball gives the attacking side boosts to passing, shooting, dribbling, speed or all attributes, adding unpredictability to every match. And King of the Hill sees players fight for possession in a generated zone on the pitch to boost the amount the next goal is worth.

Licensing

As always, FIFA 20 comes with an insane amount of licensed clubs, tournaments and stadiums from around the world. The game will feature more than 30 official leagues under its name with over 700 clubs and over 17,000 players it stands alike with real football scenarios. Whilst the FIFA fans have gone crazy over social media debating the franchise’s efforts in terms of retaining certain licenses in FIFA 20, where the game has suffered severely. Included for the first time is the Romanian Liga I and its 14 teams, as well as UAE club – Al Ain, who were added following extensive requests from the fans in the region.

The new addition – Piemonte Calcio, is the team that will replace the loss of Juventus’ license to Konami Corporation, whereas Cristiano Ronaldo’s stance and attributes of other team players are meticulously designed to cope up well. But critics claim that it will not be enough to compensate for the loss of Italy’s most successful club which is currently out of EA’s licensing radar. To add on to the issue, FC Bayern Munich also formed a limited partnership with Konami for PES 2020, which forced EA to remove their ground – the Allianz Arena, from FIFA 20.

In spite of all the commotions, FIFA 20 will retain the exclusive licenses to the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, and UEFA Super Cup which were first made available in FIFA 19. Therefore resuming the deal includes authentic broadcast packages, branding and custom commentary possible in the new release.

As a part of its extensive new licensing deal, 13 new stadiums in the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga will be included in the long list. It includes BayArena, Mercedes-Benz Arena, Red Bull Arena and Volkswagen Arena to be featured in the game.

Career Mode

The most expected element introduced in Career mode is the long-awaited Manager Creation tool, but that’s only a small cosmetic improvement. As the new career mode feature which has created much buzz in the football gaming arena turns out to be – Dynamic Player Potential. It is quite simple, as the player’s potential will decrease if they aren’t performing well or not getting enough playtime and improve when they’re in form.

This will also be the first Manager Career in FIFA to have female managers, where one can import the faces of female players that have been created in Volta mode. The all new – Dynamic menus now take after the manager or player’s outfit and even the tournament one is playing in. An introduction of two new meeting environments – a night-time restaurant and a late afternoon bistro, set the ambience for the conversations between the in-game characters, especially for transfer negotiated in-person. A much more user-interactive feature in Career mode is that the in-game screenshots will be used to decorate the highlights section in the main menu. Thus providing the user a sense of adoption towards the virtual gaming world, making its own trends and settling apart from the rest of today’s games.

It is also no wonder that the fans have taken certain cons seriously as to post them on social media, where the hash-tag #FixCareerMode has been trending on Twitter. And the spokesperson on behalf of EA Sports – Corey Andress, took to his own Twitter to apologize for all the shortcomings. He also made it clear that exact changes can be made, but they will obviously take some time and will not me made immediately. On issues related to Career mode, he has expressed regret that the first patch is already on its way and that the Career mode fixes will not be an inclusion in that patch.

The AI Impact

The game has now risen up to a new phase of style here, held together by AI team-mates who consciously hold position in midfield and defense. However, the AI does volunteer itself and gets a lot more involved in the center of the pitch, actively looking to cut out and intercept passes, making it harder to play through the middle. Even for Pro gamers, this feature has been a nightmare when it comes to penetrate the defense and score goals, making the game tougher which can also be a good thing.

Whereas such timely involvement is much appreciated during the game, when it comes to playing chipped through balls, accurately directed towards the receiver. It is almost impossible for the user to control such sensitive touches in the game, while rushing towards the defenses. But, all of that is now possible, thanks to the AI’s ability to read the players positions and react accordingly and on time. This ensures flow in the game, by balancing the workload on the pitch with the user equally.

VOLTA

The VOLTA is purely one of its kind, the users even feel like playing a different game and not any game mode under the FIFA franchise, compared to their previous FIFA experience. With FIFA Street already in the market, they knew that they had to something different to redefine the elements of street football.  The FIFA team has worked enormously here, making customization the key feature of the Volta mode. From new shoes to tattoos and crazy hairstyles, the user has the freedom to personalize the player and teammates by buying items with Volta coins, which are earned by winning games. Though the gameplay is all that matters, here it’s all about showmanship, skills and deceiving the opponent with every move inside the court.

In Volta Story, the user is made to walk in the shoes of street football crew J10, led by real-life street soccer star Jayzinho, which revolves around the world from Tokyo to Buenos Aires. Although it doesn’t dhave that rush of The Journey, the variety of locations, gloss and neon make it an electrifying experience inside the living room. A diverse range of locations enables the addressing of a player’s home court, bringing in a sense of belonging for the user in this new venture. Also every time the user beats a team, they can recruit one of the opponent’s players. Finally, Volta is a less restrictive scenario than Ultimate Team where one can balance chemistry value with players from different home courts.

Having successfully producing an online mode in Ultimate Team, EA Sports seems to have a new gift with a curse in the name of street football. Unfortunately, Volta is also an always-online mode and it kicks you out even mid-game if your Internet connection drops. This is the last thing any FIFA fan would have asked for, which is a sad new especially in countries like India.

Undoubtedly, the best ever addition to a FIFA game that makes the game seem more fun and interesting in terms of its visuals and themes. Whether it be skills, dribbles, celebrations or anything in the field that brings out the feel of the game, EA has compressed it all into this street style football and there’s no compromising on that.

Bottom Line

If you really look deeper into the game, not much has changed from FIFA 19 except for the inclusion of Volta. But, kudos to the team for making some major changes in Career mode, after taking in some really worthy criticisms in the past, whereas some areas still need extra attention. At last, the gameplay has improved by a big margin compared to its predecessor from last year and game analysts suggest that there are chances of betterment.

As the word ‘Volta’ literally refers to turning point, the franchise might just have reached one when they released their latest edition. Overall, FIFA 20 turns out to become one of the revolutionary addition to the series in years, with fewer corrections and they are definitely heading towards the right direction. 

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