The formula behind FIFA’s popularity has always been a balance between accessibility and authenticity of the beautiful game. This time around FIFA 19 offers some slight gameplay improvements proving that refining a winning formula is the way forward rather than reinventing the wheel. This year’s inclusion of the Champions League as well as a host of other licensed players, teams and leagues firmly reiterate why it remains to be a dominant force in the football and overall sporting game genre.
The standout gameplay innovation in FIFA 19 is the Active Touch System which allows players to implement clever opportunities via slight variations such as movements, body feints and some fancy footwork. The Active Touch System is a joy once pulled off correctly but at the same time there are the aspects where players can duff it all together and inelegantly lose the ball to their opponent. Once mastered however the technique brings a flow to the game unlike anything before it. It changes the way players both receive and strike the ball; once your shot has been powered up you can opt to tap shoot a second time to blast the ball at a frantic pace. The 50/50 ball are affected by player attributes and determine the outcome for winning what looks like an impossible loose ball situation. While coming out worse for wear against a clearly stronger player can be frustrating at times, it adds an aspect of realism to the game that previous titles were lacking.
Another huge improvement is the overall pacing compared to FIFA 18. No longer is a ridiculously quick player able to just make their way past the defence. A greater emphasis has been put on finding and utilising the fields space properly. This more realistic pacing allows for a more authentic experience.
The primary reason that FIFA 19 stands out from the crowd is the overall experience that is delivered. Everything from the menu system to online connectivity and general accessibility. Going through the various modes you immediately have a sense of wanting to return to play more of your favourite mode. The UEFA mode introduces two new commentators, Derek Rae and retired defender, Lee Dixon. It’s always a bonus having more voices to commentate especially after years and years of Martin Tyler and Alan Smith. Other than the occasional glitch in context the commentary remains much the same as previous instalments. The Champions League as well as the Europa League have been integrated into the career mode, with the Champions League available directly from the Kick-Off menu. The Kick-Off mode is the general mode that traditionally offers little other than standard exhibition matches. In FIFA 19 it has undergone an overhaul with nine new game modes available including the House Rules section, which introduce the No Rules mode. This means no offsides and no fouls (hence no bookings) it’s unadulterated, glorious chaos.
The Journey once again returns for its third instalment of the Alex Hunter story. If Bend It Like Beckham is your favourite movie and you’re up to date with the latest episode of Isidingo then you are in for a treat. The more or less 16 hour campaign take you on the path of three separate stories; one per main protagonist. Alex Hunter, his teen sister Kim and the dimwitted rising star Danny Williams. The Journey can be played as a collective or split into three separate scenarios. It’s without a doubt a mode that will appeal to some more than others especially if you’ve experienced the previous two reiterations.
Banjo wielding, moonshine drinking, dungaree enthusiast. When not laying back on the porch couch he will be found making minor additions to his porcelain dog home décor.
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PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
28 September 2018
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