It’s that time of year again for football fans, EA has provided us with another installment in the Fifa series this one being Fifa 19. I have personally been out of the game for a while seeing as the last one I played was Fifa 16 but after watching some trailers and wanting to join my friends Pro club team, I decided it was time to jump back into the franchise and see if it still lives up to the hype of being the best Football game available.
Fifa has been around now for a while, with games getting released every year, it’s good to see that they are still able to add fresh new ideas and game modes for us to sink our teeth into. The Champions League makes its debut and is fantastic fun, adding new elements to the career mode and also The Journey campaign. I personally love setting up my own Champions league in the kick off mode and playing out the tournament from start to finish, who’d of thought Doncaster Rovers could win! But the fun didn’t stop there as we’re offered alternative modes like Survival, which is a funny twist on the battle royale game type that has taken the gaming industry by storm. Don’t worry your favourite footballers aren’t in a fight to the death but instead by scoring you’ll lose a player which makes it more challenging to win the match, and with rules being tighter makes for a tense game of football. Though my favourite game mode to play was No Rule this is a match that has no bookings, fouls or offsides. Talk about a hardcore game of football right?
We see the return of The Journey, with Alex Hunter, Kim Hunter, and Danny Williams. I didn’t get to play Fifa 18 but when I heard that it had a single player revolving around made up characters, I thought it was EA running out of ideas for the game, that being said it has to be one of my favourite things to do in Fifa 19. I loved the flowing story, the choices you make to define these characters and also trying to make them excel in the world of football, even if I did make Danny Williams play for Watford, I’ll make him the best striker they have ever had. The customisable side to the characters is a nice touch and just adds that sense of personalisation that can go along way in video games.
Fifa wouldn’t be complete without Ultimate Team, I didn’t see the hype behind this game mode until my friend sat me down and went through it all with me, and after going through the tutorial parts to the game I actually admit I was wrong about it and it was fun. For my ultimate squad, I have decided to build two squads; a Japanese one and an English nationality one. I loved the bidding wars for players and the adrenaline you get from opening new packs just hoping to bag a winner. I still need to master getting coins and some elements of the gameplay which I’ll come onto shortly, but I can see a considerable amount of my time in Fifa 19 playing Ultimate Team and of course Seasons. Love Seasons, mainly for the online as it’s very competitive and rewarding. If you have the ability to play online then Seasons, Ultimate and Pro clubs are the best! Playing against other players and playing along-side your friends is captivating and offers hours of gameplay, whether that be getting your dream team together in Ultimate Team, making that dream squad from you and your friends Pro players, or trying to get into the higher divisions in seasons. When Fifa added the ability to make your own player it made me laugh but at the same time happy, I’m currently a 6 foot 2 striker for Doncaster Rovers, we jokingly call me the powerhouse in the Pro clubs because of being so tall and the target man up front.
The big new changes to this year’s game are the Timed Finishing and Tactical Defending. Timed finishing reminds me of the reloading system that is present in Gears of War which when you time you to reload correctly it’s done faster. This is similar in Fifa where if you take a shoot and press the shoot button again, just at the right moment will make for it more powerful and an accurate shot.I f you don’t time it right which happens to me 90% of the time, you end up just missing sitters and getting very frustrated at the game, though don’t worry if you’re like me and have difficulty using this new mechanic you can disable it in the menu and go back to the old style, which personally I prefer as I still need to spend many more hours in the practice arena taking shots to perfect my timing. Tactical Defending allows for the player to time your tackles and maintains the positions of your team, however, this type of defending just means for me that I lose most of my games. I don’t like the change at all and has pretty much made most of my online game end 5-5 or 6-7 due to neither side defending correctly. While offline you can go back to legacy defending which for me makes the game playable but this tactical defend just seems to have every player running at the ball at once and creating huge pile-ups and making the simplest breaks become impossible. I use to be able to do through balls and lobs like a dream in previous games but now it just ends in pile-ups of both teams and scoring through the easy loss of possession. I don’t like this one bit but sadly it’s something I’m going to have to get used to.
I love the mechanic that’s in the campaign that allows you to negotiate contracts with players. It makes the whole manager side of things more fun and realistic. It adds that extra factor into the game that makes it feel fresh and unique. Just like the traits you get for your Pro and The journey characters that help you build your players to your play style, it’s why my Pro players is a beast in the air because I pumped him full of heading accuracy.
Graphically this installment is the best in the series and really makes playing the game on PlayStation 4 Pro a wonder. It makes you feel as if you’re watching a real game of football, combine this with the commentators and fans really makes for an overwhelming experience and actually makes you feel as though you’re there in the stadium. Though the commentators after a few matches, do my head in as they just repeat the same phrases or just make stupid comments that just aren’t needed so most of the time they are muted. The soundtrack for the game is good, like previous games you have your favourites and then you have your “what the hell is this song?” moments but it comes together to make the music for when you are in the menus and lobby areas.
Every year we expect a Fifa game and every year we get one, the new features that they add could easily come out in an update and wouldn’t need another game but for fans of the series it’s a time of year where they can start the fun from scratch and build everything from the ground up. Sure it has its hickups, like with the new mechanics this year that for me personally I didn’t take to and most of the time I had them disabled but there is much more to the game to make it stand out. The champion’s league feels at home in the game and The journey campaign keeps offer that unique flair to the game which you don’t find in any other football games. Online the place to be as football is competitive at the best of times and even more so when you add gamers into the mix. Even though I get frustrated it’s highly addictive and I love every minute of it. Saying this I would not recommend Fifa to anyone that hasn’t played it before, this is purely because I believe that it has its target market and if you were going to get it you would have already done so or waiting to pick it up because you have played previous installments. Don’t get me wrong, it is a good game but compared to other games on the market Fifa doesn’t feel fresh enough to come first but it’s one of the games that you buy eventually. For these reasons, I’m happy to give Fifa 19 an 8/10 for showing us that it doesn’t just hold the Champions League trophy this year but also best football!