The FIFA video game franchise is one of the most popular in the world. The game is an online sensation, with millions of different people logging on throughout the day on different systems. When FIFA 20’ came out I was in Amsterdam. I kept hearing all kinds of bad reviews about the game and some of the changes added by the developers, EA Sports. Traditionally the game typically comes out around my birthday, September 28th. I have almost always gone at midnight to purchase the game as soon as it came out. Sadly I could not do that this year because I instead took an amazing trip to England, Amsterdam, and France. By the way, Amsterdam is one of the coolest countries I have ever been to. If you ever get the chance I would highly suggest checking it out. The people are so nice, everyone speaks English, and they have some of the best food in Europe. France I can take it or leave it, but I believe every American should see the National Cemetery at Normandy. It was an amazing experience and one of these days I will upload some of my photos of the trip.
Having returned home now I have purchased the game and have been playing it since I returned from Europe, and I thought a review would be a cool thing to do. I have purchased FIFA back to 96’ so I have seen the changes in development since I was shooting with Zidane with and Trezeguet from the French World Cup side that won in 1998. It is certainly evident the game has changed drastically over the past few years. I can certainly understand some of the issues people have with this one.
Firstly the game has completely changed the way you put in a free-kick. Online I am 56-3-15 and I have yet to score off a free kick in any game I have played, including against the CPU. Instead of in past years where there was no target needed to find the upper right-hand side of the corner, for some reason EA decided it was. This is a glaring issue in the game that bothers me. It’s impossible to make a free kick at any distance. I have only made them in the practice arena after several different practices. I only made maybe 3 or 4 during 10 practice sessions. I do not know why they would change that particular part of free kicks. The target also gets larger the longer you hold down O, which also makes no sense. Without a doubt, the worst addition to free kicks is the way you put dip and swerve on them. The weird series of different motions to make with the right stick is the dumbest addition to the game in years, although I do remember in years past having something similar, they changed it because players hated it. It was never easy to get the ball in the net with the old games, but you could do it with about the same regularity as in real football.
The second thing that is a travesty is how they have changed how you head the ball. Back when FIFA 15 came out I had injured by foot and had to sit around the house for 2 months. I got pretty good and won over 2000 games. In FIFA 15' the heading was way too easy. With Dortmund, all that was needed was across from Reus and O with Lewandowski and the ball went into the net with proper aiming. The only goals I have scored with headers in 20’ have been odd ones when the keeper parries the ball upwards and it’s a tap in. I had one that would have been glorious, it was headed toward the goal and the Lenglet thought it was necessary to tap in what would have been a great header. Oh well, a goal is a goal. Almost every time I try to put a header on target it spends wildly off course. The power is also a huge issue. Holding the O button used to be the gauge of how hard your header would be directed at the keeper. Now it seems to be nothing more than a guess on how high the ball will sail over the top of the goal. It’s awful, as headers traditionally have been amazing ways to score a goal.
The third problem ties in a bit with the 2nd, and that is that corners are almost impossible to score on-off of direct balls. Even with Messi whipping the ball in at full speed, and running the “Crowding the Keeper” option for the play, the ball is much easier to defend than in previous years. Choosing a player inside the box and having the ball swung in is always the best bet, even with that I have only scored 2 goals by way of direct headers.
Some of the other issues are smaller, but noticeable by those who have always played the game. For instance, when defending now skill moves seemingly have more of an effect on the defender. I have always been a straight-up, no skill move player. I have always felt all they do is make the game seem more realistic while making the player feel cool, only to have the ball stripped away from them right after. That is still the case most of the time, but sometimes you get magically passed without the opportunity to tackle. They seemingly are trying to make it realistic, but it is just unrealistic. There are differences in keepers as well. It seems to me that sometimes the keepers have ridiculous games. Today I had one game where I won 6-3 against Liverpool playing with Barca. I had 30 shots 28 of which were on target, yet Marc Andre Ter-Stegen did not save a single shot of the 3 goals that were scored. To me, that is just absurd. As some of my shots were finesse shots with Messi that nearly always go in off his left foot.
On the bright side, they have done a great job with ball flight. The ball dips and swerves the way it would in a regular game. EA’s designers have put quite a bit of emphasis on the physics of ball flight, and it has turned out well so far. Finesse shots are still a great way to score, along with the low driving shot, especially at close range. Most players I have found so far think it’s a good idea to move all their players except 2 defenders forward. Fortunately, the long ball using Triangle R1 is still just as accurate as ever, especially when using players like Ivan Rakitic. The gameplay is pretty seamless with few skips, although sometimes the ball will randomly pop far too high in the air.
All and all the game is 8 out of 10, with some of the new additions not adding anything to the game. Mostly the game follows the same guidelines as the previous ones in the series. It is still fun to play. Despite its shortcomings, I am sure that in years to come I will stop by Wal-Mart around midnight and buy it will all the other football fanatics. If anyone has experienced other things they didn’t like please comment in the 5 Stripes Maven letting me know so I can add them.