Where to start with the latest edition to the franchise that is EA’s FIFA 20… Well for starters, I can categorically say that it’s definitely better than FIFA 19 in so many ways already. FIFA 20 may just be the much needed comeback for EA after the past three editions have not gone down well at all by most of the community. It’s safe to say that EA had plenty of issues carried over from FIFA 19 that had to be solved for 20 – especially with PES 2020 making somewhat of a claim to the football simulating throne this year. EA has given a host of overall changes to FIFA 20, but there are still those few niggles here and there that could be fixed with the usual patches in the near future.
FIFA has primarily become an online platform now since the introduction of Ultimate Team, but what made FIFA’s of the past great was undoubtedly Career Mode, and fans have been crying out for huge changes to it. The question is, did EA really make huge changes to career mode for 20? Well it’s both a “Yes” and “No”. The new changes to Career Mode, such as customising your manager and facing the media, make it more personal, but it still lacks the gameplay-to-personal influence that PES gets right in Master League. However, it is a step in the right direction towards the mode that was the launching pad to the success of Ultimate Team. Though I am still sad that no meaningful gameplay changes were made to Career Mode that give you more significant influence over the growth of your players to what you want them to be – as it should be in my opinion.
…“the journey” you go on in Volta Football is one that is interactive and satisfying…
Volta Football mode is the biggest indication that EA are willing to give the community an alternative to Ultimate Team. The Volta Football story mode makes The Journey look like it never should have been in a football game to begin with (go figure). Gameplay aside, “the journey” you go on in Volta Football is one that is interactive and satisfying – with a plethora of cosmetic items to make your home ground and you look like anything you want to be while kicking a ball. Whether you are playing 3v3, 4v4, or 5v5, each mode is fun in its own kind of way to suit the needs of both casual and hard-core players alike. However, there is one severe downfall to the Volta Mode that may kill the mode undeservingly.
For some reason, EA thought it would be a good idea to not be able to play with your friends online in the same team on Volta. The fact that this is the ideal mode to play with and alongside your friends kind of baffles me a little bit. Hopefully, in the near future, they somehow put a mode in that allows you to do this on both Kick Off and the Volta Football story mode. All in all, Volta is incredibly fun once you get the hang of the skill stick, and for me is a mode that is – dare I say it – here to stay for a very long time.
It comes to no surprise that EA have dedicated – once again – most of their attention to FUT, and they have further boosted it with a few important new changes. They have added a sort-of season objective, milestones and foundations that you can complete over the course of a season to unlock rewards at – wait for it – your own time, with the deadline over a month long. This gives every player sufficient time to complete objectives towards players they want, rather than rushing players to do things. You can see that EA have really tried to make the Menu content friendlier to the casual player without much time to play on the weekdays.
Other than that, FUT remains relatively the same with Rivals, Squad Battles and Weekend League not having any noticeable worthy changes to write about. Other changes are mainly cosmetic, such as being able to unlock banners called “Tifos”, which are portrayed on your home ground as a personal touch. With that being said, FUT did not really need a ton of changes, because it is already such a successful formula that allows FIFA to dominate the online space – and therefore majority of the player base with regards to other football simulators.
The problems of timed finishing and goalkeeper movement have been nerfed sufficiently to keep momentum in the game…
FIFA 20’s gameplay can still be incredibly frustrating, but it is a drop in the ocean compared to the diabolical monstrosity of FIFA 19’s gameplay. FIFA 20 gameplay is noticeably smoother and the new ball mechanics make shooting very satisfying – even if you don’t hit the back of the net. The problems of timed finishing and goalkeeper movement have been nerfed sufficiently to keep momentum in the game without being game-breaking in anyway. Hats off to EA with regards to these two problems; they found a way to fit it into the game rather well considering how hated they were in 19. You are rewarded for breaking your opponent down, and scoring on the regular from outside the box has become a thing of the past – that’s not to say you still can’t, it just requires more skill and body position to execute now.
FIFA still retains its arcade-style feel compared to PES, which is trying to simulate the real rhythm of football. However, the nerf of not being able to chain skill moves has significantly impacted the way players play the game now – in that players now actually play what we term in the FIFA community, “playing good FIFA”. None of those “cheesy” goals of FIFA 19 exist anymore, except the random few now and then – but that is to be expected when there still a few bugs that need to be patched. That’s the thing with FIFA 20: it’s only a few correct patches here and there to possibly take it up there with FIFA’s back in the day before FUT. At the moment the game is again – dare I say it – not frustrating enough for controllers to break and fun. Yes I did say fun! It’s by no means perfect, there are still some issues with the decisive tackling mechanics and rebounding goals – but it’s nothing that patches in the right places can’t fix.
Overall, FIFA 20 has not dynamically had a host of changes to the gameplay, it’s actually very similar to what we got in 19. The huge difference, however, is the subtle changes that have been addressed to some major extent in 20. What this has done is made the game more refined and rewarding to the hard-core player like myself, but also fun for the casual player to not be discouraged by the randomness that made 19 frustrating. With a few fixes here and there, FIFA 20 is on its way to becoming the premier football simulator that PES may struggle to compete with… Other than the fact that they still hold the rights to most of the major leagues, tournaments and clubs of course.
FIFA 20’s biggest improvements are subtle, but thanks to the inclusion of Volta Football mode and refinements to gameplay, it safely takes the throne yet again.