The wait is finally over – FIFA 20 is here.
There are many new features to feast your eyes on in EA Sports’ latest edition of the FIFA series, so we thought we’d break this review down into segments based on each game mode to make life simple for you – because, you know, we’re nice like that.
Before diving head first into age-old modes such as Ultimate Team, Career Mode and Pro Clubs, what better way to kick off our review than to analyse the new ‘Volta’ game mode – a modern-day spin-off from the iconic FIFA Street game.
A bit more focused on realistic possibilities rather than Peter Crouch performing rainbow flicks alongside Ronaldinho (not that the big man isn’t capable of such, of course), EA’s new Volta mode hits the nail on the head in terms of indoor football, as well as life inside the cage.
Early days on the game mode may have you feeling like your player has the same amount of ‘tekkers’ as Danny Welbeck had on Manchester United’s pre-season tour back in 2013, but it does require patience as your pro develops their ability.
I managed to find the back of the net twice in my first ever taste of Volta – which bodes well for the rest of you – with the aptly-named ‘Skillz Boii’ putting on a real show for those watching this intense game of indoor football.
There he is, with the little red marker above his head – what a legend.
Contrastingly to past FIFAs, in which you could only edit your player with masculine features, you now rightly have the choice to make your player a women, with women’s features and hairstyles – good stuff from EA.
With every passing game, Volta mimics the player progression model from Pro Clubs in which you earn skill points to spend on enhancing chosen attributes for your player – you can also unlock different pieces of clothing to make your pro look the part as he develops in the Volta world.
You also have the chance to fly all around the world – yes, there’s even a cut-scene of you on a plane – where you can compete in tournaments in all sorts of venues – the amount of skill points and shop progression you obtain depends on how successful you are at the competition.
All in all, EA have smashed it with this fresh game mode, which gives players the chance to step away from the grass and hone their talents in a smaller-scale environment.
Not too much different to past FIFAs, but still some noteworthy features nonetheless.
Firstly, a lot more emphasis has been placed on allowing you to make your manager, or player, as unique as you’d like them to be.
I opted to start a Manager Mode with my beloved Crystal Palace, where I named my boss after the legend that is Roy Hodgson – having said that, giving him the same name was about all that I did in terms of matching the 72-year-old.
Ignore the atrocious pink blazer and black beanie combo for a second, and you may wonder where this terribly-dressed manager is.
Well, after watching your side win, lose or draw a game, you have to option to attend a post-match interview where you can share your thoughts on the game.
Similar to The Journey in which Alex Hunter’s words would be deemed either ‘cool’ or ‘fiery’, your manager’s comments now have an effect on squad morale – be sure not to criticise them too heavily after a loss, or be too cocky in your responses after a win.
On that note, squad morale is perhaps the other most significant addition to Career Mode – those of you who struggle to keep your players happy on Football Manager won’t want to hear that.
Ignoring a player’s plea to start a game can prove costly, with their morale potentially slipping into the red zone.
Much more realistic from EA, although you may argue the fact that Jordan Ayew scoring away at Tottenham to put Palace 1-0 up is nowhere near as accurate to real-life events.
Career Mode: 7/10
Again, like Career Mode, not too much has changed.
Other than some smoother transitions and a much easier way to hand your players’ contracts, injury healers and so on, the classic Ultimate Team mode remains pretty much the same – which is not a bad thing by any means, as it has always been a fun, opportunity-laden experience.
Having said that, one main difference is the added focus on crowd atmosphere, with ‘tifos’ even being available to you to ensure that your stadium of choice has the most passionate fans around.
Ultimate Team: 8/10
Another hugely popular feature which hasn’t had too much of a drastic overhaul is Pro Clubs.
Things are pretty much the same other than layout changes similar to those found in Ultimate Team, although as aforesaid when discussing Volta, the options when designing your pro are almost endless.
Women’s hairstyles and boots join forces with men’s hairstyles and boots to allow you complete free reign over what you want your pro to look like.
There isn’t too much that needs changing in regards to Pro Clubs anyway, seeing as at the end of the day, the fun you have while playing it with friends and watching the opposition have a 5 foot 5 goalkeeper in between the sticks is unparalleled to anything else on FIFA.
Pro Clubs: 8.5/10
Almost immediately after taking to the latest FIFA, you will feel that the game is slower with more importance being placed on building the play up from the back.
Dribbling, passing and choosing your moments take precedence over simply sprinting past your opponents, whilst the so-called ‘overpowered’ finesse shots from FIFA 19 have been refined to normality – phew.
It must be noted that free-kicks will potentially cause you a bit of confusion early on.
Instead of the old way of doing things, there is now a circle which you can move around (as you can see in the above image of a penalty scenario), where you have the option to knuckle-ball your shot and so on.
I’d love to tell you how to nestle one into the top corner in Cristiano Ronaldo vs Portsmouth fashion, but admittedly, I am still having trouble executing them myself. But practice makes perfect, so don’t be disheartened.