FIFA has been around for decades. Each year we get a new installment and each year it improves significantly, or so I’m told. See, I’m not a huge FIFA guy. The last game I bought was when South Africa hosted the World Cup. So, in order to give YOU the best possible feedback, I enlisted the aid of my closest friends. These guys are mad about football and are also avid FIFA day one buyer.

Needless to say, I was pounded by my peers. Their years of experience certainly gave them the edge. However, with some natural gaming ability and tons of luck, I managed to send one past the keeper! What a rush! With that said, I finally get it. I finally understand the immense skill and joy of playing soccer on screen. I’ll admit, it did genuinely feel like scoring a real goal. For a moment I thought I was still a kid, playing with his friends in the real field! And so, I now believe I have discovered the secret to FIFA’s long-running success.

Graphics

I am sure you already know that the visuals on FIFA are forever improving. Nothing quite compares to seeing Mo Salah’s face after he drives the ball straight past the keeper on the top right, those are just the fine tunes from last year. Personally, I would use the crowd as the benchmark, to see the digital fan reactions really add a sense of realism to the game. To some, this may be a ‘nice to have’ feature or aesthetic but FIFA developers know, every single pixel matters.

The crowd is detailed and the animation has enough variation to help with its… well… Variation. This, in turn, leads me to the celebration. Goal celebration is one of the most fun aspects of the game! After all, putting in goals is what FIFA is all about. So trust me on this, the celebrations are so much more rewarding.

Gameplay

When it comes to gameplay, the dynamics have changed. This is what the real players want! Sure graphics are important, but pretty games with no depth tire easily. This game has continued its journey to ultra-realism. The first touch has become a lot more touch-sensitive. This forces one to achieve greater ball control. The difficulty extends itself to both dribbling and defending.

Passing has become more accuracy orientated, with particular attention to detail using aim and power. Jeremy Clarkson would not approve. More so, as the old ‘one-man show’ of stealing the ball or making a break for it is gone. It’s all about the team now.

You will have to improve your man-marking skills and this tool will be critically important for your counter attacks. This (amongst so many other aspects) is where my game was hurt a lot. I just could not get ball possession back fast enough. I had to rely on my goalkeeper, which is risky, to say the least. Thankfully, the goalies AI has been radically enhanced. That guy saves me more than a few times.

One thing you wouldn’t think you’d enjoy is actually the commentators! Commentators are more natural. They do not seem to repeat generic one-liners. I am sure though after enough time you will start to see repetition, but unless you OCD then it isn’t really a problem. The commentary does make the game more fun and allows for some added ribbing for your friends.

Longevity

I think the answer is evident. FIFA will always have longevity. It has cemented itself as the benchmark in the football gaming world. Available on all formats and fully licensed it is constantly evolving. Having the game still connect online helps keep everything very current. And this applies to stats as well. Your favorite team not doing too well in the Premier League? Well you going to see them drop on FIFA too.

FUT

To the uninitiated (mostly me) FUT is actually FIFA Ultimate Team. This is where you can build a team with players from any of the leagues in the game. You can then either play online or offline and start to win coins. This allows you to buy new players and grow.

Online is, of course, better as there are various modes to paly to start earning coins. Division Rivals is a prime example. You can even qualify to play in major events against professional FIFA players. Essentially it is geared to reward those who put in the effort and continuously try to hone their skills.  For a more in-depth look check out the link below

https://www.ea.com/games/fifa/fifa-19/ultimate-team/beginners-guide-fut

Volta

This is a 5 a side game where you get to play in the streets or localized grounds. It’s a fun addition that adds a new dynamic to the game. It allows for an actioned packed game. The kits are fully customizable which allows players to express their artistic side.

Verdict

FIFA will always be a fan favorite. Much like the real world football, it has a cult following. Sure there are other options out there. However, nothing quite brings the game home, as FIFA does. Like the old EA saying goes… “If it’s in the game. It’s in the game.”

It is easy for returning fans to simply pick up the latest edition. What about newcomers?  It’s not hard at all. I was able to find my feet quite quickly. Sure the game is hard and getting on par with my peers will take some grinding but it has amazing tutorials that help fast track the learning curb. But achieving excellence comes down to experience. There are options to dial down the intensity and difficulty levels but I strongly advise against that. Rough it out. Soon you will find yourself getting those elusive crosses right. And then you will start putting more balls at the back of the net.

The more you succeed the more you crave. If that doesn’t encapsulate the essence of the game, then I suppose not much else will. Like I said earlier, I haven’t bought a copy in ages, but now that I have played it, I have fallen in love with it. I will be button mashing and soon I will be ready… I will return to my friends and I will dominate!!!!

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