FIFA 19 - A reinvigorated classic.

FIFA has been a part of my video game life for as long as I can remember. It has dominated the football genre & is, by far, the best football game I’ve ever played.

However, that’s not to say it hasn’t produced inferior versions in between superior one’s. For me, this was most certainly the case for a number of years. People will immediately blame EA’s Frostbite engine & I was one of those people, but my opinion has now changed. This year’s instalment has been one of the best I’ve played, in what feel’s like forever & an age. The game feels a lot more fluid then it’s predecessors & the passing is back to what I remember it was on FIFA 09, 10 & 11. That’s a huge interval!

For a game/sport that is mainly about passing a ball, you would like to think that this would always be at the top of the list during the development process, yet the last few titles felt like a downgrade in this respect. In more recent releases of the game the passing felt slow, inaccurate & generally all over the place. Some people may have more criticisms to add or possibly even none at all, yet for me the passing is what always made or broke the game.

I do sit and ponder as to whether the developers purposely sabotage or slightly taint scheduled releases of their games, so it’s something they can ‘improve on’ in the following year’s release. It sound’s absurd, I know, but it’s the only plausible answer for me when faced with a question such as ‘the passing on the last game was great. Why/How has the passing changed so much & now it’s worse?’. I appreciate that there’s only so much change that can be made to a football game every year (besides the players) & when it comes to marketing the game, then they need strong key words/phrases to promote it, for e.g., improved passing, better shooting & more realism than ever before! Depending on what it is, I am an advocate to the phrase ‘if it isn’t broken, then don’t fix it’ & I believe this should have been applied to FIFA 15, 16, 17 & 18. That’s a lot of ‘broken’ games.

This year’s release has been nothing but enjoyment & since purchasing it, I haven’t looked back (only when there’s a defender running in from behind). Ultimate Team is a game mode that may not be for all & once upon time I couldn’t think of anything worse. What bothered me was the ‘pay to win’ feel or more accurately the ‘pay to play’. The reason I say the latter is because I remember not being able to play a game online due to the fact that I had no contracts, fitness or healing cards & I refused to put a single penny into buying a pack, therefore, I couldn’t physically enter into a match. This was when my ‘disliking’ came into effect. In FIFA 19 thing’s have changed & I am happy to say it’s for the better. There are weekly rewards & they are relatively lucrative. I have earn’t in excess of 100,000 coins in a space of a few weeks without having to dive into my own (real) wallet & this was purely down to winning games. This has been a much, much needed/loved improvement for me & what Ultimate Team should have always been. I appreciate that spending real money is still an option & you will inevitably face opposition that have an excellent team because of that, but at least now good players are handsomely rewarded.

One feature I enjoy/respect about FIFA 19 is the 50/50 battles. Whoever’s idea that was deserves a raise & then another one. It put’s thing’s on an even keel & it feels great when you’re in a battle for the ball. Tackling feels a lot more defined/reliable & the timed finishing is proving to be a great addition. Overall, shooting is a lot better & it feels very satisfying when you score. Showboating/skill moves feels effortless as well & the crowd sing the respective team’s chant’s/song’s loudly & proudly. The graphics are noticeably better, giving you more realism where you want it/need it. Additional game modes include Champions League & Europa League. Although, I haven’t found the time to play these yet due to Ultimate Team & Co-op Seasons taking up most of my time. Pro clubs is still an option also & so is The Journey.

This year’s game has to be one of the most complete FIFA’s I’ve ever played & this is coming from someone who had barely, if at all, touched the franchise in a number of years. They have done away with the bad & reeled in the good. Everything seems well balanced & it’s back to being a really fun game to play. If you take the game too seriously or losing a game will ruin your day, then I suppose it wouldn’t matter which FIFA you play. As far as i’m concerned, EA have put everything into this game (that needed to be) & then some. Enjoy what’s on offer here, as it hasn’t been this good in years!

Photography: FIFA 19

Photography: FIFA 19