FIFA 20 - It's punishingly different, and a lack of flow slows things down.



I can’t believe it’s been an entire year since FIFA 19, yet, here we are.

Straight off the bat, FIFA 20 is nothing like any FIFA game I’ve played before. The passing doesn’t flow like you expect it to, defending takes just as much thought and attention as attacking, and shooting is tough.

As I’m sure you know, Volta has been EA’s focal point this year, which is ‘street football’ in a cage arena, playing against 3, 4 or 5 players. Skill moves is what it’s all about, so you’re encouraged to do just that, which can be really fun and rewarding, especially when you’re scoring goals on top of it all. However, this new way of playing transfers into the 11 a side matches, and becoming good at it can be extremely beneficial, but because of that, it’s now the template for the entire game. If you take the small cage arena and the mechanic of the players in Volta, add their movement, the way the ball travels and the skills, blow that up onto an 11 side pitch, the end result is an experience that doesn’t feel right. It’s as if EA spent the bulk of their time making Volta, then ‘copying and pasting’ it onto the big pitch.

One thing that’s bugged me (excuse the pun) about this years entry is the sudden decrease/change in pace when building an attack. In FIFA 19, and probably every other FIFA before that, you were to able to pass it to someone who was changing position/moving across the pitch and they would receive your pass, whereas now if the player whose on the move doesn’t stop, the pass will go behind them. EA is now encouraging you to either do a through ball, dribble past a player or pass to someone else entirely. It’s a strange thing to me because in reality not every pass to someone whose on the move needs to be a through ball. Some passes you make to players who are not in a fixed position or are making a run is, well, a straight forward pass, and the player takes it in their stride whilst moving. Therefore, for me, at the moment, it’s ruining the flow of the game, and it’s forcing you to think differently.

Defending has never been so difficult, which I’m a big fan of, although, having said that, there has been some moments where I’ve won the ball after a mini battle, but then due to the pace of the attacker while in their stride, the ball is instantly taken out of your feet and you’re left in the dust. I know what you’re thinking, ‘‘that’s nothing new’’, and it’s not, but in FIFA 20, when you’ve won the ball, if the opposition has lots of pace, then they take the ball off of you far too quickly and in a seamless manner, and you’re not provided half a second to simply pass it.

Due to the improved abilities of the goalkeepers, you’re not always liable to concede when the last man has been beaten, as you’re goalkeeper is a lot more accomplished. I’ve never seen so many finger tipped saves and first class reactions. It’s refreshing to see, and it genuinely demands the person whose shooting to put every ounce of concentration to hit the back of the net. There’s nothing wrong with shooting on FIFA 20, yet, for me, it doesn’t feel as satisfying as it could and/or should.

Through passes feel like they’re back in full affect this year, which is a re-welcomed addition, and free kicks now have an aiming circle that you have to position and keep steady with the left analogue stick, thus making it a challenging affair. Referees are back to their uncompromising ways and brandishing yellow cards for first time fouls in the middle of the park, making it a common occurrence and needless to say, overtly harsh.

There’s not a lot to say about Ultimate Team, other than it’s slightly more rewarding than FIFA 19, which is great news for those who spend minimal or no money on it, and from what I’ve heard, Career Mode is ‘broken’, but I can’t comment, as I haven’t played career mode in a number of years, so I can only apologise to you ‘Career Mode loving fans’ (my little brother included).

This time last year when FIFA 19 came out, I was impressed with what EA delivered on release day, and I think it’s safe to say a lot of other people were also. Perhaps some updates are on the way for FIFA 20, but it still doesn’t let EA off the hook. I would never categorise this game as a bad game or one that I will give up on, in fact, I would say there’s plenty of enjoyment to be had. The passing may or may not change, in which case, we’ll all have to adapt (or not), and there’s bound to be an abundance of skill moves prior to goals being scored, changing the way we see attacking movement/going forward. Due to the overall challenging feel of FIFA 20, winning a match is never going to feel so satisfying, and that can only be a good thing, right?