|a game by||Electronic Arts|
|Platforms:||XBox 360, PC, Playstation 3|
|Editor Rating:||8/10, based on 2 reviews, 1 review is shown|
|User Rating:||8.3/10 - 7 votes|
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|See also:||Sport Games, FIFA Games|
The FIFA series all the way through the last decade has been a microcosm of EA’s obsession with money and power. While the series used to a one that strived for excellence through deep career modes, fun gameplay mechanics and a series of new game modes to keep things interesting. However, with the surge of popularity for the cash cow that is the Ultimate team format, FIFA soon became a re-skinned shell with additions only being made in one area. In 2017 however, FIFA would finally attempt to shake things up in the hope of bringing some variety to a very predictable game series.
This game plays like any of the previous FIFA titles that came before it. However, if you aren’t aware of this series it’s easy to draw similarities from football titles such as Pro Evolution Soccer or Football Manager who also aim to offer their own versions of authentic football gaming. The key difference being that the others offer a more realistic simulation of modern day football while FIFA offers a much more arcade-style take on the sport with a great deal more licences to back up their title.
Finally, Something New
FIFA as a series by the time of FIFA 17 rolled along had become a stale, money-grabbing machine. The career mode had been left for dead, which is perhaps still the case today, there had been no real eye-catching mode added since be a pro mode which was close to five years old at this point and overall, many were starting to lose their patience with a game that barely changed from year to year. So to remedy the situation, along came The Journey.
This would see you play as Alex Hunter in a story mode that would have you conquer the dreaded exit trial, get picked up by a premier league outfit and fight for your place amongst the Premier League’s most elite players. It’s kind of like playing through an interactive and more modern version of the movie Goal and to EA’s credit, it genuinely offers a great story, even if it is rather brief and predictable.
Gameplay Flip-Flops Again
As the series has been known to do, the gameplay seems to switch year on year from an attacking based game, to one favouring the defensive game. So predictably, since FIFA 16 was a defensive heavy game, the next would be a game that would have pace being the key asset to look out for in players. However, in terms of actual helpful and progressive gameplay changes, you’d be hard-pressed to find many.
The AI is deeply inconsistent, either being world-class or Sunday league level depending on what minute of the match you catch them on. Then the player switching is once again, really poor at choosing the ideal player as has been the case for a few years. Then the set-piece changes just seem like an arbitrary change to give the illusion of progress rather than a more intuitive system.
Frostbite Looks The Part
One addition that undoubtedly moves the series forward more than any other is the change of engine. I’m sure you have come across a FIFA glitch blooper reel in your time and thanks to the Frostbite engine, this issue will be much less of a concern. Not to mention that the game visually looks much more refined and realistic than ever before with a tangible difference between the look of this title and the one that has come before being instantly recognisable. I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising considering that this is the same engine that helped create the stunning Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Either way, it still needs to be utilized effectively and in this case, it really has been.
Something Of Substance
While gameplay remains very much untouched when compared to the last year’s edition and Ultimate Team is still the top priority, it is clear that EA are at least attempting to turn the tide. The Journey is a great addition to the game and one that would return on later iterations of the series, continuing the story and giving fans something to look forward to outside of the online gameplay.
Frostbite also brings the game forward towards the end goal of seamless realism between virtual and real-life football which is great to see. Yet overall, it still feels that holistically, there is still a lot more than this the series can offer. Perhaps it’s just high standards of the fan base but they can’t all be wrong, can they?
- The Journey is a great addition to the game
- Visuals and physics are much improved with the Frostbite engine
- The soundtrack is great, as always
- Career mode is untouched again
- Opponent AI is inconsistent and easily exploited
- Ultimate Team remains the priority above all other assets