Fifa 20: Review – Gameplay improved but lacks polish
Fifa 20 is the newest installment of the popular football game franchise developed by EA Sports. This year’s installment promised to be the best one yet, with Fifa Street (VOLTA Football) being built-in to the game as its own gamemode and a whole host of new changes to Career Mode, Pro Clubs, Ultimate Team, etc. In this review, we will examine as to whether EA have lived up to this promise or whether Fifa 20 is another underwhelming game in a series of frosty woes that have made their way onto store shelves everywhere.
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1: FIFA 20’s Gameplay
Fifa 20’s gameplay is the best I have played in a football game ever, it even beats PES 6 on ball physics. In Fifa 20, you will be treated to slower gameplay than Fifa 19, but this is in no way a criticism because the whole metagame is woven together in perfect harmony like strawberries and cream. For once in a Ffia game, I feel like I have the confidence to get it to my winger and actually beat defenders. Whilst the most effective strategy, for me, is possession and bombardment, others have found success in sitting back and soaking up the pressure from their opposition. If you are to get the game, I have to recommend getting it to your wingers, running into the final third and just working the ball into the box from there.
I was nervous heading into this game that the new penalty system wouldn’t be as good as the one it has replaced. My one penalty in the Beta made me think we were in for more set-piece disappointment but playing through career mode and practicing in (the now fixed) arena has shown how good this system is. However, you won’t get very far if you don’t attempt to time your penalties, and you have to be very conservative with how much power you put onto your shot because the game likes to, especially with lower rated players, put the ball wide or over the bar. Whilst they are hard to score, I actually really quite like the new penalty system, I imagine it will bring some really fun penalty shootouts, of which I am yet to encounter.
Another thing I was nervous about was set-pieces outside of the box – specifically free-kicks. The new free-kick mechanic has some way to go, with the “knuckleball” effect not really being a knuckleball at all. I found that the free-kicks are very unpredictable but if you get them right, they can be really rewarding. I would say that there is still a long way to go before I can deem this system as effective, but it’s not a bad start.
Overall, I’d say the gameplay is an 8.5/10. Whilst the in-game meta is fun, and the commentary and new broadcast packages really immersive, it is let down by it’s lacklustre free-kicks and just “alright” penalties.
2: Career Mode
The career mode community have been crying out for significant change for years, with barely anything being added in last year’s game – to the point that the hashtag “ChangeCareerMode” became a trending topic on UK Twitter not too long after the game’s release. Well, EA listened and this year promised to be one of the best career modes we have had for some time, but unfortunately they have not delivered.
Whilst the morale and player conversation systems are there, they are broken and don’t work properly. For example, I signed Tammy Abraham to Villa, he was very happy and on a run of form before I forgot to play him in a sim game, and he immediately asked to leave and dropped in rating. Additionally, the new interview system is good, but really repetitive and little grammatical errors and just stupid oversites let the whole thing down. Here, I was asked how I felt about my team continuing their unbeaten streak, when I had lost last week’s game.
Overall, with more petty bugs like big teams not playing their best 11 against you (which negatively impacts the league tables to the point of sheer stupidity), career mode is better this year but still unacceptable and broken. Good enough, however, for me to give it a 3/10.
3 – Pro Clubs
Pro Clubs is a bit of a mess this year, with not much content being added whatsoever. The EA Shield (and it’s counterparts) have been removed this year in place for horrible house-rules cups, which would be nice as an option but kill the Sunday night moments when you score a last-minute winner in the Shield’s final. The new gameplay is nothing but bad for Pro Clubs, feeling sluggish and boring. To top it all off, the selection of kits for this year is even worse than last year. Whilst practice matches and other minor tweaks are a good thing for Pro Clubs, the rest of the gamemode has suffered this year quite a lot. I’ll give it a 6/10 though because it still keeps the fun of playing clubs with your friends somewhat alive.
4 – VOLTA and Ultimate Team
I will admit, I do not play much of VOLTA or Ultimate Team. But, I have played enough to form a decent opinion on the new gamemode, and that other one which us Career Mode and Pro Clubs players refuse to mention.
VOLTA is fairly good, but it has lost what made FIFA Street great: encouraging skill moves! You are not rewarded for skill moves, and VOLTA just feels like FIFA on a smaller pitch, which is not what FIFA street ever was. With cheesy, cliche writing putting the cherry on the cake of disappointment, VOLTA is nothing but a lesser FIFA Street.
Ultimate Team has added a revamp of friendlies, with there being no consequences for your team after each match, and I love this. The “Mystery Ball” gamemode is exactly what you want when bored on a Friday night in an Xbox Party with friends, but apparently there are some features which more avid players of Ultimate Team, of whom are far more qualified to talk about this mode than I am, have said are missing from the game.
Overall, I would give Ultimate Team and VOLTA, as a collective, a 7/10 – good without ever being great.
Fifa 20 is one of the most fun football games I have ever played but it falls short on polish, which makes the whole game suffer. Whilst I am already having fun with the new features in Career Mode, Pro Clubs and Ultimate Team (to a lesser extent), the amount of half-finished and broken features in the game is purely unacceptable, and reactions to members of the community from some of the EA Team has also been disappointing. I have to give the game a final score (which is an average of all of the other scores) is a 6.125/10, which I have to say is a fair representation of this game: the potential is there, no doubt, but the final product barely deserves the name “product”. Would I recommend purchasing? Yes – if you want a fun football game, but if you want polish, perhaps this is not the game for you.
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Indie Game Developer also a writer for Sip Read Repeat. Aviation and space enthusiast, has a bit of a thing for coffee.