EA Sports’ long-running soccer sim is back, and has improved gameplay on the Next-Gen consoles.
Fewer games are as polarizing as EA Sports’ leading football (soccer) franchise, FIFA. Once a highly revered series lauded for capturing the essence of ‘the beautiful game’, FIFA has found itself the poster child for almost everything wrong with modern sports games in the past half decade or so. Whether it be underwhelming gameplay, predatory pay-to-win schemes in Ultimate Team, or a copy-and-paste foundation, FIFA has been an experience that players have gravitated towards moreso out of habit than eagerness ever since the game began incorporating the Frostbite engine, which was first implemented in FIFA 17.
During the Frostbite era, EA Vancouver – FIFA's primary developers – have struggled to create a balanced and all-encompassing experience, with each game having various meta functions that players can exploit for maximum chances of success. For example, FIFA 17 favored big and strong forwards that could rise above center backs and place headers easily into the back of the net. In FIFA 18, low-driven shots from inside the 18-yard box were virtually impossible for goalkeepers to save. 19 was all about pace, 20 was all about far-post crosses, and success in 21 was completely dependent upon how many skill-moves you could chain together. I’m sure you’re starting to get the picture; by its very essence, FIFA has become anti-football as opposed to an accurate doppelganger of the action you’re used to seeing on TV. But there has been a ray of hope in recent weeks regarding the future of the series.