REVIEW: FIFA 20 - A bit More Interesting Game than the Previous One

October 6, 2019
REVIEW: FIFA 20 - A bit More Interesting Game than the Previous One

FIFA... somehow I don't need an introduction for this game because of a well-known reason and that is that everyone plays it every year. Even though the game is almost identical year after year, it is difficult for these players to admit it or try to resist the temptation and take a break for at least one year. That's why FIFA is one of the best-selling sports simulations after all.

However, we, the players, year after year, are waiting for something that will fundamentally change the gameplay, that some new things will be added that will make the game more interesting than before. We all remember that the biggest advancement we got was when the game made the transition from PS2 and Xbox consoles to PS3 and Xbox 360.

Since then we haven't got any major shift in FIFA titles, and when I say how FIFA 20 looks like FIFA 19 and FIFA 19 like FIFA 18 and so on, I actually realize that FIFA 20 looks exactly like FIFA 15 without much exaggeration.

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On the other hand, this year's FIFA does bring about some changes, which may not be fundamental, but do alter the gameplay a little, that is, you adapt to the new laws of the ball, players and their physics on the pitch. So, I will start with some of the differences that make this game "totally different" from FIFA 19.

First, I will deal with the changes and things that make the game, so to speak, more interesting but not exactly in the sim moments. What struck me the most after the first few matches is the mechanics of the game itself. FIFA 20 has somehow lost its fluidity because of the things that have been inserted to make the game feel more real.

Unlike last year, you have better control over the ball, but that is why it is more demanding. Even the fact that you have to think harder about what to do next until it becomes instinctive to you is not as much of an issue as the animations that pull those new moves.

There is better control of the striker as well as the dribbling of defenders. The problem is that pace may not play as much of a role as before, or in other words, rarely any player will make the move you want instantly. Some time will be spent between you pressing the buttons to make the player do what you want and the actual realization. That time is spent on "animation" that you cannot interrupt.

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Another great novelty here is the fact that you can release the ball in front of the player to have a better angle to the ball and the goal when you shoot from a distance. But, there is an identical problem - the animation in those moments is just too long. That is why these new things that are inserted are not so useful, not because of their effectiveness, but because of the amount of time spent between you pressing the buttons to make the player do what you want and the player's actual reaction on the screen.

In contrast, the instinct for dribbling that players possess, depending on their skill, is well done. In certain moments, they will defend themselves or try to defend or kick the ball, shoot it over the player. However, this will lead to fouls because of the gamer's quick, unplanned and undemanding reaction and because the defenders do not know how to defend themselves when it comes to this.

On the other hand, the offensive play has, I can say freely, changed but not necessarily for the better. It is almost impossible to play solo unless you have a really below average team for your opponent. The game focuses more on creating your action and designing your attack. The problem is that this is the rule, but the anomalies of inexplicable shots and incredibly fast reactions are there again, which somehow kills that part of the "simulation" that FIFA wants to achieve.

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Now, I get to the biggest change in this year's FIFA game, which is defense play. As the years go by, somehow it seems to me that EA gives its attention the most to how the defense is or isn’t played. Some good changes were added a few years ago when we could really control the players the way we wanted, but this year, the loss of that control is more than apparent.

Automatic control, even in some situations, is completely lost in this year's edition, so playing defense in FIFA 20 looks like you turned on “manual” for everything in the previous titles. You can't push the players and play stronger pressing because they will simply fall out of the game so fast and incredibly stupid that it is simply astonishing. Also, the sliding tackles have no point unless you want to create a penalty.

In short, the defense is - chaotic. It requires a much higher level of control and composure, which is why FIFA 20 has lost that fun part of the gameplay that has always been a great part of this franchise. The only reason to "complicate" the gameplay and make it lose that fun part is, perhaps, the introduction of a new Volta mode, so let's move on to that.

Volta - The New Mode

The Volta mode is a reincarnation of the FIFA Street play, but this time you get it as an extra mode within the standard FIFA 20 game. The mere fact that you have two games in one is praiseworthy, and even more so the fact that this mode is the only real fun in this year's FIFA. The Volta mode represents street football and the culture that has died out in the gaming world since the last FIFA Street game. The most important thing in all of this is that the gameplay is completely different and it “rewards” you differently than in a standard FIFA 20 match.

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Volta has attractive, agile and fast-paced gameplay as it’s usually the case in every street football. The focus is on dummies or feints, fast passes and crazy moves, and it is this game style that will lead you to victory. There is a problem, though. Volta has two modes: 3v3 and 5v5.

The 3v3 mode is a real street mode. There are small goals, three players and there is no goalkeeper. The pitches are really small and that often means that you can't really enjoy what Volta has to offer - feints and exhibitions, which are the very essence of this type of street football. When trying to make a few feints in a row, you will either run into an opponent, or your teammate or simply a wall and your flow will break.

On the other hand, this mode really has that street feel and there is the street slang. You can dress the players the way you want to. When two teams are set to compete in the several modes offered to you, the golden rule from the FIFA Street game for the PS2 and Xbox consoles remains; you choose one player from the opposing team to join yours. So as time passes, you will manage to get the best street players for your team.

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The second Volta mode is 5v5 where you have slightly bigger goals, and four players in the field plus a goalkeeper. This already makes more sense than the street football Volta promotes. This is mostly because the pitches are bigger and you can do what you want and just create the game as you wish. It's a bit contradictory to the existence of the Volta mode, but fortunately, it works absolutely perfectly.

Journey mode this year only exists in Volta mode, and that’s better if you ask me. However, this version of that mode is simply too cringy and it looks like it was made for kids, from voice acting to the look of all the characters in the game.

Then, it would be better if the career mode didn’t exist because there are so many problems with it that it's simply incredible. The mode is "played" in the same way as if it were taken out of the FIFA game from six or seven years ago. They only added some functions thinking those are actually useful but all they do is “destroy” your career.

Finally, FIFA 20 is best known for its excellent multiplayer mode, and of course, it is amazing in both the basic mode and the Volta mode. For that reason, you now practically have two games to play with your friends, both online and on the couch, and both are equally interesting.

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Final impressions

There are some changes inserted in this year's FIFA, which may have altered the game for the worse to the point that this may be one of the weakest releases in the franchise in the past few years. But, you know, as they say, there's always next year for FIFA... unfortunately. I played this game on Xbox One X and I give it 6/10.