This video game stal­wart needs to lighten up

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - ENTERTAINM­ENT -

FIFA is one of the old­est stal­warts of the gam­ing world. Al­ways there, al­ways im­prov­ing (or wors­en­ing) ever so slightly each year, pro­vid­ing EA with the max­i­mum an­nu­ally-sched­uled mon­e­tary re­turn for the ab­so­lute bare min­i­mum amount of work com­pleted. Well, along comes FIFA 20 with enough mean­ing­ful changes and ad­di­tions that has been – while not al­to­gether top­pling the sta­tus quo – send­ing gen­tle rip­ples of con­fu­sion and mild de­light across the foot­ball sim­u­la­tion com­mu­nity.

FIFA 20 feels de­cid­edly dif­fer­ent, to the point where it is the same jar­ring sen­sa­tion a FIFA vet­eran may ex­pe­ri­ence while play­ing a few games of Pro Evo­lu­tion Soc­cer. This year’s FIFA is def­i­nitely cen­tered around re­fur­bish­ing the much-ma­ligned de­fen­sive me­chan­ics and con­ven­tions that seem to have been been a more con­sis­tent fea­ture in the game than James Mil­ner.

De­fend­ing in FIFA is now a much more ac­tive pur­suit. Whereas be­fore, FIFA was con­tent to al­low you to roll the dice and charge blindly at play­ers in pos­ses­sion, you are now pun­ished for not think­ing about de­fen­sive play to the same ex­tent you would when con­sid­er­ing at­tack­ing tac­tics. Time your chal­lenges well now, and you should come away cleanly and in pos­ses­sion, whereas any mis­takes in your tim­ing will be re­warded with ei­ther a foul or a player clean through. It is an un­for­giv­ing but re­ward­ing sys­tem.

In the most dras­tic change of all, EA have done away with The Jour­ney and in­stead have re­placed it with Volta mode, which is all of the bad parts of The Jour­ney (the act­ing and story), com­bined with FIFA Street (none of the fun parts, ob­vi­ously). There are a few ways to play the atro­ciously named Volta – Story, Tour or League. Volta is es­sen­tially a street foot­ball com­pe­ti­tion that takes place in dif­fer­ent venues aroung the globe and with some dif­fer­ent game types. You have your clas­sic 11v11, 5v5, 4v4 etc., which are mixed in with a slight vari­a­tion in the form of Rush games, which are es­sen­tially the ex­act same but with­out goal­keep­ers and a hell of a lot more te­dious and an­noy­ing. Though the great deal of work by EA to get Volta in to the game is greatly ap­pre­ci­ated, it al­most feels like all of their work has gone to waste merely with the glar­ing omis­sion of a point counter for flair moves.

And that brings us to the crux of the prob­lem, with how se­ri­ous FIFA has be­come, it seems that it has lost a lot of the whimsy that makes foot­ball video games fun on their own and not just an al­ter­na­tive to play­ing “the real deal” out­side. FIFA 20 is a great game, but it still feels like a slight mis­step in the wrong direction.

FIFA 20 has lost a lot of the whimsy that makes foot­ball video games fun.

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