It’s that time of year again. Across the globe, folks are getting ready to hunker down and avoid direct sunlight for weeks at a time. The yearly FIFA update is upon us.
In the space of digital football (that’s soccer, for you Americans), there have always been two camps: You’re either FIFA or PES, rarely both. As one gets better, the other has to up its game, and a few years back EA gave FIFA a massive overhaul and moved it onto the Frostbite engine, becoming the outright champion once more.
FIFA 20 isn’t that type of an update, but it’s still absolutely packed to the rafters with content. The competition remains fierce, but FIFA retains the edge overall. FIFA 20 might not be anything revolutionary, but it’s still the one to play, and it’s got a surprisingly good party trick this year.
Bottom line: Still the king, mostly the update you’d expect but with a welcome surprise in the superb VOLTA mode.
- VOLTA football is superb fun
- Set pieces finally don’t suck
- All the licenses you can shake a stick at
- Immense selection of content
- Great soundtrack and stadium sounds
- FUT remains pay to win
- Some of the faces are a little odd-looking
- VOLTA story is too linear
FIFA 20: A yearly update with no surprises (and that’s a good thing)
Here’s the thing with FIFA. Unless EA made something noticeably worse, then an update that looks, plays and feels as good as last year’s game is perfectly fine. It may sound boring, but that’s the yearly update cycle for you. FIFA 20 is, at its core, FIFA 19 with a little added polish.
That polish though is actually not half bad. Set pieces, particularly free kicks, are so much better with the upgraded system that lets you properly place your shot. Free kicks have long been my most disliked part of the gameplay, so a rework is certainly welcome and no longer do they just plain suck. The ball physics have also been given some love and its behavior does feel a little more natural. Spin actually means something and no longer is every shot from range a straight laser.
There’s a ludicrous amount of content in FIFA 20
As always, FIFA 20 comes with an insane amount of licensed clubs, tournaments, and stadiums, and bar one particularly high profile absentee (we’ll miss you Juventus), all of the world’s top clubs in the top leagues are represented. So are a heap of clubs that aren’t in the top leagues. There are so many different teams to choose from in FIFA 20 it’s hard to know where to start.
FIFA does a grand job with those licenses as well. Player likenesses are (mostly) on point, though some of the facial expressions leave something to be desired. Harry Maguire, for example, looks like Harry Maguire, but at times like he swallowed something nasty. And in the career mode, your digital manager created in your own likeness doesn’t ever seem to smile. It’s a small thing, but when the rest of the game looks absolutely stunning, dodgy faces stand out.
Stadiums, kits, balls, and…