'FIFA 20' Is The Best The Series Has Had To Offer In Years
FIFA 20 is the best the series has had to offer in years, thanks in no small part to Volta, the new street football game mode. Whether you've bought every title in the series, or you've been out for a few seasons, FIFA 20 is a game you won't want to miss.
It's not all silverware and running to the corner flag though, as there are a few niggles to keep in mind, but we'll get to those later.
Before we properly get going though, a quick note to say that Ultimate Team wasn't available during the review period for FIFA 20, so we won't be touching on that here.
What we can talk about though, is the gameplay. It's immediately reminiscent of past titles, albeit with improved defenders and a slightly less pacey feel when you're on the attack. Even known counterattacking sides move at a more contemplative speed, but that's overshadowed by how fluid the game is (most of the time).
If you prefer a possessive, passing game then you'll enjoy breaking down well-drilled defences. If you don't, then it's all about finding that space between the lines with a fleet of foot forward. Players like Timo Werner, for instance, will find a distinct advantage.
Defenders are much stronger this time out, meaning you have to pay particular attention to your attacking game. Undoubtedly, players like Big Virg will snuff out every attack, and it's unbearable when you're up against him. Arguably though, that's what real football is like nowadays, so it's 10/10 on that front.
Beyond the typical 90mins kick-off action, you've got ample choice of game types, with franchise mainstays like Career and Ultimate Team returning, as is expected. But if you want to jazz it up, the new Volta mode is a welcome new addition.
This FIFA Street-esque mode is intense fun in a totally different way to the main game, replacing the classic model with a more vibrant, chaotic feel, but still catering to fans. It's basically FIFA Street: Tokyo Drift, and I love it.
Playing with teams of three to five, you'll compete in five-a-side arenas around the world, with gameplay emphasis on style. Trust me, you've not lived until you've danced it into the net and done a celebratory backflip off a wall with Sergio Ramos. It's ludicrous and I need more of it.
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The trade-off in this mode is that the shooting mechanic is more aim-sensitive - meaning you can completely miss open goals if you aren't precise, and that's what you deserve, frankly. It's a fair deal considering you can play with rush keepers, making scoring much more frequent anyway. Seriously, you'll be racking up cricket scores in this mode.
Another interesting innovation in FIFA 20, is around free kicks and penalties. The aiming has been rejigged and is more in-depth, with free kicks especially more fun now that you can use a knuckleball technique, taking you one step closer to CR7 himself. The new mechanics don't make it any easier to score a free kick though, so bear that in mind.
It's not all innovations though, and there are certainly some downsides.
Gameplay feels a bit too slow at times, and it can get frustrating when you're trying to tear down the wing as somebody like Mbappé, only to feel like your studs are inch-deep in treacle. That's not to say you can't rely on pace because of course you can, it just lacks a certain energy and urgency that was present in previous instalments.
Also, the shooting mechanic often lacks surprise, making it difficult to beat even average keepers; even Mignolet made more than his fair share of saves. However, it is something you'll get used to, and there's always the trusty old 'sweaty goals' technique if you're desperate. Or if you just like upsetting people in-game from time-to-time.
Another thing that feels off is Juventus being renamed Piemonte Calcio with the club's exclusive deal with Konami's PES feeling painfully obvious. The kit is different but all the players are still the same so it should be fine but it's just... not? It's a small thing, sure, but it's oddly unsettling. It's like when you go on holiday and see those weird off-brand products that genuinely are just as good, but you don't accept them right away.
Despite these drawbacks though, it's still FIFA. It's pretty smooth going with plenty on offer, and it's just great, great fun. There's a reason this series is often considered to have the best sports titles out there, and FIFA 20 lives up to that hype with impressive confidence.
It's flawed and it'll drive you crazy, but it'll also make you smile from ear-to-ear too, just like the real game it's modelled on.
In short, if you're a FIFA fan then you don't want to miss out. This game perfectly encompasses everything we love about the series, and that's pretty magical. It's fun, it's addictive, it brings people together even when we're tearing each other apart, and that's because, to borrow a quote from the legendary José Mourinho, "that's football".
Featured Image Credit: EA Sports