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Breaking Down FIFA 19's New Features


Breaking Down FIFA 19's New Features

After a pretty entertaining World Cup, it’s time to prepare ourselves for the incoming onslaught of FIFA 19 news. While leaked videos have been seen here and there, EA has given us enough news to arouse our curiosity in the interim so let’s dive in.

Dynamic Tactics

Tactics have always been an afterthought for the majority of FIFA players. Despite adding “Roles” and “Instructions” a few years back, FIFA has still suffered from gameplay falling into predictable patterns even with the likes of OS’ Krebstar working with our community to develop Custom Team Tactics. It’s with this in mind that when EA Canada announced Dynamic Tactics, a lot of us were cautiously optimistic. “Seeing your changes play out on the pitch before and during the match” sounds great, but the proof will be in the pudding.

The big change in pre-match preparation comes by way of being able to create multiple game plans with the option of switching between them during a match without having to pause the game. As FIFA introduces more “on-the-fly” commands, the ability to bark out orders from the virtual touchline without pausing the game will give online players more freedom without having to wait for a break in the action — and/or racing against the clock to make your adjustments. As long as you are able to preload these before hopping online, the feature should be embraced by the community.

These changes to the tactics system are being touted by EA as having a noticeable impact upon the match, meaning intellectual players should be able to determine how their opponent is approaching the match and adjust accordingly. Now, all of this sounds fantastic on paper but there are still lingering questions to ask. Will the CPU utilize these tactics offline? Will EA setup teams according to the real-life play styles. Will the online community embrace these tactics forcing them to play football and not FIFA? Will they be tuned equally to create a fine balance (think aggressively pressuring and its effects on stamina)? So many questions, but again, on-paper it sounds like a welcome addition.

Timed Finishing

Dubbed as “one of the most exciting and useful gameplay innovations” by EA, “Timed Finishing” is probably the most controversial of all the FIFA 19 gameplay announcements. Players, including myself, are very weary about any feature that could be potentially exploitable by stick skill over player skill (player attributes/ratings). Timing is of the essence with this feature, and hopefully it’s tuned in a way where getting perfect contact on the ball is the exception and not the norm. In particular, this quote from EA’s blog makes me nervous:

“The basic process for taking a shot doesn’t change, but if you want to make your shots potentially unstoppable with this accuracy and power boost, it’s as simple as tapping the “shoot” button a second time after the initial button tap.”

Anytime I read or hear “unstoppable” I get worried that it will be overpowered, especially with the help of the FIFA Trainer. This reminds me of timed shooting in NBA 2K/NBA Live where you’ll find yourself intensely focusing on the power meter. One thing that’s missing from EA’s blog on this feature is whether or not stats will play a role in your margin of error. Obviously a player such as Messi should have more margin of error than a clunky defender like England’s Harry Maguire. This is definitely one feature that we will have to get our hands on before final judgment can be passed, but my initial thought is “why add something that wasn’t needed and/or asked for by the community”?

(Editor’s note: Per the most recent “Pitch Notes” blog, it appears attributes will play a part in determining the success of your timed shot.

Active Touch

In soccer, the quality of a player’s first touch is vital, especially for attackers. When FIFA introduced the “First Touch” slider a few years back, it really helped to bring much needed error into the game. Unfortunately, it took FIFA a few iterations to hone this as poor touches often occurred when no one was near the player receiving the ball. Sometimes these heavy touches felt cheap, especially when they resulted in you losing possession. Fast forward to FIFA 19, and EA Canada has tweaked the way players receive, strike and move with the ball. A greater sense of fluidity and control could go a long way when space gets tight in the midfield and/or around the eighteen.

Never short on animations, the success of this feature depends on a few factors. First, the user has to have some sort of control over it. For years, we’ve had the ability to stop the ball, both facing towards and away from goal, as well as the ability to flick the ball into space. With the majority of FIFA players utilizing a high-press system, added control, especially when it’s tied to attributes or skills, could really unlock key midfield cogs and separate elite attackers from those with poor first touches (cough cough, Lukaku and Morata). Unfortunately, it looks like EA chose to showcase this feature through tricks and feints, two areas that already bring an arcade feeling to the series. Luckily, in the leaked Manchester United vs City video, the active touches seemed authentic and completely realistic, to the point where you might not notice them unless you slowed the video down. Lastly, it’s just as important for EA to incorporate poor touches as it is the lovely push ahead of the ball into space for you to run on.

50/50 Battles

One of the most frustrating aspects of FIFA has been the lack of proper 50/50 battles. For too long, human players have always felt disadvantaged as the CPU seems to react first and faster to 50/50 balls. Coupled with clearances falling right to the CPU’s feet, and it seems like the odds are against us. EA, in its most recent blog, has stated ALL players have the same instincts when competing for 50/50 balls. New animations, taking into account attributes like strength and mass as well as basic geometry (angles, speed, etc.), should make for unique and believable outcomes. All of these changes to 50/50 battles should bring some much needed “ugliness” to the game, hopefully resulting in more fouls and injuries both short and long-term.

EA, like most other gaming companies, has never been adverse to using catchy marketing phrases to try to lure gamers back year after year. So far, 2019 seems no different, but with the new blog entitled “The Pitch Notes” it seems like EA Canada is attempting to give a more transparent look into its development ideas and rationale. Ultimately, the final say will come when FIFA releases, but early returns sound promising and should play out fairly well when the demo drops. For now, we’ll have to sit back and wait for more news and gameplay captures.

What feature has you the most excited or most worried?


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  1. Beta player here. I can answer some of the questions you posed.
    I can confirm that Dynamic Tactics is a game changer (at least in single player). The big question right now that's tough to tell is just how much and well the CPU uses them. But different tactical setups are clearly recognized now, and the CPU definitely uses different ones based on game situations, though whether problems surface the more we play, we shall see. Also, I don't think CPU teams adjust their prematch tactics depending on players at their disposal or the opposition, which is a shame. But it's a massive change for the user side and super fun to play with.
    Timed finishing is the biggest concern right now. As it is, it's OP. Shooting in general is OP, and there's really no need to use it. The good news is it's optional and so CM players can choose whether to bother with it. Best thing about it is if you miss, there's some great error on those shots. I fully expect this to be tweaked for the full release.
    Both active touch and 50-50 battles are both great additions and slight disappointments. When they happen, they're a fantastic addition. Active touch though feels a little undercooked for me and not as impactful as I'd hoped. That said, there's a lot of new classy touches happening that bridge that gap between PES and FIFA in terms of silky class. I just wish there was more, though this might be one of those additions that's not see easy to notice but has a big yet subtle impact.
    50-50 battles is great but inconsistent. Players in general are far more aware and active to loose balls, and the physical game (though there's still hardly any fouls called) is an improvement. But there's still issues with the ball falling to attacking players in the box too often, and successful tackles still too frequently end up with the ball going to the dribbler (which I'd though they said they fixed). It's a great addition when it works, but hopefully this - along with active touch - will be improved and polished for the full release.
    Never had a beta invite, but I wonder, if the beta forums are one of the few places where they're likely to take notice of feedback, has anyone ever brought up the issue with the ball size?
    Never had a beta invite, but I wonder, if the beta forums are one of the few places where they're likely to take notice of feedback, has anyone ever brought up the issue with the ball size?

    I've not seen it mentioned, and who knows what EA is doing with the feedback. As you can imagine, it's a ton of rubbish to wade through.
    Fouls.* THat's always been the achilles heel of any FIFA OR PES game.* Fouls that lead to PK's is a close second.*

    What's weird Paul is that some years fouls work really well (FIFA 16, PES 2014) but then there are some years where they're completely non-existent (PES 2015-2017/18, FIFA 15 for example).
    Appreciate the insight ImmortalMindz!

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