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FIFA 20 Review: A Yellow Card at Launch

FIFA 20

FIFA 20 Review: A Yellow Card at Launch

EA really stepped up their communication this year with a continuation of the Pitch Notes series. Promising updates to career mode, gameplay enhancements, and the introduction of the new mode Volta, it’s time to see if FIFA 20 lives up to hype.

What I Like

Pace of Play – This year, the pace of the game for FIFA 20 has been slowed to better represent what we see each weekend on our TVs. While the player movement has been slowed down some, other areas such as pass speed and the manner in which the AI attacks have been tuned accordingly. While the AI teams can be stagnant at times in attack, they don’t counter or break at the speeds they did in previous versions. They’re more calculated with their approach, even passing backwards, which in turn allows you time to set your defense accordingly. When it works, the ebbs and flows of a real match are represented fairly well. Furthermore, the AI teams will adjust their attacking/defensive mentality during career mode matches, which is fairly evident due to the increase in crowd noise (more on presentation shortly) and commentary hints, but you can really feel the difference in an organic manner as opposed to the heavily scripted feeling you would sometimes get in the past.

Dribbling & Physicality – Good dribblers such as Chelsea’s Willian take deft touches, allowing them to use their agility and pace to run at defenders even though at times it’s a bit overpowered right now due to the balance shift towards attacking (more on this later). Conversely, physicality has improved since the demo, and with the slower pace you’re able to fend off defenders or get into the attacker’s body if you’re defending. Bigger, stronger midfielders like Paul Pogba or Ruben Loftus-Cheek are harder to push off the ball, which can be a real advantage against pressing teams, especially if you like to try and control the tempo. One of the most important aspects to learn is the shield control (LT/L2) because it will really help you hold possession and allow for your AI teammates to either catch-up or find space, creating the outlets necessary to unlock defenses. AI dribblers like Sadio Mane will really dribble at you highlighting the emphasis EA has placed on 1-on-1 moments mentioned in their Pitch Notes series.

Even better, the AI players finally utilize the push-forward dribble command (flick RS forward for humans) as they bomb down the wings, something that they were incapable of last year.

Ball Physics – Look, the ball physics aren’t perfect, heading the ball in clearances showcases that they weren’t applied all over the game, but they are the best they’ve been in this series since FIFA 14.

Parried shots, deflections turning into 50-50 balls and first-touch control bring out the best in the ball physics. In addition, FIFA still has a fascination with shots ricocheting off the posts.

When you’re bringing a ball down from a pass with a little too much mustard on it, you’ll see the ball bobble a little bit and that helps to slow the pace down. These instances allow you to get the most out of some advanced instructions such as “Pressure on Heavy Touch.” One small but impactful change EA has implemented is that the ball indicator isn’t as precise, meaning that you can head or intercept passes mid-air

Shooting – Shooting has improved since FIFA 19 and is more realistic in terms of body position, what foot you’re on and user input (if not playing with fully assisted shooting). Holding true to a player’s ratings always matters in sports games, and I’ve really felt a difference between elite and average players in terms of accuracy. Timed finishing is still an option, but even with it disabled a nicely timed first-shot still has a large margin for error that forces you to alter your approach to shooting. Headers are toned down as it relates to accuracy. Having the “Power Header” trait really pays dividends as well, but the actual distance on headers can be very overpowered and needs to be toned down. The changes aren’t solely focused on the human-controlled players as the AI will shoot from distance with players such as Marcus Rashford — who peppered my goal with ferocious efforts. Even in preseason against inferior competition, it was good to see AI players shooting from distance.

Stamina Effects – One of the better under-the-radar tweaks EA Canada made was to stamina. Whether it be in exhibition, career mode or Pro Clubs, stamina has a much greater impact than before. Clubs who employ a “Team Press” will find that their players will tire at a more rapid pace, usually around the 65th minute they will slow down and are much more susceptible to injuries. Online, especially in Pro Clubs as you start with lesser stamina ratings, really makes the matches interesting during those stressful moments trying to either kill a game off or go for the win/equalizer.

The iconic George Best proudly displayed at Old Trafford

Presentation/Graphics – Presentation, as expected, is top notch, especially in those leagues that have the authentic broadcast packages. EA has nearly every Premier League stadium down to all its intricate details barring accurate ad boards. Swipes, overlays and stats are still impressive as they’ve updated them to reflect new TV presentations.

Additionally, some of the FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) overlays such as the large team icons displayed pre-kickoff and after goals have migrated over to other modes, which is nice touch. Even within career mode the interactive videos within the main hub are well done. Commentary is up to its usual solid standards with Derek Rae — who I like — generally quick in keeping up with the action. He also mostly makes up for his partner Lee Dixon, who usually comes off as a commentator reading a script. FIFA mainstays Martin Tyler and Alan Smith are the primary team and it’s nice that FIFA offers a little variety when it comes to commentary.

FIFA 20 is a good looking game from a distance and up close. Player reactions to different events seem more natural, leading you to moments that can connect you to your game; Ross Barkley misses a sitter (of course, it’s not my fault) and we both have our hands on our head in disbelief. In motion, the kits look detailed and player faces look pretty good — I’m sure once the game is officially released all of the transfers, new faces, etc. will update (they weren’t at the time I was playing). Sometimes you forget how good FIFA 20 can look because most of us probably play on the default camera, which is zoomed out a lot. On broadcast cam, which I admittedly struggle with at times, the game has fooled my wife once or twice (hope you’re not reading this).

The Little Things – Every year there’s a thread in most of our AAA game forums called “The Little Things Thread” where posters highlight nice little animations that don’t necessarily impact gameplay but help to add immersion and emotion into games. Perhaps it’s time for one to be to be created in the FIFA forum because FIFA 20 does a great job at this. Little things like Tammy Abraham’s reaction to a pass he thinks he should have made.

Or the emotion by three-time fist pumping champion Jurgen Klopp:

Volta

Admittedly, I wasn’t too thrilled when Volta was announced, even with being a FIFA Street fan back when the franchise was still around. The demo did little to convince me, but once I had the opportunity to play the live version I found myself really enjoying the action. Yes, it’s super fast, full of tricks, cheesy cutscenes and other minor irritations, but the variety in backdrops, customization options, and generally fun gameplay changed my mind.

With three different options on how to play Volta inside the main mode (there’s an option for kickoff as well), there’s some fun to be had as you traverse the globe taking on created characters ranging in skill and ability as you level up. After your initial tryout, you’re invited — to be honest, not sure what happens if you bomb in the tryout — to join up with a squad that you can fully outfit in casual and sponsored gear (I’m sure more customization options will go live once the full game drops). I found myself accessorizing my character to the tee. Besides, “look good, play good” right? The story mode seems very Journey-like as you’re guided through cutscenes and scenarios that can change depending on your responses.

As you get better and your overall increases, you unlock more locations, but for now I started in the States and traveled to Miami. Here I could play in a four-round knockout-style tournament or a pickup game. With different sites having different settings (walls/no-walls, 5-on-5, 3-on-3, smaller/bigger pitches), you can also select the difficulty you play on with Volta coins (Volta’s currency), earned when you win your challenges (as you increase in difficulty you can earn more Volta coins). Volta coins can in turn be used to purchase additional customization options, but it’s yet to be seen if this mode incorporates microtransactions.

FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT)

FIFA Ultimate Team is back and is deep as ever, featuring some tweaks to the user interface (UI), and a host of new idols including two of my personal favorite all-time players in Zinedine Zidane and Didier Drogba. Then you throw in two legends of Serie A with Kaka and Pirlo, and those are some pretty big names in the world of footy. I’m far from a FUT expert, but the mode intrigues me as it appeals to my youth (card collecting aspect), my adulthood (the card trading otherwise known as the stock market), and the present (online gaming).

During my brief trial with it, I constantly found myself thinking that some features would slot nicely into career mode or Pro Clubs. Team Chemistry in FUT always makes the CM side of me jealous as it’s such a simple concept to implement but could go such a long way in CM. Learning about these concepts through the Foundations Objectives was easy enough. You can learn these things but there’s still the grind of FUT with team building, which to me is just as much as fun as playing the actual game. But what ties everything together are the enhancements to the UI, specifically the new Season Objectives hub, which is simplistic enough even for a FUT noob like myself yet straightforward enough for veterans of the mode to appreciate.

All of the different Objective options (Daily/Weekly/Season/Dynamic) are enough to keep you engaged throughout the season, earning XP along the way through varied rewards (packs, players, customization options and so on). Customization is strong across the entire FIFA 20 offering, and FUT is no different as you can customize your stadium themes, balls and Tifos. If FUT is your cup of tea, or you’re interested in getting a better understanding, be sure to check back with OS’ own Joe Doyle as he rolls out a series of FUT-related articles, starting with a beginner’s guide that can be found here.

FIFA-20-Changes

What I Don’t Like

Everything That Relates To Tactical Defending – As a loyal Mourinho fan, there is nothing that makes me cringe quite like poor defending, and FIFA 20 is one of the worst offenders when using Tactical Defending. The amount of head-scratching moments I’ve seen throughout my games, without even analyzing every build-up or defensive scenario, is shocking at times as it infiltrates nearly every mode except for Volta. Nearly every kind of defensive mistake you could make rears its ugly head.

For one, here are some instances of the dreaded defender stutter animation:

Here in the midfield, we have players just watching the play instead of doing their part.

We also have my center back taking his turn watching.

Here is the left-back getting in on the Watch Party.

To probably the most glaring issue with FIFA 20, the constant containing without putting in a challenge to the point of even backing off.

Simply put, it’s unacceptable for a game of FIFA 20‘s magnitude to release in such a state. 1-on-1 battles and “enhancing the skill gap” between players was a point of emphasis by EA, but to what detriment as this simply forces you to have to control nearly every play on the ball. Sure, the teams do a decent job at keeping their shape and they will stick out a foot to close down passing angles, but today’s football at the top level is mostly about team pressing. So at some point, whether you’re Man City or the Chicago Fire, conceding space to the point where attackers can dribble into your 18-yard box is not even close to logical defending.

Odd AI Moments – When it comes to attacking, the AI teams for the most part are fairly decent with their varied attacks and direct philosophy. They’ll take space when it’s given, push up the flanks, send in crosses and shoot from distance, but there are times when they become stagnant and don’t make runs. I’ve even seen instances, after kickoff, where they seem to be asleep and take a few seconds to wake up before jogging into position. Other times, when I’m containing, they will become extremely passive.

Or they will just completely ignore the ball:

Team tactics via instructions and slider adjustments can help inject some urgency in your teammates, but that should not have to be the solution. Your players and those on the other side should be able to carry out the most basic of soccer fundamentals — find space/close space down, and when the ball is in your area then you react. FIFA 20 really struggles with both of these.

Teams Playing Above Their Ratings – There are still matches within your career mode where, say, a Sheffield United club who might be sitting near the bottom of the table on terrible form, will come to your stadium and play like a peak Pep Barcelona side. Conversely, you’ll get the occasional top of the table clash with Real Madrid and they will play like a league two side. It’s odd, random and most likely a victim of deeply coded scripting, but whatever it’s attributed to needs to go. With no chemistry rating inside of career mode, you’re occasionally subjected to the AI’s mercy when it decides to go from relegation pushover to European dynamo.

Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde Matches – There’s a bit of bipolar syndrome going on with FIFA 20 and it’s a little maddening. There are times where I honestly feel like I’m playing FIFA 19. The way the ball moves, how attacks come together and even animations appear all-too-familiar, but then there are other times when it feels like FIFA 20 comes together as it was marketed as. The pace feels good, the AI is patient — going backwards to go forwards — and the game sparkles, but it’s a coin toss as to what experience I’m going get. Even my beloved Pro Clubs, which initially gave me an incredible experience with slowed down pace, weightier players and intelligent AI teammates, has given me the opposite feelings at times when it becomes plagued with legacy FIFA 19 Pro Club issues, namely the easily exploitable AI.

Fouls? – Where are they? As I’ve become better at strafe dribbling, shielding and more comfortable with the game’s mechanics, I’ve been able to feel more confident drawing defenders in on the ball, but I’ve still gone matches without even seeing a foul called. With a new free-kick system it would be fun to actually get one every now and then.

The collision animations are there as evidenced here:

Just as dramatic as Otamendi is in real life, but even when these interactions do play out the infraction often goes missing. With stamina more important this year, fouls and stoppages are very helpful at replenishing stamina, changing tactics on the fly and regaining your shape, but unfortunately it seems that EA doesn’t think they’re an important part of the game. It’s a shame because fouls have been implemented well in the past before patches totally removed them from the game.

Career Mode

This is finally the year that career mode was supposed to get some love, but unfortunately it’s a letdown once again. Instead of implementing community requests such as a practice arena, we’re greeted with more RPG-like interactions. Don’t get me wrong, those are needed as well, but here they’re more cosmetic than well thought out.

Upon starting the mode, you’re able to customize your manager using several pre-existing models, a few of which are women which is a nice touch. With updated clothing options from this decade, you’re actually able to see your created manager on the touchlines, in pressers and other various interactions through the season aimed at creating a connection between you, your club and the outside pressures that so frequently doom top-flight managers. However, this is where things start to fall apart. As with any job, you’re immediately faced with objectives — basically your expectations for the upcoming season — and while a few of them were reasonable for me in my Chelsea career mode (CM), some still should not have been placed at the feet of the manager. In this case, I mean things like “shirt sales” being my responsibility.

Believe me, there’s enough going on during your CM without having to worry about generating revenue for the club — surely something that’s the responsibility of a club executive.

Once your objectives are set and you progress past the preseason tournaments, if you chose to participate, you’re right into Squad Management duties like hiring youth scouts, setting up training and tinkering with your team sheets. Transfer business might also be available, but I chose to disable it for the purposes of keeping the rosters somewhat accurate during this review simulation.

Squad management is now based upon managing player and squad morale, mainly through interactive text messages. At various points through the season your players will text you, either asking for something (playing time, contract extensions, etc.) or voice their frustration over not playing. While man management is most certainly a part of being a gaffer, the interaction is all one-way with no ability for you to engage a player who might be suffering from poor morale. As I tinkered with lineups, poor Jorginho was unhappy with his playing time, eventually handing in a transfer request. Unfortunately, with a squad as large as Chelsea’s (since a lot of the transfers weren’t implemented at the time), I found it very difficult to keep the entire squad happy until I was able to see off some dead weight in January (more on the transfer market shortly).

While it’s a neat touch adding in player personalities, a few messages from different players were exactly the same, just coming from a different player as if it was some sort of group text. Player morale is mostly represented through smiley/frowning faces in your Team Management/Team Sheet screen, but if you go into the “Squad Hub” you get a better idea of what affects morale. What’s in the hub I would consider pretty spot-on if I were a player (player/team performance, wages/contract situation and playing time). If a player is suffering from poor morale, his ratings do suffer a bit, which is realistic in the sense that a lack of minutes can result in not being quite match fit. However, not being able to influence morale apart from player-initiated texts and press conferences makes man managing a tough gig.

Press conferences, both pre- and post-match are a nice little touch as you must go up to mic and address the press.

While the answers to most player-specific questions are very obvious, it’s nice that they’re tied into the Player Morale system and Season Objectives for you as a manager.

Mr. Miracles addressing the press after a disappointing 0-1 away defeat to Manchester United to open the campaign.

Whether or not these interactions will be become stale and quickly skipped (you can skip certain pressers) remains to be determined, but for right now it’s still a nice addition in need of a bit of logic tuning. I would love to see EA incorporate a man of the match presser in upcoming years as too little emphasis is put on this award.

Once you get past the cosmetic additions to CM, you quickly realize that EA has failed to address several key areas — where is the opponent scouting option or team form? — while somehow managing to mess things up that worked well in the past, namely sims. As I entered into the January transfer window, there was still plenty of business to be done as players agreed to transfer/loan deals early, meaning that once January 1 hit they would be off your books. Unfortunately, once they’re off your books, you cannot see if they’re actually playing matches unless you loan them to a club in your league. Imagine loaning out your promising youth academy prodigy to the English Championship and not being able to see if he’s getting minutes there apart from Cup action.

Once the market opens, things get a little crazy. Clubs within the league are fairly active in the market and CPU roster management seems better. No longer will you see Man United with 10 strikers on their roster, but negotiations and approaching another club raises some eyebrows.

As your scouts shortlist and scout players, you’re kept abreast of their ratings and value through messages — same as previous years — although for some strange reason EA removed the triangle icon (on PS4) that quickly takes you to your message. One of my scouts came with Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus, a Brazilian international and current deputy to Sergio Aguero. No issue here as Aguero continues to bang in goals, meaning that at some point, Jesus, Brazil’s number 9, will want more minutes. What caught me off-guard was his value:

Twenty-eight million pounds for a striker of his current capability and potential is very low, especially when you can search online and see that his value is ~60-80 million pounds meaning that you’ll have to come with a decent offer if you want to pry him away from Manchester. Transfer values, even for those players who made moves this summer, are low across the board, a problem that didn’t exist for most of the well-known players in FIFA 19.

After identifying Jesus as my new #9 (sorry Tammy, I know you’re banging in goals in real life but sadly you’re still a 76 OVR in my build), I approach Man City to negotiate a deal and am ushered into a cutscene with Mr. Pep Guardiola making an appearance in my office.

OK, it’s cool seeing Pep and his Friday business casual attire, but since when do managers, especially Pep whose clubs tend to have no financial restrictions, engage in the actual negotiations? After coming in for Jesus with a reasonable 40 million pound offer I was hard-balled for… 41.4 million pounds. Man City is certainly not struggling for cash, but oh well, he was on his way to London, pending agreeing to personal terms (wages/contract).

Currently on 125K a week, Jesus and his agent led the negotiations. Well, Gabriel you need to fire your agent ASAP because he asked for 92K a week. Yes, that’s right, a player who wasn’t transfer listed or even unhappy, willingly took a cut in pay at Chelsea. Odd, but oh well as it saved me some funds. Apart from Jesus moving, there were a few big deals in January but nothing that would really move the needle — very similar to the past few January windows in real life. Sadly, there’s still no wrap-up report in January to see all of the comings and goings despite there being one for the summer window.

After simulating through the rest of the season, playing drop-in matches here and there, I finally made it to the end of season and here’s where things took another turn for the worse. Introducing your EPL title-winning Norwich City Football Club.

Yes, that’s right, that’s Norwich, recently promoted to the EPL, winning the title while leading wire-to-wire. My beloved Chelsea finished eighth, which promptly saw me terminated with a match to play. Yes, the ability to turn off firings is still not in the game, but a Top Four of Norwich and Newcastle? Man City losing 11 matches in the league, Liverpool drawing 15 matches and 62 goals by Norwich leading the league. For verification, last year Man City and Liverpool finished above 90 points with both clubs scoring more than 89 goals each. Last year’s real table was definitely an outlier, but in comparison, six teams scored more than 62 goals last year.

This means that your league leaders in goals for this sim were going to have low individual totals.

Year 1 Goal Leaders – EPL

Thankfully, two more test sims produced more realistic winners:

Perhaps it’s a one-off with Norwich, but seeing a side like Man City consistently finish closer to 8th than 1st is odd, even more with Newcastle having two top-four finishes.

Digging a little deeper, the low goal totals display the poor sim logic in your league, and finding out that the AI rotates keepers should point towards higher expected goals because you’re facing lesser-rated keepers.

Even though you can still not see player or team stats from other leagues, the simulations looked good with Barcelona besting Liverpool in the Champions League Final, while Juventus won the Europa League after crashing out of the Champions League group stages. On the domestic side, Arsenal took home the FA Cup while their London rival Spurs captured the Carabao Cup.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that “dynamic potential” seems to be a good addition as young players who I gave a significant amount of playing time to (Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi) each progressed between 4-5 points overall (without too many training sessions). In fact, even veteran Ross Barkley improved two points after seeing increased minutes following a January fire sale. What’s yet to be determined is whether or not dynamic potential applies to CPU-controlled teams and players. My suspicion is that it is not, meaning that if you buy the next phenom who has been loaned out or gotten minutes, his potential will be static until he joins up with your squad.

When it’s all said and done, FIFA 20 career mode is a big letdown, especially after a promising read of the Pitch Notes Career Mode Deep Dive.

Areas that were solid last year (transfer values, sim stats, etc.) have regressed while items promised to be fixed (improving the algorithm used by AI teams to determine their starting XI) are still broken. Realistically, I cannot see EA patching in a more intuitive two-way messaging system this year or any new features the community really desires, but they should be able to at least tweak the ability for the CPU to start stronger squads.

Bottom Line

Out of the box, FIFA 20 is the one of the poorest releases for the series in some time. The gameplay can’t get out of its own way at times due to poor defensive fundamentals, while the career mode is littered with bugs that were fixed in past iterations. Volta appears to be the only mode without major issues because the gameplay there is expected to be different. FIFA is always prone to patches (for better or worse), so if you’re on the fence be sure to keep your eyes open as this game will definitely change during the course of the season.

35 Comments

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Discussion
  1. Another fantastic and in-depth review. Thanks KG!
    I too am disappointed with FIFA 20 so far. I'm sure I'll find things to get into (simple Tournament Mode seasons are where it's at right now, playing in the Bundesliga is fantastic this year), but FUT gets a huge "What I Don't Like" for the inexcusable omission of Single Player Seasons. Other than brand confusion with their new XP system, I cannot figure out for the life of me why EA would remove a such a simple-yet-entertaining mode.
    This year it was PES that got the "wait for sale" sign for me for Konami's shoddy handling of the SPL stadiums in PES 2019. Next year I'm almost certain it will be FIFA that gets the same.
    The defending makes the game almost unplayable. I can overlook all the other issues but if they don’t fix defending...well, I’ll have to play FIFA 19.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Fantastic review.
    I've tried the EA access trial but I've only used 1 hour. Keeping the other 9 to check on the game after the patching commences, as it's currently in a really bad shape if you're an offline player.
    Defending AI and the most glaring CM bugs just have to be fixed, there is just no point playing otherwise.
    I am very curious about this bit however:
    "Furthermore, the AI teams will adjust their attacking/defensive mentality during career mode matches, which is fairly evident due to the increase in crowd noise and commentary hits".
    How was this verified and how can I verify it? It was broken last year when they revamped the tactics system and it was one of the things that kinda ruined 19 for me. And commentators still dropped hints about it, but nothing really changed on the pitch.
    As far as I know the most reliable way to verify this is to switch sides for a second, see what the current cpu selected tactics/mentality are, and then switch back, am I right? If so, I was under the impression it was not fixed but I've only tried to check once during my limited time with the game.
    Cheers!
    Turbojugend
    Another fantastic and in-depth review. Thanks KG!
    I too am disappointed with FIFA 20 so far. I'm sure I'll find things to get into (simple Tournament Mode seasons are where it's at right now, playing in the Bundesliga is fantastic this year), but FUT gets a huge "What I Don't Like" for the inexcusable omission of Single Player Seasons. Other than brand confusion with their new XP system, I cannot figure out for the life of me why EA would remove a such a simple-yet-entertaining mode.
    This year it was PES that got the "wait for sale" sign for me for Konami's shoddy handling of the SPL stadiums in PES 2019. Next year I'm almost certain it will be FIFA that gets the same.

    Thanks Bill. Yeah that's a weird omission (FUT Single Player Seasons) but I bet it had to do with how many people played the mode. That's usually why EA removes certain modes but then again they add all these different modes for Exhibition play like "Mystery Ball" so who knows.
    Chrisx
    Fantastic review.
    I've tried the EA access trial but I've only used 1 hour. Keeping the other 9 to check on the game after the patching commences, as it's currently in a really bad shape if you're an offline player.
    Defending AI and the most glaring CM bugs just have to be fixed, there is just no point playing otherwise.
    I am very curious about this bit however:
    "Furthermore, the AI teams will adjust their attacking/defensive mentality during career mode matches, which is fairly evident due to the increase in crowd noise and commentary hits".

    How was this verified and how can I verify it? It was broken last year when they revamped the tactics system and it was one of the things that kinda ruined 19 for me. And commentators still dropped hints about it, but nothing really changed on the pitch.
    As far as I know the most reliable way to verify this is to switch sides for a second, see what the current cpu selected tactics/mentality are, and then switch back, am I right? If so, I was under the impression it was not fixed but I've only tried to check once during my limited time with the game.
    Cheers!

    Hi Chris. Hope you didn't fall asleep during the lengthy review lol.
    First match of the season as Chelsea vs United (first EPL Match, not Super Cup) it was 0-0 in the 70th minute or so and the crowd at Old Tratford starts getting really loud and Lee Dixon pipes in with something like "you can hear the supporters really pushing their team on" and all of a sudden United pins me back in my own half for a while as I go to a counter focused tactic. I'm sure it's a canned line that will be repetitive BUT I could actually feel the change and it didn't feel forced, yet rather organic which took me by surprise. I felt like I do watching a club just absorbing pressure trying to hold onto a precious lead/result.
    So yeah, I didn't actually verify it by switching a 2nd controller over to their side but I felt it, and again later in the season when I eventually lost in the UCL quarters.
    I wish FIFA would take a page from PES where you can see A/D levels go up or down BUT I don't want to be able to see the opponents advanced tactics.
    Hope that helps.
    Great review.
    I swear EA has a meeting every year and they say, "ok, which year are we using? We're marketing defense this year, so let's go with the coding for 2015; it was the year before strafe dribbling. Next year we can use the 2016 coding. We will market towards offensive game play. Oh yeah, add in the street soccer with player customization. We can put a few old looking models in there, so the CM crowd can have a creatable manager."
    Obviously they don't do that, but I wonder every year. Issues resurface, disappear, etc etc. It makes you wonder if they simply recycle iterations, market heavy, put it out, and we're none the wiser.
    I've tried going back on this site and the ea site, to see how they marketed the game each year. It be interesting to see, but I can't ever get the info. This isn't the first year they used the buzz words they used. It's just a matter of how many years ago they used it.
    Nice work, KG. I like including the video clips to illustrate your points. Sounds like EA is asking for video examples in their forums, so maybe this review will help in that regard. Also, that Willian FK scenario seems mighty familiar...
    I will not be purchasing this game until the major CM bugs are fixed. Hell, I still have 6 hours left on my early access. That's how unplayable CM is at the moment.
    Great review. Maybe the most frustrating thing for me is those of us who like single player, or realistic football, are apparently such a tiny minority that most FIFA fans wouldn't be able to relate to this review. It's terribly depressing seeing all the praise this game is getting from the FUT crowd, which is all EA clearly care about.
    Unless EA decide to create two gameplays - one for FUT, one for single player - I don't see much reason for hope in the future. And there's slim chance of that ever happening. FIFA feels like it's totally moved on from single player.
    Nice review as always, KG. The starting 11 bug is a game killer for me. One thing you didn't get into is the "Edit Player" bug. For whatever reason, you can't edit/create a player to be a CM, LW, RW, CF, LWB, or RWB. Also, if you edit a player whose primary or secondary position is already one of those I just listed, the game changes their positions and you're not able to change it back. So, basically, "Edit Player" is totally broken.
    JayD
    I will not be purchasing this game until the major CM bugs are fixed. Hell, I still have 6 hours left on my early access. That's how unplayable CM is at the moment.

    What I would do Jay D and anyone else who's on the fence is
    1) either keep a few hours of the access trial up your sleeve until the game actually is fully released in hopes that there is a day 1 one patch
    2) If you're on the fence (can't blame anyone for it), just buy the 10 hour trial for $10 and test it out post day 1 release.
    Things "could" change gameplay wise.
    Qb
    Nice work, KG. I like including the video clips to illustrate your points. Sounds like EA is asking for video examples in their forums, so maybe this review will help in that regard. Also, that Willian FK scenario seems mighty familiar...

    LOL
    I was going to use one of your several questionable challenges to illustrate that foul detection is in there, it's just buried deep.
    Yeah, I mean it takes 2-3x longer fo the review when I put those clips up BUT I think it helps people understand what I'm seeing in hopes that maybe EA sees the same thing.
    ChaseB
    Whoever edited this review did a great job!

    he aight
    ImmortalMindz
    Great review. Maybe the most frustrating thing for me is those of us who like single player, or realistic football, are apparently such a tiny minority that most FIFA fans wouldn't be able to relate to this review. It's terribly depressing seeing all the praise this game is getting from the FUT crowd, which is all EA clearly care about.
    Unless EA decide to create two gameplays - one for FUT, one for single player - I don't see much reason for hope in the future. And there's slim chance of that ever happening. FIFA feels like it's totally moved on from single player.

    Thanks Immortal!
    M hope is that once the highly competitive FUT crowd stops beating up on the lower division folks, and they start playing similarly skilled players they'll start to complain about what the majority of us here see when it comes to defensing. I think they're overlooking it now because they're getting "results" and they care more about winning than the game's mechanics. We'll see though. I could be giving them too much credit ha.
    ps3veron
    What a fantastic review! Got FIFA on EA Access and thats where she'll be staying for some time!
    PES! Where are you my lovely?*

    Thanks iverson!
    BearsNVA
    Great review.
    I swear EA has a meeting every year and they say, "ok, which year are we using? We're marketing defense this year, so let's go with the coding for 2015; it was the year before strafe dribbling. Next year we can use the 2016 coding. We will market towards offensive game play. Oh yeah, add in the street soccer with player customization. We can put a few old looking models in there, so the CM crowd can have a creatable manager."
    Obviously they don't do that, but I wonder every year. Issues resurface, disappear, etc etc. It makes you wonder if they simply recycle iterations, market heavy, put it out, and we're none the wiser.
    I've tried going back on this site and the ea site, to see how they marketed the game each year. It be interesting to see, but I can't ever get the info. This isn't the first year they used the buzz words they used. It's just a matter of how many years ago they used it.

    Thanks Bears!
    I don't think we'll ever see the marketing team NOT use catchy buzzwords but maybe they bit off more than the devs can chew? IDK, I'd like to believe that the devs will try to make this right.
    PPerfect_CJ
    Nice review as always, KG. The starting 11 bug is a game killer for me. One thing you didn't get into is the "Edit Player" bug. For whatever reason, you can't edit/create a player to be a CM, LW, RW, CF, LWB, or RWB. Also, if you edit a player whose primary or secondary position is already one of those I just listed, the game changes their positions and you're not able to change it back. So, basically, "Edit Player" is totally broken.

    Thanks CJ! Means a lot coming from a Pool fan lol.
    Yeah, I wish I could get into EVERYTHING but there's just soooo much to look at in FIFA in terms of modes and unfortunately issues this yeah.
    The crazy part is that I totally noticed that you cannot create certain positions because it wouldn't let me make a LW Pro for Pro Clubs, which is asinine. I was going to write a section for Pro Clubs and mention it there BUT my initial two experiences were like night & day. The first day I played Pro Clubs it was AWESOME. The AI was good going forward and at defending and the pace was perfect. Then we got promoted to Div 9 and we were like "wait, is this the same game?".
    I'm going to post two videos of that experience once I get some time. It was really ODD.
    Great review.   Sports games in 2019: 1 step forward, 2 steps back. Ill be sticking with my __18, __19 purchases for the foreseeable future. This is all very disheartening and doesnt bode well for the future of Offline/franchise players.  
    Great review. Another year of no fouls. The dev's in the past have stated they do not want the game flow to be stopped and do not want the Ultimate Teamers to get upset. I get that, but don't talk about anything authentic if you leave out one of the biggest parts of defense in soccer..... It is time both games make modes or settings to separate the online crowd from the offline. Volta goes well for this one as this game cannot shake the arcade theme and that is well deserved. Pass...
    PAPERNUT
    Great review. Another year of no fouls. The dev's in the past have stated they do not want the game flow to be stopped and do not want the Ultimate Teamers to get upset. I get that, but don't talk about anything authentic if you leave out one of the biggest parts of defense in soccer..... It is time both games make modes or settings to separate the online crowd from the offline. Volta goes well for this one as this game cannot shake the arcade theme and that is well deserved. Pass...

    Except that fouls are present in FUT, more so than in single player. It's a single player issue more than FUT b/c the CPU doesn't play with the same aggression and error that humans do.
    I'm joining the growing chorus of folks that will wait for patches and/or sales (we've gotten %50 off for like 3 years straight for Black Friday in The States).
    EA is truely moving in the direction of eSport and/or online multiplayer and their beloved Ultimate team modes. I tried NBA, NHL, NFL and FIFA last year, little doubt that's where they want to go in the long run. I really wish they'd move to a "subscription model" although they'd still rip us off.
    I'll also see if MS plans on adding PES 2020 to Game Pass. The only things that keeps me from jumping there completely is their non-love for North America and the mostly generic Premier League. Italia is fairly well represented.
    I'm thoroughly enjoying the game so far, although it should be noted that I'm really just an offline "Play Now" kind of guy and can't really speak on any Career mode shortcomings.  That said, in a 20 minute match against the AI (World Class), I'm finding the game to play quite well.  There is build up from both sides, and while the defense isn't perfect, I'm not scoring an abundance of goals, and I've also held a few clean sheets already.  It doesn't feel unbalanced to me, but maybe my offense is just not lethal enough to exploit the exploitable.  I beat Schalke 2-0 with Dortmund last night and it was a fun, rewarding experience, with realistic(ish) stats across the board.  That's good enough for me.
    I wouldn't mind hearing the whistles blown a bit more, but I'd say I'm probably seeing 4 to 5 fouls per 20 minutes, which I can live with.  The "no fouls" argument is a bit exaggerated, in my opinion.  I've seen red cards handed out and advantages played as well, neither of which PES has given me yet this year , in fairness.  I love PES by the way, pre-ordered this year's game and play it daily, with a massive smile on my face.  I'm not trolling them by any means, but let's be objective here.
    FIFA 20 is not a perfect game, but I think it's absolutely ludicrous to imply that it isn't substantially better than last year, from a game play perspective.  Still light years ahead of PES in terms of features as well, from game modes to presentation, which has to count for something.  I've had PES for 2 weeks and I'm already contemplating turning the commentary off, it's as bad as any I've heard in this generation of consoles.  The crowd is also terrible and creates zero immersion.  There's really no excuse for their complacency in these areas, we shouldn't continue to give them the "game play is all that matters" free pass they've been skating on for so many years now.  You don't need licenses to make strides from one year to the next, or to hire an announcer whose voice doesn't make me want to jump off a building.  @_TheTrueBrits would probably do it for free and he's wonderful.
    At the end of the day, I think both games are the best of their respective franchises to date, I certainly can't think of a prior version of either that I'd willingly go back to now.  We should all be happy to have such viable options for our digital footy fix.
    Loving PES master league, have bought PES for 10-15 yrs but man the gameplay and shot/ball movement variations etc are incredible! Also option file thing too me 5 minutes and now have every league kit etc. Pretty impressed, Fifa presentation is better. Also I'm not having the announcing on PES like some. I guess because it's so new. I be like all the team management/transfers etc on PES too. I'll try today again next yr I would guess.
    Sent from my SM-G955U using Operation Sports mobile app
    koebsual
    Loving PES master league, have bought PES for 10-15 yrs but man the gameplay and shot/ball movement variations etc are incredible! Also option file thing too me 5 minutes and now have every league kit etc. Pretty impressed, Fifa presentation is better. Also I'm not having the announcing on PES like some. I guess because it's so new. I be like all the team management/transfers etc on PES too. I'll try today again next yr I would guess.
    Sent from my SM-G955U using Operation Sports mobile app
    I meant I haven't bought PES for 10-15
    Sent from my SM-G955U using Operation Sports mobile app
    Awesome breakdown. I think the new defending could potentially be a great feature, because to me the less assisted the game is the better, but obviously it needs work.
    Have to say, FIFA is probably the only top sports game on here that you can give a negative review to and people won't pop up out of the woodwork with those one line, "i think the game plays great, don't get the hate," comments and get like 20 upvotes lol.
    I really didn't like the Early Access of this, but am I the only one who thinks the full release version (or al least what came out yesterday) doesn't play better?
    CM is shambolic, but enjoying gameplay (despite flaws).
    ImmortalMindz
    I really didn't like the Early Access of this, but am I the only one who thinks the full release version (or al least what came out yesterday) doesn't play better?
    CM is shambolic, but enjoying gameplay (despite flaws).
    Yeah, I played Arsenal/Villa last night with 10/WC/FUMA at it finished 0-0 with about 10 shots each, roughly 60/40 possession, and cpu pass% in 70s... on 100% default sliders. Granted my skills are rusty as it was my first CPU match with 20, but it was not at all what I was expecting based on early impressions, clips, streams, etc.
    I'm happy enough with '19 to skip 2020 if it plays this poorly. Has anyone ever tried the Konami game? I'd consider switching but not having Premier League teams is a non-starter for me. I only enjoy career mode with West Ham!
    koebsual
    Loving PES master league, have bought PES for 10-15 yrs but man the gameplay and shot/ball movement variations etc are incredible! Also option file thing too me 5 minutes and now have every league kit etc. Pretty impressed, Fifa presentation is better. Also I'm not having the announcing on PES like some. I guess because it's so new. I be like all the team management/transfers etc on PES too. I'll try today again next yr I would guess.
    Sent from my SM-G955U using Operation Sports mobile app

    How is career mode and could you get Prem League teams on the PS4 version?
    Qb
    Yeah, I played Arsenal/Villa last night with 10/WC/FUMA at it finished 0-0 with about 10 shots each, roughly 60/40 possession, and cpu pass% in 70s... on 100% default sliders. Granted my skills are rusty as it was my first CPU match with 20, but it was not at all what I was expecting based on early impressions, clips, streams, etc.

    And this continues to be my experience. Playing on Ultimate, I can barely score. Maybe it's b/c my CM team is ****, but only the top teams are putting more than 1-2 or two goals past me, as they should.
    Last year I didn't need a good team to win the league and score tons of goals. This year I'm about to be fired for being bottom of the table.
    Not sure what's going on but I hated this at first but really enjoying it now.
    Put me in the wait for a sale crowd. The last few years I wait until NHL and Fifa are $20 each and even then sometimes I don't feel like I play enough to get my money's worth. If I remember correctly, EA had some good sales as early as Black Friday in late November.
    As an offline player, they are just obviously ignoring the things that are most important to me. I'm glad someone finally mentioned the "Fifa stutter" in a review. This has been going on for years and years and always drove me nuts. That little animation stutter/freeze that teammates have at a critical moment which leaves someone wide open. I get that they want you to play the game yourself, but I need the AI to handle some tasks.
    As an offline player I am looking at other games for my sports fix. I realize that offline players aren't their prime focus, but the AI just gets ignored year after year.
    Oh the stutter, I'm quite familiar with that, it's the game deciding whether you should succeed or not for you. I've dealt with these over the years a lot, and it gets really old.
    This is one of the most anmoying for me, this was in FIFA 19:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8Ubqn638GU
    And then the weird penalties:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=429PTQmrldw
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGPv1iRAlIU
    And the forced slow motion when approaching the opposing net:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tq6wIV_iXTc
    So yeah, I don't expect FIFA 20 to be better than 19, at all.
    "Out of the box, FIFA 20 is the one of the poorest releases for the series in some time."
    Thank you for being one of the only honest reviewers out there. These clown devs need to feel the heat.
    PhillyPhanatic14
    "Out of the box, FIFA 20 is the one of the poorest releases for the series in some time."
    Thank you for being one of the only honest reviewers out there. These clown devs need to feel the heat.

    Thanks Philly (still mad my Skins blew that 17-0 lead vs you guys Week 1 ha).
    I wish it weren’t the case but it’s just littered with bugs and the gameplay is too inconsistent.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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