• Jesper Ingemansson

Review: FIFA 20

I've played my fair share of FIFA games throughout my years of being a gamer, but my involvement in actually playing or acquiring the latest titles have been degrading for some reason, and that might be cause I feel like there's not enough change or variation to justify getting them. The visuals change from time to time, and there's some small changes implented here and there, but I'm longing for something significant. FIFA 20 is the latest title to bring soccer fans their annual joy, and it's aiming to actually be more than just a FIFA game, especially with the new Volta mode. Is it enough, though? Well, I've played several hours of the game, scored a lot of goals, and tackled many players, so I'd say I have a reasonable opinion about it.

Platform: Xbox One S. Introduction The game starts with making use of its new mode called Volta, one that can be seen as an implementation of FIFA Street into FIFA 20. A cinematic plays where I see a stadium getting ready to start a match, with close-up shots of some players moving in slow-motion, followed by one of them running towards the goal with the ball and scoring a goal. The screen goes black and transitions to a shot of another player, but this time taken to the streets, flicking the ball 

into the air while moving forward. The ball happens to land in the hands of the same player that scored the goal in the previous scene after a while, only for it all to end with him being challenged by some spectating players, which of course starts a match that I'll be taking part in to introduce me to the new mode of Volta. It's a great start to the game, and it's certainly not afraid to go directly to the point, all while packing some enjoyable cinematic cut-scenes. Visuals/performance I know what you're thinking: do the graphics ever really get that much better in FIFA games? I literally do understand where those people are coming from, cause the sad truth is that they only improve them every three years, sort of, and while the move to DICE's Frostbite engine did improve them a lot, we've yet to see something significant post-engine-replacement. The thing with FIFA 20, however, is that the visuals are actually really nice looking - I was debating whether or not I was looking at a video game at times, but there's something off with it all, something that I can't quiet put my finger on, almost as if the graphics could've looked better in general. 

Don't get me wrong, cause 80% of the game looks very good, with character models that are super realistic, textures that are of high resolution, animations that look accurate & good, detailed, well designed and huge stadiums, good hair physics, great grass looking grass, exceptional ball physics, and more, but just the overall graphics style isn't enough for me to consider the game a fully fledged out current generation FIFA title. The anti-aliasing is definitely not being used to its full potential as there's jagged lines rearing their ugly heads around rather often, shadows aren't the best looking, spectators look horrible at times (there's a ton of duplicated ones, too) and I'm not even sure if the resolution is of native 1080p. 

There's more pros than cons regarding the visuals and performance, but there's stuff that shouldn't be present, which is a problem. The players' physics, and the way they behave, is an entirely different thing - a tackle will realistically drop the player to the ground, the ball hitting a player actually looks like it really does hit something, and how they react when a goal is scored, makes it very clear to me that EA has been putting some time into it. I like the graphics, they're beautiful to look at, especially with the amazingly realistic and detailed character models, and their stellar facial animations (especially in Volta mode's cut-scenes), but I feel like the game has been rushed in some way. 

Performance is nothing short of perfect, offering the traditional 60fps framerate that never drops a single frame, and with there not being many, if any, bugs at all, at least in my experience. Audio is great as well, showcasing high quality voice acting, music, sound effects, narrator voices, and more. Without its small issues with visuals, the game could've been perfect, especially since everything else from audio, performance & animations, to the almost photo-realistic players, and their realistic behavior, is top notch. Volta Volta is a new mode for FIFA 20, taken from the classic FIFA Street games, though as a much improved one compared to them. It's trying to serve as the selling point to this year's FIFA, and I honestly do think it succedes in that department. It's extremely fun and awesome to play, something I didn't think I'd really feel again in a FIFA game. It's not exactly as old-school feeling as the stand-alone FIFA Street games, obviously, but it sure comes close. 

Volta is accompanied by a story much like the one in older titles, The Journey, but with a new protagonist to rise up in the ranks as. It all begins with creating a character, where I saw a ton of different customization options. I was able to change everything within information about my player, height, weight, look of the parts of the head such as the nose, jaw, mouth, eyes, ears, and much more, different clothing, tattoos, and lastly animations. There's options for every type of gamer: if the desire to look as huge as possible is there, it can be done, if someone wants to have the biggest ears ever, it's a possibility, and if you want to look like yourself, it'll probably look really close to it in the end. It's always fun to create your own player, and in FIFA 20, it's more varied, and better than ever before. After going through the creation of my player, I'm seeing a cut-scene that starts with him arriving by a warehouse that he's soon about to enter. Once entered, it's made clear by the type of soccer that they're playing, clothing, and look of the surroundings, that he's there to take part in a tryout to join a Volta team in their journey on winning the World Championships. It doesn't take long for the team to welcome him with open arms (sort of), 

and so the trial begins in the form of a match in progress where I'm supposed to show them what I got. A cut-scene plays out and Jayzinho, the team leader, announces that my player made it into the team, and this is where it truly kicks off. Volta is honestly the best addition to any FIFA game ever, and it really is so much fun, as well as full of nostalgia for us old-school FIFA gamers. Considering the fact that the story in The Journey in previous games were surprisingly good, I wasn't expecting anything less in this one, and I sure was delighted to find out that it's really good in this one as well: cut-scenes are great to watch and almost have the same feel as in big AAA games, there's solid voice acting, facial animations are spot on, there's character development, and going through all the different championship is pretty cool. It sometimes felt like I was watching a movie, but the winner in the pack is definitely the gameplay of the mode, consisting of smaller but more fast-paced games within street-themed places where the first team to reach 5 goals, wins. It's different but still familiar, and works as a pocket edition of FIFA, but with a theme of street. 

The mode forces the player to play differently, too, so adapting to the constant nearby presence of opponents is vital to success. Dribbling is also way more encouraged now, of course, and is really cool to master. Volta is the kind of mode I'd literally be longing for to play again after not having been on it for a while, as it's almost addicting to play. It's simply just an amazingly fun & old-school mode to play. Gameplay I wasn't expecting there to be any significant change to the franchise's gameplay, and there isn't, but that doesn't mean that it's not trying to evolve. It mainly uses the same old but gold gameplay formula where I'm controlling different players in a whole team in games of soccer from afar in huge stadiums, the way it's supposed to be, but with the debut of Volta, there's a bit of a shake-up now with its differences, though only resulting in for the greater good. While there isn't much that has changed as far as gameplay goes, the aspects that actually have been changed, are pretty decent, though not being as significant as I wanted them to be for it to feel altered in an important way. Probably the biggest gameplay change is the overhauled way free-kicks and penalties work now, allowing for a much more advanced system that'll also require a higher skill level to really be taken advantage of. It's a change that is noticeable right away, 

and it feels more rewarding now, so a well placed goal after several tries of even scoring, feels great. FIFA games are usually packed with content, and FIFA 20 isn't an exception - Ultimate Team is back, the mode where you're basically the manager of a club/team, and go on to play in games with it such as squad battles and online matches, manage your squad, complete objectives for the team, level up to unlock rewards, acquire new players via packs, and more. It's a mode that's been loved by fans ever since it had its debut, and I can't say I don't understand that, as it's a very good, and content filled mode. The packs are unpredictable, squad battles are fun but pretty challenging when starting off (that's the way it should be, though), managing your squad does its job, and receiving new players is exciting. I haven't played the mode that much in older games, but it's definitely one of the highlights, but I'm not sure if it's been improved upon much, if at all, for it to be better than before. It's a unique experience in its own to manage a whole team and overcoming the competition to rise as the leading team at the end. Another addition to gameplay changes is that pacing during games when it comes to defenders versus attackers is a lot better and more realistic now; for example, 

a slow defender that shouldn't be able to catch up to an attacker that is a lot faster, can't do that anymore, and results in more realistic gameplay that acts the way it is supposed to, giving the attacker that much needed sprint. Skill games are accessible at any time, and they're great if I ever want to fine tune my ability to score a goal, dribble, handle the ball better, and more. It's the perfect place to enter to vary between gameplay. The online portion of the game isn't something I usually play that much of in FIFA games, but it's undeniably one of the more refreshing parts of FIFA 20. Games don't suffer from lag, and it's worked flawlessly for me, though I do not like that any of the two players in a match can pause it at any time, but I guess that's realistic in some way. Other than that, it has a decent amount of content, it's very fun to play, and gives the game a whole other feeling. The quickest way to enter any game in FIFA 20 is of course via kick off, a mode that straight away enters me in a game of my choice between teams & settings, a great and simple way to play a game, without any issues to complicate or delay anything. There's not much to say about kick off in FIFA 20, though, 

and it's not really a part that can be improved on really, but it works wonders, and it'll always be the preferred way for me to quickly play a game with my girlfriend, friend, or just an AI. Speaking of that, split-screen is still featured (thank God), and it's probably the most laugh inducing experience you can have in the game. It works really well, and I can't recommend it enough for casual, but also hardcore soccer fans, and gamers that want to sit down, relax & just have some fun with someone during a game of FIFA. Other modes are career mode, where I managed my own player created by myself (as part of an already established team), participating in games, becoming a better player, and completing a objectives. We also have UEFA Champions League, the premier club football mode that sees players competing in a big tournament. It's honestly a mode I'm not that into, yet I still find it interesting enough as it's a pretty big part of the game, especially if I want to compete in a grand way. 

It's fun & competitive, but not that big of a deal for me. One thing is certain with FIFA 20, at least, and that is that it'll never get boring, thanks to the content that it has, and the amount of adrenaline- inducing fun gameplay that it offers. I feel like it's too easy to lose the ball in a game, though, as I struggled from time to time trying to run with it, pass it around, only to be easily overcomed by an opponent, but I don't know if that's just me. All in all There's a new FIFA game every year, a practise that might be seen as repetitive by some people, especially when there's not a lot of new additions to bring to the table for it to feel refreshing, which is something I can understand, but not every FIFA game is the same, as proved by FIFA 20, though not in a way that's significant enough. The game is in its prime when talking about its amount of content & fun to be had, but stumbles when trying to showcase evolved gameplay, all while not looking as good as it could, even this close to a new generation. However, character models and how realistic they look, is by far the most advanced sight yet, with other parts of visuals/performance also not being too shabby, like textures, physics, design of stadiums, and cut-scenes. Shining very bright with its Volta mode and its story, it might be the FIFA game in a while that's offered the most change as far as content goes, and while I love it's debut into annual FIFA games as well as how old-school & enjoyable it is, I feel like the game needs more bang to justify a $60 purchase. Performance is top notch, and it's mostly a bug-free experience, though. The game is generally a great soccer game for fans of the sport, but EA needs to do something bigger. I've really enjoyed playing the game, and I do think it's a game people should buy if they're huge fans of the sport.

FIFA 20 is available digitally on the Microsoft Store, as well as physically in other stores, with a starting price tag of $60, all the way up to $100 for the more expensive versions. If you're a subscriber to EA Access, you get a discount towards the game's price, as well as a 10 hour long trial. Are you interested in buying the game? That can be done here: FIFA 20 - Microsoft Store. A review code was provided by Electronic Arts (EA) for review purposes. This review is written by Jesper Ingemansson, and is based on his honest opinion about the game.

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