Last month saw an annual gaming ritual take place that some people love and others love to hate. A new FIFA game is big news to gamers everywhere, but nowhere more so in the soccer-obsessed UK, where each new launch generates similar hype to a new iPhone. You’ll see TV coverage of people standing, or sometimes sitting, in line from the small hours of the morning, waiting for shops to open.
Another part of the ritual that also has similarities with a new phone launch is the derisive comments that it is not so different to the old game. This is generally followed by an exhaustive list of other ways you could spend $60. Let’s think logically about that for a moment.
A global phenomenon
FIFA 20 is the 27th installment of the best selling video game series ever, and well over 260 million copies have been sold since the game was first released in 1993. More recently, it has also become an eSports phenomenon in its own right. This has even gone to the extreme that fans who might traditionally have visited sites like ComeOn to place bets on real soccer games and get tips on wagering are now just as likely to be putting a dollar or two on the eSports version of the Premier League or Bundesliga. Both of these eSports leagues, and many others, are played on the FIFA platform.
The point is that with this kind of track record, it would be madness to try to fix what isn’t broken, and EA Sport is not going to make dramatic wholesale changes. What this means is that the developers can be selective about the tweaks that they make. This year, in particular, it is clear that they have been listening to the gamers and have provided exactly what they have been asking for.
In FIFA 20, you need to have eyes everywhere. Watch your wingers and don’t try to hang on to the ball for too long, keep an eye out for a raised hand and react with a well timed pass. Master these strategies and you will be rewarded with success. Sure, it means you don’t get so many of those bonzai blasts up the middle that end in a potential entry for goal of the century – but that is just a case of art imitating life.
Volta street football
Speaking of realism, how many of us actually play soccer at Wembley Stadium or Santiago Bernabéu? Volta mode takes the game out into the street – or if you prefer to an underpass in Amsterdam, a cage in London or even a Tokyo rooftop. There is a choice of game formats including three, four or five a side, and rush mode, in which there are no goalkeepers. Forget the story mode here, Volta is the perfect game for a quick knock around with friends – just as street soccer should be.
Make your own rules
No rules soccer was a big hit in FIFA Ultimate Team last year, and the ability to introduce “house rules” in the main game is a sure fire crowd pleaser. It adds a fantastic new dimension and additional fun to informal social games with friends, particularly when incorporated into 3v3 Volta mode.