Underneath fireworks and conc conc conc cones, FIFA 20 lacks the right fitness.
Imagine living a life where you’ve only ever seen football through the prism of FIFA, then casually watching the Match of the Day on a fateful Saturday night on television. What is this, you will ask yourself, tremble, and open your eyes. Goals scored from counter-attacking situations? Long ball success? Are the players close in on the opponent’s half? It’s like eavesdropping on broadcasts from some crazy alien world. And it will really attract fun from your next FIFA game.
The problem is not that FIFA 20, like so many of its predecessors, does not play like a real football game. It’s evil necessary when cramming 90 minutes of real games into 10 digestable minutes that you can control with a gamepad. The problem is that almost FIFA 20’s football is simply not very interesting.
However, EA Vancouver certainly cannot be accused of launching the same product annually. With significant new content in this year’s game, Volta football is the title on a bill that includes new Rules for FUT and friendly matches, improved setups, and a defensive overhaul. And again, it’s all packed into one of the best presentation packages in media, images and sounds almost similar to the sky sports show on the pitch and dripping with pleasing detail in every menu screen. You just need to open the FUT package and witness the next series of fireworks and ceremony on the field to appreciate the sophisticated level of the FIFA 20 ecosystem.
In her new class, Volta claims to be a star. With Alex Hunter’s Journey now over, it continues its narrative missions with the story of a young street footballer called Revy with a dream, many teammates quarreling and a series of defeats and wins completely unsurprisingly to navigate the path to becoming the world’s most fiery Volta player.
You can play meat and potato volleyball and shoot the football that Sean Dyche nodded sternly here if you want, but actually these 3v3, 4v4 and 5v5 games are about skill and self-expressing: press hold both triggers on a cushion and your players will automatically adjust their skills their way as 17-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo all let go of his shoulders and stepped aside complacency. Any right analog movement that you’ve committed to muscle memory is useful here and in smaller pitches with fewer players, controlling the firing direction entirely manually, so you can be really proud of the (rare) movement that occurs. The winning story ‘Don’t keep anyone awake at night with its rhymes, nor convince anyone that this is how people talk to each other, but that’s the means to the end, and that end is a completely different football taste.
Back in the realm of 11-man football, even more, daring leg-kicks and a familiar style of football will continue for another year. The quality of the animation is still impressive, whether it’s ugly collisions or daring air kicks. But this year more than ever before, FIFA’s players feel locked into an 8-way moving net, especially since former rival eFootball PES 2020 has done a great job of freeing athletes from them.
That toughness means it’s a very popular regulated style of football; Die by counterattack, a continuous drill in poking slots for players with the highest speed index, and skillfully shoot one-on-one next. Defenders are now much less automated when you control them and the standing tackle has a stronger tackle variant when you hold it, so, in this sense, FIFA 20 offers new scoring opportunities. But crossing the goal because your online opponent has made a special combination of running, tracking, sprinting, and handling needed to corner the players now doesn’t make you feel like Killian Mbappe.
And that’s even more annoying because, in many ways, FIFA 20 is appealing. It attracts your attention, invites you to imagine owning a team full of black FUT cards, and helps you plan your journey from here to there in small detail thanks to the New Season Goal. It rewards you with lots of currency, jewelry, customization options, and symbols, and makes you feel like you’re part of an online football miniature model. In that way, it is decades ahead of PES and MyClub has relatively low rents.
But you’re kidding yourself. Because despite the investment, you will still get a lot of fun from the game and win, however many times you review the footage of the Volta goal that you scored by throwing it back through a defender, losing to another with an anelly and hitting it in the net (at least twice the figure now) , the biggest failure of FIFA 20 is to create an exciting football match.