Fifa has been a household name for many years now and EA are back again to show why they deserve to be the first name on everyone's toungue when it comes to sports games. But with the release of 2019's edition, will this ball continue to roll up the hill, or is it on a down-slope?
It's a bit of a difficult one to judge, as with most sports games it comes a lot down to personal tastes and what you're looking to get out of it. So lets take this step by step through the modes of 19 and see where it takes us.
Firstly, as per most years, there is a tweak in gameplay. Gone is the insane passing game of 18, where each player knew the absolute location of their team mates and all was required by the player was a general direction and a tap of a button to cast a pinpoint ball over. The pace-based game this resulted in is heavily toned down now, as the direction now taken requires a heavier input from you, having to control both power and be a whole lot more accurate with your direction. This helps bring the game back into a possession based mentality. It's a little clunky to get used to, but it after a few games, it becomes a rewarding experience when you master it. Shooting is a little toned again, with a new feature built in for a second timed tap to increase shot power, but nothing drastic.
After a few introductory games to get the feel of the latest changes, it's time to jump around a little. Moving into the 'story' mode, if we can call it that, we are back with Alex Hunter. As per 18, I look at this mode as my least favourite part of the installment. With 'decisions' that make seemingly no difference and a story line that would be better suited to EastEnders, I had no drive from last year to want to play this, and after an hour, no drive to finish it. However I endevered and hopefully played the last game I ever need to as EA's soap opera footballer.
I decided to invite a team member to hit the sofa with me and blast out trying some 2 player co-op on both Ultimate Team. I have to admit I feel not enough people try Co-op play on Fifa and I feel they are missing out. With the changes to gameplay this year, having someone else to make runs, read the play, make space and talk to is a great feature that the series has. FUT is little to no different this year, barring the addition of Division Rivals, which seems like a way to help matchmaking a little better. But as per usual, the gamemode is outbalanced by those willing to shovel real money into their account. After switching over to solo mode and grinding out enough for a few gold packs, we headed over to Kick Off.
This is where the real fun of 19 kicks in. The typical, pick a team and go did need some new life and EA have done a great job at it. With the addition of 'House Rules', there are some new ways to play. With Head and Volleys, where you can only score as per the mode suggests', Long Range, where goals out of the box score 2 points, No Rules, which is a bloodbath, and what is arguably the best and most fun I've had on Fifa in a while, Survival. Every time you score a goal, you lose a player (up to a max of 4). Giving the other team the chance to come back, or playing smart and waiting to the last moment to strike, after a few games, this has become the go-to mode for friendly banter and kick off.
Fifa 19 may not be the lightening strike of the series, but it gives life to parts of the title that required it, especially with the introduction of the Champions League. EA seemingly continue their dominance of the household football game, but maybe with 20, they can leave the drama at the door and continue increasing the fun of the game. 7/10