The massive influx of fall sports game releases is finally coming to a close. However there’s still one more title to check out, and it’s one of the most globally popular game franchises. FIFA 19 is out now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
FIFA 19 Details
FIFA 19 is available for both the more powerful current generation consoles, as well as the awesomely portable Nintendo Switch. There are certainly wonderful experiences with FIFA on the go—in fact I still play last year’s iteration on my Switch. For this review however, I am thoroughly enjoying the amazing graphics and the powerful Frostbite engine on Xbox.
FIFA 19 looks absolutely fantastic running in 4K on my Xbox One X console. The players are detailed and move with realism, and the lighting and environmental factors give a top notch immersive experience. Each stadium also has its own environmental charm, and the subtle differences and attention to detail make each match a unique occurrence.
As an iterative franchise, naturally much remains in place from last year’s offering. That said, there are still a few improvements designed to elevate gameplay in FIFA 19.
For example, the “Active Touch System” offers closer control and new unique animations in the way players interact with the ball. “50/50 Battles” provides upgraded probability and results on whether or not a player will win or lose loose ball battles. Both user reactions and player attributes contribute to whether or not a player is likely to come out with possession.
“Timed Finishing” is probably the update that stuck out the most for me however. It invokes a second button tap while attempting to strike, which in turn allows you to control the accuracy of your shot. Not only does this lend you the ability to have more control over whether a shot is on the mark or a likely miss, but the feedback it provides allows for steady improvement.
Finally, “Dynamic Tactics” deepens the strategy involved in FIFA 19 by allowing players to create custom tactical approaches. You can even adjust these on the fly in the middle of a match. My knowledge of football strategy may be somewhat lacking, but I still enjoyed poking around and coming up with my own formations and attitudes for my team.
UEFA has arrived
One of the biggest updates to FIFA 19 comes with the arrival of the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, and UEFA Super Cup. These include some of the world’s most recognizable teams, players, stadiums, and logos. As such, UEFA’s arrival in FIFA 19 is a boon both to hardcore as well as casual fans.
One of the first things I did in FIFA 19 was take Messi and FC Barcelona to another UEFA championship season. The game does an excellent job of catching all the atmosphere and excitement I’ve come to expect from catching the occasional match on TV. In particular, UEFA-specific match commentary is seamlessly integrated into FIFA 19 and adds that extra element of authenticity.
Multiple ways to play
As expected FIFA 19 includes a variety of gameplay modes familiar to players from year to year. “The Journey” is back, this time leading a trio of protagonists to the finale of their personal quests set in their respective worlds of football. Having not played The Journey previously, FIFA 19 did an excellent job of recapping the story for me thus far.
Recreating one character’s match early in The Journey is particularly cool, as it is a flashback to a professional tilt from the early 1970’s. Both the authentic grassy, muddy pitch and the retro broadcast overly lend a real sense of antiquity to the contest.
“House Rules” is a cool new twist on custom matches. Here you can spice up the game by tinkering with the traditional rules of football. Options such as “No Rules”, “Survival”, and “Long Range” provide a bit of variety for those looking to experience something different.
A hand (or rather a FUT) in your wallet
It goes without saying that Football Ultimate Team (FUT) is back as one of the primary ways to play. Ultimate Team is a ubiquitous mode throughout all EA Sports titles. If you’ve read any of my many prior reviews, you’ll know that I’ve said what follows here many times before.
Nevertheless, it wouldn’t be fair to shine a light on Ultimate Team in every other EA Sports title this year, but not here. So I’ll be brief in repeating myself—FUT is a microtransaction-heavy mode. It features the most depth in any game mode across FIFA 19, but entirely roots itself in an economy driven by real-money transactions.
FUT certainly has appealing mechanics that many players enjoy. Yet unless you want to fork out extra cash to improve your experience, there are better ways to enjoy FIFA 19 in my opinion. Spending money in Ultimate Team isn’t a requirement, but the constant grind entices you to by design.
FIFA Women’s World Cup
One thing I do appreciate about the FIFA series is its continuing commitment to including female players and tournaments. A few trophies/achievements even require playing multiple women’s matches. It’s a great way to bring even more players on board.
I love taking control of the current roster of the Canadian Women’s team and leading them to a FIFA Women’s World Cup championship. In my very first match against the Netherlands, the crowd broke into an ambient and impromptu singing of “O Canada”, emanating palpable patriotism.
FIFA 19 delivers on everything you would expect
FIFA 19 is pretty much the exact game I would expect it to be. The graphics shine on consoles like the Xbox One X, and the Frostbite engine continues to provide some of the best mechanics in simulation gaming. On the whole it’s a solid entry in the franchise, and the addition of UEFA is the cherry on top.
That said, the fact that it simply delivers on its annual promise does leave room for improvement. Other titles in the EA Sports catalogue greatly impressed me with new innovations this year. While FIFA 19 certainly meets expectations, it doesn’t make much effort to succeed them.
I feel like next year would be an excellent time for FIFA to show us something radically new and exciting. In the meantime, FIFA 19 is still a great game that should keep football fans happy another season.
+ Awesome graphics
+ UEFA Champions League
+ A few new features and game modes
– Nothing ground-breaking or innovative
– FUT mode receives the most depth and attention
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF FIFA 19
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5