Every year, EA Sports makes a fortune out of FIFA -- the football game franchise that has seen millions of copies being sold worldwide every year. After about two decades, you would tend to think that innovating on the game of football could become difficult -- after all, it's only football at the end of the game.
EA, however, has different thoughts in mind. The developers of FIFA have been throwing different new features at the game every year, which has steadily kept getting better in terms of graphics, realism, gameplay and other minute aspects. FIFA 20, meanwhile, has a lot more in stock than just incremental updates, and makes a compelling case for all football fans out there to try it out. Here's what's new.
It's almost as if EA itself had been asking the question of what more can it do with FIFA. The answer, it seems, is the return of street football. FIFA 20 will bring Volta Football -- an all-new mode that lets you play street football in varying degrees of difficulty, pitches and formats. FIFA's new street football mode is built to model the love for football that people have across the world, and you can play Volta in 3v3 Rush format (Rush = no goalie), 4v4, 4v4 Rush, 5v5 and even in Pro Futsal mode. Furthermore, you can play standalone matches, street footie leagues and tournaments, and even as online multiplayer tournaments. What's even more appeasing is that you can play with both male and female footballers alongside each other, while all characters are customisable. You can also build your own player and have him/her play street football. In short, Volta is EA's elixir to FIFA, at least until they find a new, more exciting alternative to continue the hype around the game.
While gameplay improvements are made every year, EA claims that its AI-driven features will make a bigger difference this year. The first aspect that will get affected with this is on-ground player runs and formation, where your AI-driven teammates will make more realistic runs to let you play the perfect through ball, or the ideal interjection. As a result, you will find yourself in more one-on-one situations, which is great. However, even your opponents will get the AI improvement, which means that goalkeepers will now act smarter off the line and in close situations to make instinctive clearances and saves -- hence replicating the real life aspects of the game more authentically.
Defenders will also get a healthy improvement scale, where the AI engine will take better heed of a defender's stats, such as strength and speed, to give you an advantage when it comes to defending. It will also make defender positioning much tighter. However, on-the-ball defending will need more player involvement, and depend on how well can you make a tackle, than the AI engine doing it for you, while playing off the ball. This will make a whole lot of difference, for casual multiplayer games are almost always about scoring goals, rather than tactically clever playing.
The third aspect that aims to change the way you play FIFA is the updated physics engine, which will control aspects such as ball spin, flight trajectory of crosses and long-range shots. Finesse shots will also become more accurate, and limit the goalkeeper's ability to stretch to an unrealistic point in order to make saves. This will also drastically affect penalties and free kicks, where users can take advantage of ball spin in order to hit the perfect top-corner free kick from 30 yards out.
Finally, remember those unrealistic but awesome volleys you could randomly score from outside the box? Turns out, those will be restricted too, in order to make the game more realistic. After all, not everyone can (and should) score volleys the way Zlatan does, right?
End of the Journey
While this is not a change per se, it does mark an end to the four-year-long run of Journey, FIFA's considerably loved story mode which had us following the rise and consequences of stardom and responsibility of Alex Hunter. Over time, it has become a rather loved side window into FIFA, and FIFA 20 will conclude the Journey. Question is, will we get a fitting end to it? Sure, it was not the most perfect in terms of the consequences of different decisions, but it still was a lot of fun. Would EA continue with a story mode beyond Journey? We don't know yet, but we sure hope that the positive reaction to this game mode has urged them enough to build something more special in the future.