Each year fans of football are treated to a fresh release of both EA’s FIFA and Konami’s Pro Evolution franchise. The two juggernaut leaders continue to battle it out for glory on an annual basis, leaving fans the option to select their favourite. This review takes a look at what this year’s FIFA 17 has to offer. Let’s begin.
Firstly, it seems important to state that the FIFA franchise has one key advantage over its rival, which is the full licensing. Each team, player and kit resemble the real-life counterparts, which seems to be a key element when considering EA’s continued success. Shockingly however, Iceland, a team that appeared to achieve the impossible at this year’s Euro 16 football event, won’t actually be a part of FIFA 17. This is because an ideal licencing fee couldn’t be agreed between EA and Iceland’s football association, KSI. So, for those looking to replicate the dream on the pitch of a nation with just over 300,000 people, are sure to be left disappointed.
When looking back over the time-line of FIFA releases, you get one every now and then that feels wildly different. Is this one of those examples, or should you be expecting subtle changes? Simply put, the latter. Of course, this was totally expected given last year’s release, which didn’t leave many gaps for immediate improvements.
Before getting stuck into online matches, it’s recommended to complete the skill games. This mode isn’t new, but is designed to improve your ability in many areas, becoming progressively more difficult as you reach the latter stages. However, once you’ve covered them all, you’ll be well equipped for online matches and attract many more wins.
Using the new Frostbite engine, FIFA now looks better than ever, delivering deeper player characteristics and animations. Celebrations also look stunning too – showing off has never looked so good as you admire Messi’s aeroplane pose after scoring a gem of a goal.
The Journey is a brand new game mode that is designed to take you on an expedition. Taking control of Alex Hunter, who has the dream of making it big within the English Premier League, your decisions will change the direction and outcome of the story. Alex’s agent and family also feature, allowing you to get a taste of events both on and off the pitch. Visually speaking, the drama scenes are breath-taking and ultra-realistic.
Now on to the important part; gameplay. Controlling players feels a little smoother and more fluid, though the difficulty seems a little greater. Throw-ins are more realistic and so is shooting. Goalkeepers are weaker, and defending isn’t easy either, thus, this is an area of the pitch you’ll want to master, otherwise you’ll likely go on a long losing streak, just as I did before wising up.
Scoring penalties was quite a headache for newcomers, but it’s now a little bit simpler thanks to an overhaul. Before, it was really easy to predict that an unconfident player would simply select to go down the centre; the new penalty-taking system is really impressive, easier to operate, and was a much needed upgrade.
It’s never simple for the brains behind this franchise to think of new innovations, but they manage to do this with nearly every release. FIFA 17 excels with subtle changes, with that said, there isn’t anything truly new other than Journey mode – a nice touch, but nothing more. EA has done enough here to warrant any FIFA or soccer fan to grab a copy and get stuck in until next September – what’s more, your team will be updated, something any fan is sure to desire.