Nerve’s Ollie Sirrell takes a critical look at the football game that got fans all over the globe excited…
Benjamin Franklin famously said back in 1789 that “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”. This quote is now so over-used that it has become a tedious cliché however had the Founding Father been alive in the 21st century, perhaps his proverb would finish as “death, taxes and a your yearly edition of EA Sports’ FIFA”.
By the end of FIFA 16 fans were left tired and uninspired, feeling that, like Mr Franklin’s words, the series had become clichéd and predictable.
So, have EA revitalised their series in this year’s incarnation? Put simply, yes. This is largely due to FIFA 17 being powered by the ‘Frostbite engine’, a software that has enabled EA to add features they previously could not.
The passing is slicker and more precise, the goalkeepers are thankfully smarter and shooting has been refined.
Consequently, this has allowed EA to generate a largely requested ‘story mode’ to their game through ‘The Journey’, which puts you in control of 17 year old Alex Hunter. The striker is just starting out in football and after taking part in an exit trial you are given the choice to sign with any Premier League team. Throughout the season you are meet the worst kind of realistic dilemmas between in-game challenges (Basically friendship and girl troubles.)
Despite its slow and repetitive start, the quest to make Hunter one of England’s finest talents, is undeniably gripping. EA must also be applauded for making their protagonist a person of colour, another indubitably smart move.
Also, there are additions to pre-existing modes. ‘Career Mode’, ‘Pro Clubs’ and ‘FIFA Ultimate Team’ have all been updated, but it is clear that if these three modes were children, FUT would be the favoured teenager whereas the other two are still the inappreciable infants. The elements added to Career Mode and Pro Clubs are essentially thin, populist ideas designed to appease casual gamers whereas Ultimate Team has two new exciting modes in ‘Squad Builder Challenges’ and ‘FUT Champions’.
The gameplay is obviously a vital element of the content and that too has been improved. The passing is slicker and more precise, the goalkeepers are thankfully smarter and shooting has been refined. The jury is still out on the revamped set pieces – corners are better but the new penalty method is strange and frustrating.
FIFA 17 is richer, smarter and more fun than any of its previous editions and despite some scattered weaknesses, it’s worth your £40!