It’s one of those perennial classics. Without fail, I get my hands on the latest edition of FIFA every year and as someone who loves smartphones, they can often feel quite similar. Every year, a new version is released, it’s a bit pricey and you’re left wondering if it’s money well spent or not. Well, FIFA 19 is well worth you shelling out a few shillings for. I’ve been giving it a lash for the past week and I’m falling in love with the football sim all over again.
When Does FIFA 19 Come Out?
Let’s not beat around the bush here. I’ll talk about the game itself, but first up when can you play it? FIFA 19 will be available from 28 September. Now, you can either go buy it or read on to see what I thought about it.
FIFA 19 Gameplay
I’m a really average FIFA player and an awfully boring Twitch streamer. In fact, I think I’ve only streamed my games a handful of times. Still, if you’re into that kind of thing, you can watch my first fifty minutes playing FIFA 19 last weekend over on Twitch:
There’s a lot to digest this year in terms of gameplay. Some subtle in-game changes such as active first touch and timed finishing, not a million miles away from the Gears of War reload technique, add to FIFA 19 feeling like the most rounded game in the series to date. The cherry on top is the refreshed in-game tactics. Instead of being able to choose one tactical approach, you can mesh together several ideas to suit your gameplay style. Layered on top of this is improved pre-game strategy options too which means you can really get you team playing your style of football.
One thing which has been added to the gameplay that I love is the non-compete timeout. If you’re playing online and your opponent gives up and leaves down the controller hoping you’ll quit, they’ll be timed out in a matter of seconds. That’s a serious first world problem given the axe.
FIFA 19 Game Modes
While FIFA 18 released an update to introduce the World Cup, FIFA 19 is packing more depth right from the get-go. Your pre-install preview game brings you through a Juventus versus PSG Champions League final. You can’t skip much of the cutscenes but to be honest, that’s part of the craic. The experience perfectly mimics proper Champions League coverage and, I should have mentioned this earlier, but the Premier League coverage is impeccable, all its missing is a gambling ad, just after Martin Tyler growls “and it’s live”.
Fifa Ultimate Team 2019
So we’ve got Champions League on top of the regular favourites like FIFA Ultimate Team, which itself deserves a quick mention. Some people dislike FUT because there are too many player performance variables left to the FUT Skill/Chemistry algorithm. But my inner child can’t resist opening packets of players to see who you’ve got. FUT 19 has also been given a lick of paint. Division Rivals pits you against other players of similar skill levels. The higher your division, the greater the rewards.
This. Is. The. Craic.
House Rules. If you’re thinking of buying FIFA 19 for the college gaff, just do it. Seriously. House Rules adds a whole new layer of banter to FIFA 19 with new game modes including:
- No Rules
- Headers and Volleys
- First To
- Long Range
Some of these might be self-explanatory, but here goes nothing.
I recorded myself playing a game of No Rules versus the computer and I’ll be honest, it was a little bit boring. Now, you change that to one of your mates and this becomes mayhem. This mode means the ref does little more than blow for kick off and when you should take a corner. I got a few sweet and creamy tackles in during that game but I’ll tell you this much; watch out for offsides. With offside disabled, it’s much, much easier to score off the long ball. Wait an extra second and give your attacker the yard. That’s my tip for winning a No Rules game.
Headers and Volleys
It’s a classic. You can score an absolute peach of a curler from the edge of the box, much like Salah’s surprise Puskás winner and it’ll count for nothing. In this game mode you’re back to the playground where goals only count if they come from a header or a volley. Penalties and free kicks also count and don’t forget you can also pop the ball up to yourself for the volley.
It’s rare your local five-a-side game will end without this rule being enforced. The lads haven’t turned up for the 8pm slot after your group. One team is probably five up but someone shouts “first to three”. Your team is given a fresh chance to take something home from the night’s footy. Well now, you and your mates can play up to a predetermined number of goals. The games are also timed like usual so the leader at ninety minutes takes the glory.
This is probably my favourite mode. You start with eleven players but if you score, you lose one random lad off the team. Keepers are exempt and it’s the same rules for your opponent. It keeps the game balanced so if you do have a friend who’s fairly useless at FIFA, this might give them a fighting chance.
It’s worth noting that you can only get two red cards in Survival mode before you forfeit the game. Careful now.
Piledrivers. Piledrivers everywhere. Your goals will only count if they are absolute screamers from outside the box.
I want to say a massive well done to EA Sports for introducing these game modes. I remember a few years back, This is Football introduced diving and people loved it. It was a bit of craic and that’s what we shouldn’t forget. These games should be realistic for people who want a sim, but also be loads of fun for people who want a bit of craic. FIFA 19 has absolutely nailed this balance.
FIFA 19 Career Mode: The Journey
I’m an absolute sucker for The Journey. I feel like I’ve been following the career of a real young talent when I see Alex Hunter. Now in its third and final season, The Journey follows young Alex Hunter as he makes his dream switch to Real Madrid following his real world PR stunt transfer when the Galácticos launched their third strip made from plastic recovered from the sea. What a sentence:
That actually annoyed quite a few Real Madrid fans, peeved at their club being involved in a virtual transfer so soon after losing Ronaldo to Juventus. The real world and gaming are really in conflict lately. Just last weekend, FC Basel and Young Boys had a game paused because of fans protesting club investment in eSports.
Right, back in track.
The Journey is like leaving Coronation Street or Home and Away on. It’s cheesy goodness and really hard to turn off. This year you not only guide Alex on his journey but also his best mate, Danny Williams and half-sister, Kim Hunter. Dip in and out of each story but also enjoy being mentored by one of Real’s superstars when playing as Alex.
I’ve heard this is the last year we’ll have The Journey which is a real pity, unless they bring out a new player next year?
FIFA 19 Review: The Verdict
While streaming I said something I regret. While it’s more craic than ever before, FIFA 19 isn’t that much better graphically. The more I’ve played it the more I’ve regretted that statement. The graphics are slightly better, but I regret it because this game doesn’t deserve a black mark against it. FIFA 19 is the best FIFA to date, is easily the best football sim on the market is could arguably be the best sim full stop. It’s simply fantastic. I had been looking forward to this release quite a bit, but it’s far surpassed expectations.
FIFA Bonus Fact
Do you know David Meyler? The Irish international footballer who plays for Reading in the Championship. Well, he’s a big-time FIFA player. Seriously! Meyler even streams his games on Twitch and everything. David, if you wanna stream a game with Goosed.ie, come find us.