The football word is pretty unpredictable – just ask Big Sam. To have something pretty regular keeps us from shaking ourselves to sleep at night. One such regularity is the annual release of football games, like FIFA 17.
Before last season, a team like Leicester winning the Premier league was saved only for the FIFA, PES and Football Manager players of the world. But how does trying to achieve the impossible rate in EA’s latest instalment of the world’s biggest footy game?
FIFA 17 features a number of changes this year. Two of the biggest talking points have been the new and glossy Frostbite engine which has totally taken over the EA arsenal and a new story mode similar to the old Fight Night games. To see the power of the engine simply look at this clip:
It’s truly staggering. Just as we think the graphics can’t get any better they make subtle but literally game changing changes.
FIFA 17: The Journey
Do we all remember the legendary Fight Night series EA ungraciously sidelined a few years ago? Well one of the best parts of this game was the story-based campaign mode. This is completely new to football gaming, but was a staple of the Fight Night series for years and was also the making of the NBA 2K series. Last year’s edition was directed by Spike Lee and EA wanted to carry this drama into FIFA 17.
The premise for the series is choc-a-bloc full of clichés and cheese. In fact, most of the story mode would be at home in the Goal movies and that’s kind of why it works. Alex Hunter, the future of football the wonder-kid, is the main character of the story. Right now, its only the English Premier League – a shame because it would be great to lead Limerick FC into European greatness. Anyway, a vital trial takes place and thus the story begins.
A novel way of weaving in mini-games
Games, training and cut scenes are the order of the day. In the games select either your player like Be A Pro or the whole team like a standard game. Through the games and mini-games, your performances decide whether you make the team or will be Wayne Rooney’ed right to the sideline. There is a very linear feel to The Journey, leaving me wondering if you really are having any affect on the journey at all.
Of course, the most important aspect of every new FIFA is the gameplay. The gameplay is fluid yet intricate with combos and multiple motions that separate the good players from the greats. The downside being the now natural slow and almost defensive-minded approach to the game. If you’re coming from PES, you might very well struggle to get up to pace. In PES 2017, things happen naturally. The game cleverly knows if you’re trying to dink the ball over the top of defenders with the outside of your foot. In FIFA 17, you have to do all this for yourself. Which is why I prefer the game. Sure it can be frustrating at times but that’s half the fun. That moment you drill that ball into the top corner and see that look on your mates face it’s all worthwhile.
The players of FIFA 17
There have been some modifications to the players with stronger players now far more commanding. The likes of Pogba are able to storm through the middle, while tricky lads like Hazard a damn sight more nimble in possession. The use of Frostbite does rack up the number of animations, and this makes a visible difference. Players will force a header downwards, curl a free-kick or twist their body to spray a ball downfield. These don’t make a whole load of difference to overall game-play, but they help things flow, and look, better.
Bloody set pieces
And now onto the downsides of FIFA 17. The set piece system at the moment is a nuisance. Sure enough, it will take some time to figure out but so many combos and positioning changes decipher how the ball will be struck, while great, are bloody difficult. Don’t even get me started on penalties.
Simple and effective, once again another strong showing from the guys in EA and one that we think is the beginning of something big as the switch to the new engine is the groundwork for future titles. With super realistic graphics and detailed facial expressions that finally make the players look like more than mere robots.
The story based career mode seems like a fun novelty every user will be deep into for all of about two weeks before switching back to the normal season, online or the fan favourite Ultimate team.
Tough set pieces will have you pulling your hair out, but when you friends are screwing it up too, does it really matter? Get ready to pull up next to your mates and bring your finest smack talk because we will be.
Keep an eye on Goos3D for the battle between Jon and Gary.