FIFA 19 Review

 

 
Overview
 

Genre: Soccer
 
Rating: G8+
 
Release Date: September 28, 2018
 
Overall
 
 
 
 
 
4.5/5


User Rating
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Positives


- The Journey mode continues to develop into an amazing feature
- A solid soccer game with something for everyone
- New ball control features are amazing.

Negatives


- Commentary a bit stale, with not much added since last year
- Noticeably bland on-field sound bites
- New players could get lost in the menus.


Posted September 19, 2018 by

 
Full Article
 
 

Last year, FIFA 18 introduced several new features. It had a World Cup to focus on, but still managed to introduce the amazing new The Journey mode. Alex Hunter became a household name to FIFA fans, and made waves through the soccer world as his story developed. FIFA 19 introduces even more to the game, including amazing new ball control features, and the continuation of The Journey where Alex, Kim and even Danny “The Williams” Williams become champions. Buckle up, because FIFA 19 is bigger than ever and offers plenty of new ways to play the world game.

FIFA 19 Review

Loading up FIFA 19 for the first time, you play a UEFA match of Juventus vs Paris Saint Germain which instantly puts you in control of none other than Cristiano Ronaldo. The stakes are high, but really it’s just a warm up before you hit the main menu screen. We found the main menu actually works similarly to the Xbox One dashboard, in that your home screen will change depending on the way you play the game. If you’re big on Ultimate Team mode then that’s what will show up first. If you jump in to quick matches a lot and play online seasons, you’ll find these are your first to appear. The initial menu screens are simplistic with just three options of Play (Offline modes), Online, and Customise. Everything in FIFA 19 can be found in one of these three menus, but from there it gets a bit more in-depth; so much so that we think it could be a little overwhelming for newcomers.

The all new Kick Off mode gives players the option to set up a match of soccer exactly how they want. Whether you want official rules or house rules, the customization levels in the new Kick Off mode are greater than ever before. With new stat tracking and the ability to save your Kick Off progression, this new mode is more than just a Quick Match mode and allows for players of all skill levels to learn how to not just play but get better and become a champion. We found the menus in Kick Off mode a little daunting at first, and players might be forgiven in thinking this mode is more than what it is, but after a bit of customizing you can set up a match exactly how you want to and then save the template to play later, which is a great feature for when you have mates around.

FIFA 19 Review

Once you learn the basics of FIFA you might want to learn how to control the ball more and perform more skilled maneuvers. FIFA 18 allowed for this to an extent, but FIFA 19 has simplified the ball handling by controlling the right thumb-stick while you have possession. The most evolved part of controlling the ball is when you push down the right thumb-stick. Your player will begin to flick the ball up and around themselves, allowing you to treat the ball like a hackey sack and get out of sticky situations. This also means we were able to easily run towards goal, flick the ball up over the players head, and then do a scissors kick goal. It can also set up great passes, and greatly assist in getting yourself out of sticky situations. FIFA 19 finally brings true ball control to the player, and we’re expecting some great highlight reels over the coming months.

FIFA 19 Review

The Journey was a new mode in FIFA 18 that captivated us. Alex Hunter began his journey towards fulfilling his lifetime dream of playing for Real Madrid, and while he got close, he didn’t actually make it in the end. Ahead of FIFA 19’s release, the official Real Madrid Football Team’s Twitter account tweeted #WelcomeAlex in what became a great moment of blurring the lines between FIFA the video game and real life soccer. Enter The Journey Champions, the next episode of FIFA’s The Journey mode. Alex Hunter returns, but this time it’s different. He must prove himself in the team of Real Madrid and work with his mentors including World Cup star Modric to unlock abilities and become the best player in the world.

The Journey Champions also introduces the ability to switch between the other two playable characters that featured in last year’s game. Alex’s sister Kim Hunter and friend Danny Williams both return and have their sights set on becoming champions as well. Kim Hunter now has a spot playing for America, while Danny Williams joins a Premier League team (We made him an Englishman at Arsenal). For the first time ever, you can switch between any of the three characters at any stage throughout The Journey Champions. If you want to play the entire mode as Alex Hunter you can, although the game will recommend which champion you should take control of as you progress through key story moments. While Alex has his mentor mode, Kim has a “friends” mode where you must work with one teammate in particular to score, and Danny Williams is in it only for himself, with more attitude than ever.

FIFA 19 Review

Ultimate Team is back and in full force, and this is where players can spend their hard earned FCC (Football Club Credits) on their FUT (FIFA Ultimate Team). This is also where you’ll find microtransactions, but they’re not thrown in your face like some other sports games these days, although if you spend real cash you’ll definitely advance a lot faster. New features to Ultimate Team this year include Division Rivals which allows you to unlock weekly rewards competing against players of a similar skill level, New FUT ICONS allow you to add legendary soccer players to your squad such as Rivaldo, Eusebio and Johan Cruyff, and players now get more control over items that are added to your squad with the use of the new Player Picks system. All items can of course be quickly sold or traded for other items on the road to creating your perfect FUT.

Career Mode is also part of FIFA 19, which is not to be confused with The Journey. Here you’ll find both Manager and Player career, and you can create your own player and work your way up through the ranks. New features in Career Mode this year include Champions League integration, adding even more leagues to an already extensive career mode. FIFA 19 career mode also has on-the-fly tactics changes using the d-pad which we found to be pretty straight forward to use, as long as you know your line-ups. Lastly, Ultimate difficuluty can now be selected in Career Mode. With seven levels of difficulty, there’s a skill level for everyone in FIFA 19 and if you win too easily or get absolutely smashed, the game even recommends you adjust your difficulty accordingly.

FIFA 19 Review

Riddled through the entire game are training mode options allowing you to advance your skills. The training modes seem to be pushed even more in FIFA 19 than they were last year, and rewards for completing them throughout Career Mode and The Journey Champions are definitely increased compared to simply simulating them. Instead of loading screens in FIFA 19, most of the time you’ll be presented with a training scenario and usually they’re a great way to keep honing your skills. With over a dozen new training games, FIFA 19 keeps your ball skills fresh both on and off the field.

Online modes in FIFA 19 range from head-to-head online seasons, co-op seasons, online friendlies, and our personal favourite Pro Clubs which allow you to play up to 11v11 players in what’s basically the most lifelike amateur soccer experience you can have in your living room. Finally, the customize menu allows you to change basically anything you want in the different game modes. Edit the teams, create new players, fiddle with your own profile, or even change the soundtrack. You’ll also find the Catalogue which is basically a store which you can load at any time by pushing the right thumbstick. Here you can buy unique enhancements in gameplay, Ultimate Team, online and career using your FCC.

There’s no massive overhaul to the graphics in FIFA 19, but we did notice more player animations such as goal celebrations, and of course more physics animations relating to ball control. The crowd is looking more real than ever but cutting to the exact same few lads cheering over a goal every time gets a bit stale. Hopefully EA can build on their crowd reactions and in two or three years we’ll see a greater variety of crowd involvement. The FIFA 19 soundtrack features Gorillaz, Bugzy Malone, and Childish Gambino while The Journey Champions features an original score by none other than Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe. While the music is a blessing to the ear and the voice acting pretty much bang on, we were a tad disappointed with the monotonous on-field sound bites. There wasn’t much variety in audio when it came to boot to ball particularly when doing some quick passes, and player calls on-field were short and sharp and nowhere near as lifelike as watching the real thing.

Editor’s Note: Playing on my copy on Xbox One X, FIFA 19 shares the same presentation improvements, but also pleases with a rock solid silky smooth frame-rate, and the expected crisper image, which benefits certain details like the accurately-crinkling shirts on players, and the quality of replays. Loading times also appeared to be marginally shorter, but not enough to warrant buying a new console over. All in all, FIFA 19 appears a little more sharp, if still familiar from last year, on Xbox One X.

FIFA 19 Review

Each year EA Sports gets rid of old features and replaces them with new ideas. FIFA 19 builds on ideas from past games and continues to provide soccer fans with more ways to play the world game. With an extensive Career Mode, an in-depth Ultimate Team mode, the all new Kick Off mode and several ways to play online with friends and randoms alike, FIFA 19 is a solid package. We experienced no drop-outs with EA’s servers, and our only real complaints this year are superficial. The game runs incredibly smooth on our PS4 Pro on the Frostbite 3 engine, so if you’re looking for the ultimate soccer experience, look no further than FIFA 19.

FIFA 19 is also available on Xbox One, Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. For more information, head to the official FIFA website here.


David Latham

 
David has a Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) from a Group of Eight university, but only uses his very unique set of skills writing about video games. By day he's a stay-at-home dad, by night he's literally Batman. Where does he find the time?