As we said farewell to Alex Hunter’s fairytale journey in FIFA 19, EA Sports needed to change things up a bit for FIFA 20, giving fans of the world sport a reason to get excited for this year’s iteration. While all the typical modes such as Career, FIFA Ultimate Team, Quick play, and Manager mode are still alive and well, The Journey has been replaced with VOLTA Football. This new mode dramatically changes the game, incorporating the old FIFA Street style of urban gameplay into the full FIFA 20 package with a progressive twist of intergender games, a dramatic story, and maximum attitude.
VOLTA Football brings the street back to FIFA. It has been quite a few years and a whole generation since we’ve seen FIFA on the street, and VOLTA Football brings it back with a very loud bang. The new mode introduces new characters and has a detailed story players can really dive into. The story is full of ups and downs but essentially you’re tasked with building your squad and winning the world championship. While the game will scale you up in difficulty, it won’t scale you down so if you’re losing a bunch of games on the default World Class difficulty it may be a good idea to drop it down a notch or two as you won’t progress in the story if you keep losing.
There are different types of game modes and different locations in VOLTA Football, and your gameplay style will need to change to match the setup. 3v3, 4v4, 4v4 Rush, 5v5, and Professional Futsal are all included, and some locations have tall fences and roofs while others have low fences or just normal boundaries. Our personal favourite locations were New York on the river, and Rio amongst the slums. You don’t visit every location during the VOLTA Story mode, so there’s plenty to explore in the online VOLTA World or the tournament VOLTA League modes during or after the story is complete.
Building and customising your squad is an essential part of putting a successful group of players on the field, and your main character in the VOLTA Story mode has their own skill trees which is one of the ways you can level up their rating. General play also levels up the rating, as well as doing training which is now location specific and includes a fun final training session where you can run through the streets of Rio or in the hallway of an arena before bursting out onto the field. There’s plenty of gear to unlock through various means whether completing challenges, training, or purchasing with the earned currency, and we envision that some players will get very creative with their team colours and designs.
The FIFA 20 Career Mode is one of the most extensive yet, and now you can make the team manager look the part too with full customisation of body type, clothing, hairstyles, and even gender. Career Mode includes press conferences off the field where it’s important to answer questions the way you feel is best for your team as it directly affects performance and morale. For those wanting to delve even deeper into the mode, you can now fiddle with transfer targets, wage expectations, as well as chat with your players to make sure everything is going along swimmingly. There’s something for every soccer fan in the FIFA 20 Career Mode with hundreds of teams, thousands of players, and almost 100 arenas to explore. With VOLTA Football taking charge in FIFA 20, Career Mode might even get overlooked by some, though it’s still definitely as in-depth as ever and the most authentic soccer experience you can get.
FIFA Ultimate Team is still the cash cow that it’s known for, though this year there are many more ways to sink your cash into it such as new customisation options including things like celebrations and stadium themes, as well as a new way to earn objectives. All of these are of course a lot easier to achieve if you’re spending more money on better characters as when you level up through each season you will unlock better rewards. It’s a good idea to keep a check on how much real-world cash you’re spending on this mode knowing it doesn’t carry over to next year’s game, but diehard FIFA 20 players can still eventually reach the higher levels without having to spend money.
Aside from some new features in VOLTA Football, the controls in FIFA 20 remain the same as last year, which is most certainly a good thing. We thoroughly enjoyed the new control system last year which gave players amazing ball control, allowing you to flick the ball up and knock it around like a hacky sack before passing it off to a teammate or knocking it over your opponent’s head. Adding this control system to VOLTA Football means you can be as tricky and showy as you like, bouncing the ball off walls and flicking it about to your hearts content. It’s hard to fault the FIFA 20 control system which now includes on-the-fly taunts and mentality changes in VOLTA Football. You can either play it like an amateur, passing and attempting shots, or you can delve far deeper into the mechanics of the game for a much more thorough gameplay experience.
The Frostbite engine once again delivers an amazing visual experience, and now with the VOLTA Football mode, the developers got to play around with designing new environments and gear for the players. While everything on-field looks great, the environments in the background aren’t exactly revolutionary. We were disappointed by the low render qualily of buildings in New York City and some of the textures and models in other locations, though the crowd really does help to bring VOLTA Football to life. A special mention to the New York arena which had some people not watching the game and instead focusing their attention on the basketball happening in the background or the merch stands. The crowds in FIFA 20 are arguably the best we’ve seen in any sports game, and greatly vary depending on the location and type of match you’re playing.
All your favourite past and present soccer stars are in FIFA 20 and this year they look just that little bit better. As mentioned, there are thousands of individual soccer superstars in FIFA 20, as well as the Class of 20 ICONS which includes 15 new superstars such as Zinedine Zidane, Kaka, and Andrea Pirlo for the first time. Creating a dream squad is now a reality in FIFA 20, and it’s never looked so good. The soundtrack is also great, this year featuring a more street style due to the VOLTA Football mode. You’d be for not realizing whether you’ve booted up FIFA 20 or the recently released NBA 2K20 as the music for both games is quite similar. We have no complaints for the voice acting in VOLTA Football and Career Mode, with some special appearances in the VOLTA Story mode adding to the authenticity and immersion that EA Sports has created.
Each year we see new innovations out of EA Sports to keep the FIFA games feeling fresh, and while the complaints continue to roll in about Career Mode and FUT being stale, the changes continue to surprise us and add to the complex dynamics that have already been invested in each mode in many years past. VOLTA Football breathes some fresh life into the FIFA franchise, and while we have our suspicions that EA Sports was considering making it a standalone game, the fact it’s included and at the forefront of the menu screen means they decided it was better to include it in the overall FIFA 20 package and this only means good things for soccer fans. If you’re tired of the standard 11v11 soccer you can quickly switch things up to one of the many modes in VOLTA Football and play online displaying your own fully customised flair. Other than FUT mode, we didn’t feel like FIFA 20 was much of a cash grab. There’s plenty of soccer in this year’s game, and we hope VOLTA sticks around for a while.
Rocket Chainsaw reviewed FIFA 20 on an Xbox One X console in 4K; it can also be purchased on PlayStation 4 or Nintendo Switch. For more information, head to the official FIFA 20 website.
- VOLTA Football is a whole lot of fun - Changes to Career Mode and FUT keep things fresh
- Cash grab aspects still prominent - VOLTA Football has some teething issues - Requires constant EA Sports server connection.