- Frostbite engine allows for improved animations
- Facial expressions are excellent
- The journey
- Football on the pitch is lacking compared to PES 2017
- Slow paced gameplay
- Physical players dominate the game
Like every year there is another season of football, and with that comes the latest instalment of EA’s annual release of FIFA. However this year there biggest competitors released a brilliant football game in PES 2017 meaning that EA have a lot to live up to if they want to be the king. They have attempted this through two huge changes to FIFA plus some smaller ones. The main two are the addition of the excellent new mode The Journey and moving FIFA 17 to their Frostbite engine.
The new engine allows for excellent new animations and facial expressions that help to create a very realistic experience. It also allows the game to run more smoothly and fluidly which again aids the realism and provides a good sense of detail, especially on players as some of the players look almost life-like which is a big step up from some of the plasticky and mannequin looking players in previous year. As mentioned above the other big addition is the new story mode called The Journey which allows you to play as an up and coming footballer known Alex Hunter. The story hosts a great selection of different characters and very well done voice acting that is brought to life using the new engine. It was probably one of my favourite things in FIFA 17.The mode is broken down into three distinct sections Matches, training and cut scenes. The training is no different to skill games and the matches are simply normal FIFA matches where you can choose to play as either just Alex or with the whole team, the training is important as it will help to decide as to whether or not you are going to be starting the next game or on the bench. Lastly the cutscenes create the story and add the sense of passion and desire that help to make this mode so different from anything else in FIFA. With that being said the cutscenes are still littered with clichés such as the ex football star Grandad, the hardworking mum, the busy with work dad plus the cheesy agent, and this can make it a bit laughable and comparable to films such as GOAL. Despite all of this it comes together perfectly to create a really interesting and exciting new mode which is fun to play.
Apart from The Journey there hasn’t been much else added to the other modes of FIFA 17. Ultimate Team is still as addictive as ever and EA have given us squad builder challenges, in which you exchange squads made up of certain leagues and nations with a certain chemistry and rating in return for packs and special cards. which I’m sure like me will make a lot of the FIFA community very happy. It will also stop you from simply quick selling those non rare players you get in packs, as they can be very useful in helping to make up teams and therefore earn you more packs. Once again the career mode is also very fun, assuming that you are prepared to put a lot of time into it. EA have also added some new skill games to keep you busy as well as improving the Pro Clubs mode.They have also redone set pieces which i must admit i’m not a fan off. There are now numerous new button combinations to learn for free kicks and corners and it just makes them so much more overcomplicated than they need to be. With that being said though penalties are now much better and you now have much more control and can alter your run up, it does take some getting used to though.
Despite all of this though the main focus of a football game has to be on the gameplay and unfortunately this is where FIFA 17 lacks. Once again the same kind of problems from previous FIFA’s rear the ugly head, one in particular that I found annoying was that someone with around 40-50 pace could easily keep up with my 80-90 pace player simply by holding his shirt and then eventually tackling me and winning the ball. I personally feel that this shouldn’t happen, and yes sometimes the ref will give a foul for the shirt holding but most of the time he doesn’t and there is no way that someone who is so much slower should be able to keep up with the faster players so easily. Another problem is that physical players dominate the game, to the point that they could be considered overpowered in certain situations. This problem is persistent for teams as well as players as the skilful and quick teams are simply overwhelmed by the physicality of teams with strong players present in the squads which can be extremely frustrating.
Another FIFA annoyance that makes a return is the referees. As even the slightest bit of contact in the box will merit a penalty and yellow and red cards are handed out for tackles that in real life would probably not even cause a stop in play. The last thing FIFA struggles with is that the gameplay in general is slow-paced. In PES 2017 things happen naturally, for example if you go want to play a curved through ball then it will happen whereas in FIFA you may press the button but the pass may go to the wrong person or just straight, which can be extremely annoying and see attacks break down because unlike PES the game doesn’t understand what you are trying to achieve. With that being said when you do manage to do it for yourself in FIFA it does feel all the more satisfying.
In conclusion FIFA 17 is another strong entry in the series, that thanks to the new engine now has excellent animations and facial expressions to go with the realistic graphics. The new Journey mode is excellent but slightly clichéd and ultimate team is still as addictive as ever. However similar problems from previous games still seem to be there and abundant button combos and slow-paced gameplay can be extremely frustrating at times. However once you get used to it all and learn to live with the annoyances that simply come with a FIFA game then it is excellent and can provide an entertaining and rewarding experience.