FIFA 20 - The Only Thing New is the Number
April 21, 2020 | by Jacob Harvey
Year after year FIFA releases a “new” version of the game, adding updates and modifications to the soccer gameplay, graphics and rosters. Yet, somehow it never feels new. FIFA kicked off in 1993. Yes, since then there have been very significant developments to graphics and real game feel. Yet, as a loyal player, since FIFA 16 I don’t think I can say I have seen an advancement I would call necessary. The differences in the games now feel more like changes than advancements.
Looking at the gameplay, every year there seems to be something different at the focal point of the game, do you need to use a lot of pace? Passing accuracy? Defensive ability? This year it seems that passing and quick play are the keys to unlocking opponents, yet last year, FIFA 19, required nothing more than speed. While, I will admit this is a difference and a significant one, I would not say it is a definite development, once more, I would call it a change just to feel different. One thing that is consistently updated by EA is the roster, ensuring they keep up to date with real life transfers.
Looking to the online portions of the game, Ultimate Team is a platform on which players may trade up and earn coins by winning games and competitions. With those coins you can buy players on the transfer market or open packs to try and score a more valuable player. Ratings run from 49 to 99, naturally the better players are rarer and harder to come by, and therefore worth more coins.
This platform can be annoying, if you struggle at the start, or join late, it is hard to catch up without a stroke of good fortune. The difference between the higher rated players and those below them is apparent and, quite frankly, frustrating.
It is hard to talk about FIFA without mentioning Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) with both franchises selling fundamentally the same game. However, while PES used to be a toe-to-toe competitor with FIFA, in recent years, PES could not keep up, now FIFA is the most popular soccer game in circulation with over 10 million players, making over $800 million per year from the game alone according to metro.com. For these numbers, I would like to think they would come up with something authentically new and exciting. I for one would love to see their player ratings shift a little and see lower ranked teams become a more valid and competitive option.
Virgil Van Djik poses for FIFA 20 cover image.