Gaming Editor Kyle Moffat gives his opinion on the state of FIFA 20 and how EA can look at reconnecting with the community.
Over the past few years, complaints directed at EA over FIFA have considerably grown. Their focus on Ultimate Team is beginning to drive some of the FIFA community away. Thus, Football Manager is being turned to more and more for an interesting and realistic simulation experience of football. EA’s focus on the controversial microtransaction-based side of FIFA in the form of Ultimate Team packs should come as no surprise. However, it’s time for EA to focus on winning back their community before it’s too late. But, how can they do this?
Career Mode and Pro Clubs are easily the most popular game modes apart from Ultimate Team and somehow they think ignoring what the fans want out of these game modes is going to help them. Yes Ultimate Team can get them more cash through in-game transactions but firstly, they could very soon experience a downturn in copies of FIFA sold. Secondly, making the game more enjoyable for its range of players is the correct thing to do morally.
Pro Clubs has hardly changed over the years. This would be okay if it didn’t often face technical issues and if fans had what they wanted from the game mode, but that is not the case. Pro Clubs lacks lots of the small details that can make it an accomplished game mode. For example, providing players with a practice arena for 11v11 matches rather than every game being competitive would be useful. I see no reason why the practice arena from earlier FIFA’s is absent from Pro Clubs or from the main menu, as it was something the community appreciated having. Furthermore, giving fans the ability to create their club crest and kits, improving the skill tree for your player, providing better club stats and more would significantly improve a the experience for a Pro Clubs player.
Similarly with Career Mode, very little has actually changed. With exception to training mechanics, a few cut scenes and pre-season tournaments rather than ordinary friendly matches, very little has changed since FIFA 14. Menus look the exact same with slightly different colours (this also goes for the main menu and all other game modes). Thus, it never feels fresh to pick up and play Career Mode. The transfer market, scouting, league tables and much more look and feel the exact same as they did years ago, removing the excitement factor from playing a new career. EA need to change the aesthetics of Career Mode particularly if they want to keep fans happy.
One problem that is seemingly new to FIFA 20 is big teams always dominating leagues and cups which sound realistic but is far from the truth. Yes, Liverpool and Manchester City are at the top of the Premier League, but when they’re earning 100+ points every single season there’s an obvious problem, especially when this scenario is very rare. In addition to this, you only need about 25 points to stay up because yo-yo clubs are in full affect as bottom teams won’t buy players – even if they have the money to – so they get relegated straight away. EA need to fix this because it becomes near impossible to win a league or to have a unique Career Mode experience. You’ll never see a shock in league or cup matches either so if EA could programme the occasional upset it would again make the experience more interesting.
Another sly and unfair mechanic I’ve noticed is when you use a smaller team in cup competitions you will nearly always be paired with a top 6 team in early rounds. Progressing in cup competitions has unnecessarily been made more challenging. It surely must be easy enough to fix some of these issues, especially since they didn’t exist in previous FIFA’s.
Having a true youth academy system would help Career Mode to be engaging after the first few seasons. In FIFA, teams lack a full youth team. It is also really easy for say a League Two club two find world class talents. Football Manager’s youth system is much better which is why it’s more repayable after the first couple of seasons.
Finally, there’s a bug that still isn’t fixed regarding changing to attacking or defensive. Players randomly allocate themselves to different positions so you then waste time moving players back to the correct places. Centre-backs are suddenly playing at Left-winger and so on. Once again, I’ve never had this problem in previous FIFA’s so it would be nice to have a fix to this.
Speaking of performance, we’ve all had the scenario in which you will make a tackle and the ball will nearly always go back to the opposition effortlessly. Gameplay has taken a downturn in recent years due to small issues such as this. Corners and free kicks have become ineffective and penalties have now become a 50/50 situation.
FIFA 20 is the worst FIFA has been for a long time but I see no reason why many of the noted issues and complaints cannot be taken inboard by EA before their next installment, especially since many complaints revolve around the removal of in-game content. Someday, FIFA could be great again but EA need to focus on all of their game modes to make the fans happy.
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