FIFA 19 is certainly not perfect, but shows improvement in almost all areas compared to FIFA 18. Various game modes have been extended, with a starring role for The Journey: Champions and the new House Rules that are pots between to provide friends with some laughter. Ultimate Team remains the center of the game for many players, and that game mode also has some nice innovations. The most important thing, however, is that FIFA 19 clearly plays differently from FIFA 18. Nevertheless, the game quickly feels very smooth and smooth. The new shooting system is potentially a good addition, but we are not yet able to get used to it. We are, however, pleased with the much better performing keepers, with which an important downside of FIFA 18 has been solved. Other downsides, such as cumbersome scouting in Career Mode and the fact that the Eredivisie is still finished with unrecognizable players, unfortunately still exist. That should not spoil the fun, because FIFA 19 plays nice enough not to think about it for too long.
You may have recently seen the funny movie of EA Sports in which some of the best footballers in the world respond to their rating in FIFA 19. Of course they are not satisfied, and jokes about that are made. but it does indicate what status FIFA has as a football game in the world of football, and the game is indispensable, even though ‘the competitor’ was actually the better game in recent years. However, this year we are less inclined to speak about PES, so there are opportunities for FIFA to not only become the most popular but also the best football game of this year.
Competitive battle stands or falls with gameplay and with what you want to see as a gamer in that gameplay, but that’s the way we get it. What is perhaps the most striking thing about FIFA 19 is that EA Sports is obviously very pleased with the UEFA licenses, which this year after a ten-year collaboration with Konami have been brought in by EA. That means you can play the tournament in FIFA, that you in the Career Mode are now playing Champions League and Europa League games instead of the ‘European Cup’, and that Alex Hunter in the third season of The Journey the field may enter with the distinctive sounds of the Champions League hymn in the background.
The latter is important. It is the main reason why the implementation of that license in FIFA is not the same as in PES. The chance to process the Champions League in the storylines of The Journey gives that license added value and makes The Journey just a bit more fun. With The Journey the second striking aspect immediately comes to the fore. In FIFA 17 we got to know Alex Hunter and this story mode of FIFA, and now game mode has become a full-fledged mode, alongside Ultimate Team and Career Mode. The third season continues in all respects where The Journey ceased last year.
That means that Alex Hunter is now a successful player in the European top, for whom the road to stardom is open – with all the challenges that come with it. It remains a funny peek into the world of professional footballers, where it is sometimes difficult to keep friends and profiteers apart and everyone always wants something from you. Hunters career is followed by his sister Kim Hunter and best friend Danny Williams, while they also build their own careers, and there is the innovation for The Journey: the player now also plays with Williams and Kim Hunter and can play during the course of The Journey freely between the three main characters. The game always indicates which character you can best choose at that moment to make the chronology in the storylines as good as possible.
The alternation between Alex, Danny and Kim is fun because he has all kinds of layers of the football world shows. Especially the pieces with Kim Hunter occasionally steal the show. The pace is slightly lower in women’s football and that may not appeal to everyone, but FIFA 19 knows how to reveal certain pain points around women’s football. In one of the first interviews, Kim is asked about her ‘partner’, after which she becomes visibly annoyed. A good example of how women’s football is far from being taken seriously by many, including some journalists. EA has incorporated this perfectly in The Journey.
In terms of content, there are also some changes to The Journey. This way Alex can choose a mentor within his team at a good time. With that mentor, he has to play together as well as possible, which builds up the mutual bond. If that mutual bond is good enough, he can add a certain skill to his arsenal through a special challenge. You can see which skill can be earned per player, so you can choose something that suits your playing style. It is a small addition to a game mode that mainly does what he did in previous years, but it remains an excellent part of FIFA that this year has given us a lot of fun.