Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC
It may seem like the same game every year. The concept is unwaivering; at it’s core FIFA is simply a football game but EA separate this game from the rest by giving it a sense of realism coupled with some addictive game modes resulting in millions of gamers purchasing this game each and every year! The question that everyone asks every year is has the latest FIFA game improved or is it just the same game with updated teams? The answer for FIFA 17 is still somewhat unclear.
FIFA 17 is the first FIFA game to introduce a story mode labelled The Journey. It takes elements of the traditional career mode but adds some emotion behind why you are playing football. I’m sure every football fan has dreamt of becoming a professional footballer at some point or another but for many, this game mode will be the closest thing to living out that dream. EA have done a great job of implementing an intricate story line into a game that has never delivered on an emotional scale before. This game mode is refreshing to play as you live out Alex Hunter’s career and see him develop from Academy prospect to first team regular.
It can’t be ignored that this game mode adds a new dimension for those players who enjoy playing through career mode so kudos has to be given to EA for this at least. Unfortunately, the Journey does become repetitive at times and it is hard to fully engage the whole way through but if you do persevere then there is plenty of enjoyment to be had here. There is also a new decision making feature within The Journey that allows you to apply a personality for your player which appears to be a nice addition but does nothing to improve the game play which is what every FIFA fan is really looking for.
The New Frostbite Engine
Aside from the new game mode, EA have been highlighting the new Frostbite engine that powers everything in FIFA 17. What does this mean you players though? Well, the first thing you will notice is the improved graphics that come with this new engine. Player details have never looked crisper on a FIFA game and this really does help to deliver realism on the pitch. This is not the primary thing that FIFA fans were waiting for though. After the incredibly disappointing FIFA 16, players are waiting for some marked improvements in game play. So has Frostbite delivered on this front?
The good news is that the game play has seen improvements as the game is now quicker than FIFA 16’s boringly slow pace and the fluidity in the game has increased exponentially! By making the players slightly more intelligent it becomes easier to pick out good passes and play more attacking football. The key word in that sentence though is ‘slightly’. There are still some underlying issues in FIFA 17 that hinders this game from being one of the best FIFA games ever. Player changing in-game is still unnatural at times, defenders still make odd runs and decisions and there is yearly to-ing and fro-ing about how the game makes defenders or attackers overpowered.
Does That Mean It’s A Goood Game?
What does all this mean then as a final product? In principle, FIFA is unchanged as the focus is on delivering the pinnacle of football games. FIFA 17 has not quite achieved this but you can be certain that this is a much better game than FIFA 16, maybe even Pro Evolution Soccer 16. At least EA have listened to some of the criticisms from their fans following their diabolical release last year. Despite some niggles, the game is now fun to play with less infuriating moments to experience.
There is a new learning curve for all players when trying the game for the first time. There is now a new system for pretty much all set pieces in the game. It is now easier to control the delivery of corners and in some ways it is harder to control shots in penalties but this helps to provide some freshness in the way you play. You may question its necessity but once you play through these a few times they start to become very natural. Give it time and you will be able to score from most set pieces.
If you haven’t already bought FIFA (which is probably no one reading this article) and you are on the fence then let’s just say that you will not be disappointed by making this purchase, as long as you know what you are getting for your money. FIFA 17 is genuinely fun to play and no doubt you will play with your friends online for many hours, justifying the price tag for this game. My only advice is shop around for the cheapest price as there are still improvements to be made. Maybe EA will make small improvement along the way but even if they don’t, this is a solid outing for the FIFA franchise.