If you were expecting FIFA 19 to be drastically different than 18, then lower your expectations. This year’s FIFA is more about additions to the game and gameplay that change it slightly but essentially feels more like a patch. This isn’t to say some of the inclusions like The Champions and Europa League aren’t appreciated but most like new kick off modes and timed finishing are annoyingly unnecessary.
Europe’s elite championship is finally in FIFA after years of exclusivity at their main competitor PES. Both The UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League are in FIFA 19 with fully licensed logos, tournament structures, and anthems. For someone like me, whose favorite mode is manager mode, playing in the Champions League is a very satisfying feeling. Hearing the official anthem as the camera pans across your team and their opponents feels very authentic. In addition, EA has also used different commentators, with the voices of Derek Rae and Lee Dixon replacing Martin Tyler and Alan Smith, to freshen up the dialogue as you play. For those who don’t want to wait for a simulation to load a Champions League match, they can easily start one in the kick off menu to experience the action.
The kick off menu has received a major revamp this year that lets players experience FIFA in a totally new way. Beyond simply playing a Champions League match straight from the menu, you can even pick what stage the tournament is in during the match. If it’s in the group stages, knockout, or final, the new commentators will react to that with new voice lines and even talk about a team’s history in the tournament.
Other modes in the kick off menu include House Rules, where you can add elements to a match based on events that occur. For example, if you score a goal, your team loses a player or shots can be worth extra points based on where they are scored from. While these new modes are fun for the first few matches, their novelties wear off quickly.
On the gameplay side of things, new mechanics like timed finishing and tactics ended up making FIFA 19 frustrating. Timed finishing allows players, when they shoot, to tap the shoot button again to hit the ball perfectly for a goal. Yet, and this could just be only me, every time I tried it the ball skyrocketed over the goal like a balloon filled with helium. Thankfully, this new feature can be turned off.
Tactics, on the other hand, seemed more useful. Instead of using the left and right d-pad to go on ultra attack or ultra defense you can give more detailed instructions to your team based on the situation of the match. Nevertheless, I rarely used them and stuck with the quick tactics during matches.
Overall, this year’s FIFA is more of the same but players will still have fun trying out the new modes and playing the regular modes they are used to. Depending on your preferences FIFA 19 might not be worth paying for the full price as it is mostly a roster update.