As FIFA 19 has now released for Ultimate Edition and Champion Edition pre-orders, players across the world are able to test out the new game. For Xbox users such as myself, we have had the chance to play the full release of FIFA 19 for a week. This gives us a good idea of how the game works. However, I have only played Ultimate Team. So, my opinions and points will be based on Ultimate Team features. We will be publishing a full review of each part of FIFA 19 in a few months, so check out our FIFA coverage soon for that.
Since last Wednesday, Xbox players have been grinding through the initial stages of their Ultimate Team adventure. This consists of completing challenges, using bronze players, and playing different modes. I have been running a ‘Road to Glory’ type of club, which means that I will not be putting any real money into the account. This makes it even more difficult, but it also makes playing the game more fun, in my opinion. Whilst doing a ‘Road to Glory,’ you must play a lot of games. I have currently played over 80 games, so I think I have a good idea on how the game works in terms of gameplay and user interface.
The menu system in FIFA 19 is very similar to previous years. They have a tile-type design which gives big indications as to where each section of Ultimate Team is. This is a clean design but needs to be refreshed in the future. This system has been in the game since FIFA 13, which marks six years of the same concept, albeit with different colors. Finally, the new game has smoother menus. I often find my self over-clicking when moving around the menus because of how fast they are, so this is a good thing.
When you enter a game in FIFA Ultimate Team, the graphics are almost identical to the previous FIFA games. However, there are some additions. When a player scores, you see their Ultimate Team item on the pitch. This is new which is mostly disliked by the community. I personally like the feature – it adds a fresh feel to the game. There are also some new broadcast transitions and scoreboards. However, it is almost identical to FIFA 18. This was not something that needed to be changed.
When FIFA 19 Ultimate Team was first announced, they had dull-looking Ultimate Team items, especially for the rare gold items. However, since the release of the game, they have added a nice gradient to the rare items. As well as this, the In-form items look great with the dynamic images and contrasting colors. Finally, all of the item designs were recently leaked and they all look great. It seems that EA has made an improvement to their graphic design department. This makes the game feel better as a whole.
The FIFA 19 full release gameplay is very different from the gameplay that we experienced in the Demo build. This meant that most players will have to adjust to the new game, after just adapting to the Demo build.
One of the biggest changes to FIFA since FIFA 18 is the new shooting mechanics. In previous years, the most overpowered shot was the ‘low-driven’ shot, which you could simply do by double-tapping the shoot button. However, double-tapping the shoot button now triggers a timed shot. If you time a shot correctly, there is a high chance that you will score, or at least get the shot on target. This type of shot is a high risk/high reward technique. If you poorly time the shot, you will most likely miss the shot badly.
Now, players will have to adjust to different kinds of shots in the game. I personally like that shooting is difficult; however, it will become a lot more fun when the community finds a shot that works best, rather than missing ome-on-one chances every game.
Pace can be split into two different parts in this review. It can be about player-specific pace, and the pace of the gameplay.
In recent FIFA titles, the pace has been the most important statistic. If you had players with low pace, you were putting yourself at a disadvantage, However, with the new game, players do not have to rely on pace to win games. This is both a good and a bad thing. As players to not have to rely on pace, players such as Alexander Lacazette, Olivier Giroud, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are actually usable with their low pace. In addition to this, using players with low pace means that you can utilize their shot abilities. This stat actually matters this year, rather than doing low-driven shots with players that have less than 60-shooting.
The pace of the game is a lot slower than previous years. This plays into the hands of those players that want to do tiki-taka style of play. This is a style which includes a lot of passing and build-up play. The slow pace suits me perfectly as I like to play the slow style. So, I personally love this new pace. That said, some people enjoyed the fast pace, which allowed them to ping passes up the field as fast as possible. Maybe EA needs to create a good balance between the two styles of play in different modes.
Defending has been slightly changed since the last iteration of FIFA. There used to be a defending type called “legacy defending.” This type of defending allows players to control their center midfielders whilst they let the AI defend for them. This was mostly used in Squad Battles (a single-player mode) but was sometimes used in online modes. This was annoying but has now been removed, thankfully. Finally, with the pace adjustments, center backs feel a lot more usable in every variety. Players such as Vincent Kompany and Mats Hummels are now very good in the game, even though they have low pace. In short, defending statistics actually matter now, which is good.
Overall, the FIFA 19 gameplay is a big improvement for my style of play. However, I think that there may be some tweaking in the near future to things such as shooting. Finally, I really like the graphics and aesthetics – they look very good and make the game feel fresh to the long-time players.
What do you think of the new game? If you enjoyed this article and want to check out similar articles, check out our other FIFA coverage.
Part-time streamer, huge fan of all games, especially the FIFA Series! Graduate of Cambridge Technical Diploma in Media Studies.