FIFA 17 is here and now that PES has got Barcelona in the game and on the cover, EA’s cover star is now Marco Reus. Well, at least they don’t have to cope with an ever-changing hair colour.
This time the game isn’t just a slightly different game with a higher number – they’ve actually rebuilt the entire game using EA’s Frostbite engine which means better visuals. Of course, they’ve made a few tweaks to the main gameplay which I’ll come to soon, but the biggest thing is the new campaign mode called The Journey. Here, you get to play through a story akin to Dream Team (let’s be honest, getting real life footballers to act in cameos was never going to work) where you follow the story of a young man called Alex Hunter right from a boy through to trials, playing for a Premier League club and even for your country. In essence it’s just Be The Pro mode mixed in with a few training games, but it’s all tied together with a performance captured story that might be one massive cliché but kind of works in a strange way. You also get to influence your popularity with the manager and the fans by acting cool, fiery or balanced when questioned or challenged by other characters. The game also ties into other modes as well, so for instance, you can earn rewards and packs for FUT by playing this new mode.
New to FUT are challenges, where you basically trade items you have that you probably won’t use by building squads of a certain criteria – again you earn rewards for doing so.
When it comes to action on the pitch, set pieces have been completely re-written to feel less scripted and more like you’d kick the ball in open play which will take some getting used to but is probably the way to go, and there are a few other small additions such as the driven shot where you can hit the ball hard and low with a tap of shoot after powering up, being able to walk up and down the line and do fake throws, and there are some new skill moves and celebrations in there as well. The left trigger is now assigned to being physical. When attacking you can shield the ball and when defending shoulder to shoulder, it’s very handy to muscle past an attacker and win the ball.
Other modes make a return such as Pro Clubs and Career but let’s face it, most of us buy a ticket to play FUT or just play kick off with friends or jump into an online friendly. The Journey, however, does provide a new take on the single player experience and the added story element may be a bit corny but does hold interest for me more than the single player career mode.
It’s great to see FIFA 17 trying something new but PES is still hot on its heels. FIFA 17 gets an excellent 8 out of 10.
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