FIFA 17 Review
WRITTEN BY JASON SEWALD AND CAM MITCHELL
Welcome to 14HQ’s review of FIFA 17 by Jason and Cam. We will talk about 3 separate categories; Story, Gameplay and Graphics along with our final thoughts and rating.
Jason (PS4): Another year, another FIFA. However, this year’s FIFA is a little bit different with the announcement of the long awaited and highly anticipated story mode, new Frostbite engine and new game modes. Now before we get into this I quickly want to brush up on what we got in FIFA last year. Nothing, we got absolutely nothing. Okay I know I’m being harsh but FIFA 16 did little to deserve praise especially when it comes to ultimate team which is my favourite mode on FIFA, which is why I have been very disinterested in this one, but this is FIFA we are talking about and quite frankly you can’t not have it in your library of video games. So let us see if FIFA has given us a proper gamer or if it’s going to be a disappointment like last year’s one.
Cam (XB1): When I first saw the FIFA 17 trailer, the same thoughts I have every year crossed my mind. What’s the difference? How much of what I’m seeing is actually in-game footage? How much did EA pay Reus/Messi/Henderson to be on the cover? Clearly as you can see, I am a bit of a pessimist when it comes to trailers, I’m definitely not one of those people that will be enticed to a game immediately from one trailer. However, there was one small glimmer of hope for me in ‘The Journey’ and the inclusion of the amazing Frostbite Engine. For years, EA have been regurgitating Football games, and to be fair to them, most years they get it right. I have been playing FIFA for the majority of my life, The FA Premier League STARS being the beginning, all the way up to FIFA 15, however, I was bitterly disappointed by FIFA 16. I felt as if they got lazy and only decided to make changes to the ‘Ultimate Team’ aspect of the game by the introduction of Draft, which, you guessed it, added to the cash cow which EA have been milking since 2009. The problem with that is a lot of FIFA players don’t even play ‘Ultimate Team’, because of the IRL money or the ridiculous sweat and effort needed to be able to make ‘coins’ on the market which is needed if you want the best players. They also messed up a perfectly good passing system, which slowed down the game-play two fold. This year however, my hopes were once again lifted…
Jason (PS4): Since this is Fifa’s first ever story mode I thought that the hype and the general wait for a story will ruin it or somehow make it not as good as we thought. Those worries are long since gone because EA pulled out all the stops for this with surprisingly great character development, good storyline and fantastic acting by the cast. Also having players such as Dele Alli and Marcus Rashford being authenticity consultants could only add more enjoyment to what The Journey already is. Despite all that what I truly think EA has done excellent is the fact that they made you feel like you are Alex Hunter as compared to other games such as NBA 2K, where I always thought they couldn’t actually capture the emotional attachment you form with a character. However, having said that it may be my genuine love for the sport that helped me form this connection between me and a character, but even then it’ll be hard not to feel something because as said before EA has done such a great job in forming this story.
Cam (XB1): ‘The Journey’ as before mentioned was the shining light for me in this years release. Finally FIFA has caught up with titles such as NBA 2K by adding a behind the scenes experience of being a professional in sports. In fact, it should have come a whole lot sooner as titles like Smackdown vs Raw have been doing something similar since 2006! I’ll give FIFA the benefit of the doubt, because what I’ve played of The Journey, it is not just a FIFA play through its a Cinematic Experience. The voice acting is fairly decent, with only a few lines that will make you cringe, shout out Coach Butler with the One Direction pun. As well as the voice acting, I appreciated the fact that they have your once best friend, turned asshole look like a 16 year old who sips WKD’s and listens to Kygo. I was a little annoyed by the fact that the Journey does remain to be a little narrow when it comes to Story arcs. Never shifting to far from the expected, with very much a set path, players will notice regardless of what club you pick the story will remain fairly similar. The Frostbite engine looks as flawless in cut scenes as it does on the pitch but will go into more detail on that when talking about game-play. Finally, while I would also like the chance to create my own ‘Alex Hunter’, he turns out to be a very likeable character, and overall as a first showing for FIFA I was very impressed.
Jason (PS4): I might be jumping the gun here but as soon as I played the demo I felt something was different that’s obviously not counting the complete set piece overhaul which I will get into in a bit, but back to the general feel of the game I had this strong notion that this FIFA is going to be better than its predecessors and that has since been confirmed by the full release. It’s slicker, more tactical and the depth of the game itself is just a lot better than earlier FIFAs especially if you take FIFA 16 into account. Ultimate Team (which is my favourite mode) has regained its charm by adding little new things such as the squad building challenges which has you doing a series of tasks in exchange for rewards, it’s little things like this which keep the game fresh which FIFA 16 failed to do. Now if it’s one thing that I disliked about FIFA 17 it has to be the set piece overhaul especially the penalties, I thought they had the perfect recipe for them and it needed no change, maybe it’s my unwillingness to learn a new system but I really do think they messed up on that part. Another criticism for me would be that it’s incredibly easy to beat the keeper now, whether it’s a glitch or not this is an area that definitely needs fixing up.
Cam (XB1): First impressions on the game-play I thought immediately it was a massive improvement to FIFA 16. Passing was back, and while it wasn’t as quick and accurate as it was in FIFA 15, they balanced it so quick one touch became fluid again and have clearly revamped the power system on passing as well. Shooting took some getting used to, with the first few games the ball just rolling across the line, however once perfected, long shots and my personal favourite the ‘Finesse’ shot were executable without being overpowered. It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows though. Set pieces have been given an entirely new system, and while like with the shooting and passing will take some getting used to, I still feel as if they have taken the natural feel and control out of Indirect free kicks and corners in particular, which are now positioned by an aimer and either a float or drilled style. They still remain effective, however, for me they take a little bit of the realistic nature out of a game which apart from that it excels in. Also why they made the run up to a penalty look like the player has ‘done a Lineker’ in his shorts I don’t know. To me it also feels like they improved the feature of holding up the ball, with strength and height attributes coming into play in the Attacker/Defender battle. This in turn means pace is less of a factor from other years. While Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will still waltz past Per Mertesacker with ease, it is easier for players to use slower strikers such as Target men so that they can hold up the play and pass it on to attacking midfielders or wingers, much more so than in previous years.
Jason (PS4): Not much I can say other than the frostbite engine did an incredible job in making the game a lot more realistic. The interactions between players on the pitch, the touches, the tackles, basically the whole game was enhanced by the engine which makes me look forward to new EA titles and the next FIFA.
Cam (XB1): As before mentioned the Frostbite Engine is a thing of beauty. If you have ever played a title using the Frostbite Engine, whether it be Star Wars Battlefront (2015), Need for Speed (2015) or a number of Battlefield games, you will know they are some of the most visually stunning games on the market. FIFA 17 is no exception. The crowd finally look like people instead of cardboard cut-outs, and the managers look great on the side of the touchline, actually representing real people instead of having the same generic managers for every team. I tried not to even mention PES on this review, but as the only competitor in the football game market, Frostbite has really taken FIFA to the next level. If PES wasn’t dead already, I’m fairly sure this is the nail in the coffin. Player models are spot on, even down to the details of their tattoos, and the overall feel of the game feels more like an actual football match rather than a video game.
Overall Rating and Conclusion
Jason (PS4): Overall I think FIFA gave us a very solid game this year with little for me to actually criticise it without nitpicking and of course with friends this game is an absolute rout anyway, so for the reasons stated above so I’ll be giving it a 7/10.
Cam (XB1): Overall, without sounding too gassed, this is probably the best sports game I have played. While Improvements can be made, I have no shadow of a doubt EA know this, they also know they will need to make improvements for FIFA 18, so annoyingly I suspect they are holding back on some of the progression. And to be honest I don’t blame them, it must be very difficult to release essentially the same game every year, but add ‘improvements’ in order to bring back the fans. This is predominantly the reason I have become sceptical of FIFA within the last few years. Having said that it does feel like a different game, and a better one at that. 8/10.