Another year, another Fifa. So what’s different about this years?
Quite a few things actually. Fifa 17 has quite a few changes such as The Journey and changes to the favourite Ultimate Team, as well as changes to the gameplay. So to make things easier I’m going to review each part separately. We’ll start the journey with The Journey (see what I did there).
Fifa 17 The Journey is something a bit new to the franchise. In previous instalments you got to create your own player and add him to a team and progress his training. Over time you could change clubs and even progress to retire and become a manager and switch to manager mode. All that is still there in Fifa 17, but the new addition is the story of Alex Hunter in The Journey.
If you remember a film called Goal in 2006 then the story is not far from that. Alex is a young London lad wanting to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. The Frostbite engine shows of some incredible graphics to render the characters and their emotion, enough to rival GTAV but the attention to environment looks poor with hard edge polygons everywhere you look. It’s a shame really that the game shows off such amazing character graphics against a very poor backdrop.
Good old Granddad, always there for you.
I won’t spill the story but throughout The Journey, Alex is prompted to give a response which affects how the manager, fans, team and his actions on the pitch. In this dumb downed speech interaction, it doesn’t feel that in depth and some of the responses don’t fit the ‘cool’ or ‘fiery’ choice.
Most of The Journey consists of training exercises to raise Alex’s stats and then actual games. How well you perform on the pitch dictates whether Alex starts in the starting 11 or not. The only issue I have with early game-play is only being able to play a game when Alex is on the pitch. You could be 60 minutes into the game and Fifa 17 then hands you the controller and says, “we’re losing, score a goal, make an assist and break the deadlock. Oh and do that in 2 minutes”. Even if you choose to play as the team rather than just Alex you are still restricted to what you can do.
Playing as Alex alone is a different perspective on Fifa but it is far too infuriating to have multiple targets to complete in a match when the AI performs poorly. What I have discovered about The Journey is that it is the most in depth and well polished tutorial I have ever played. Yes you read that right, a tutorial. The Journey training sessions takes you through the mechanics and skills of Fifa 17 and gradually increases AI difficulty as the game progresses. If you removed all of the non skip-able cut scenes and really long loading times looking at Alex in at tunnel. You’d have a very in depth tutorial.
Onto Ultimate Team then. Probably one of the most successful card based games introduced to the sport genre. If you don’t know what Ultimate Team is then it allows players to create their own team from hundred of players from many different leagues and nationalities. It’s also EA s biggest way to get you to open your wallet when gambling on player packs.
I have been playing Ultimate Team since Fifa 15 and I have thoroughly enjoyed the game mode. There is a lot of micromanagement to be done in creating a team with good chemistry and then fighting through leagues. We now have draft tokens for specific tournaments that challenge team building. There are also weekend championships for the best of the best. But there are still some big gripes I have with Ultimate Team.
There is still a lot of problems with the transfer market, I have players frozen in the market that I can’t do anything with. Then there is accumulation of coins. You could be 4k of coins up from a league and be ready to buy a new player or a pack but you have to spend most of your coins on fitness cards or injury cards until you have a second team in the ranks. There is almost a pressure to spend actual money in order to progress. Then there is the team building itself, the whole UI still feels clunky and time-consuming. Regular players know to use FUThead in order to plan out future teams because building and editing a team is far too much labour.
Then there’s the gameplay. Outside of single player and the AI playing up. It steps up in Ultimate team. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still enjoyable to thrash someone and also frustrating to lose. I say frustrating, Fifa 17 brings out anger in me like no other game. Whether its your players pulling an injury at an inconvenient time, a player missing an open net, or the actual Fifa b*******. Everyone who plays Fifa knows of the EA b*******. It exists in every game where your previously pacey player is outran by some 65 pace defender. Its one of the WTF moments.
I mean’t to build a silver team. Ended up with this motley crew.
And there are many. I’m glad pace has returned and through balls actually feel like through-balls. But the matchmaking and EA b****** in Fifa 17 still annoys me. I’m in division 8 with the team pictured above. It’s not the best team but it is solid as being pacey. I have played against teams with ratings a whole 10 points above me with in-form players in their team, doesn’t feel balanced at all.
None of this really matters though. No matter how angry I get I will still come back the next day and play again. I will win one game and think, can’t stop now, I’m doing well. And then I’m angry again. But this is the game-play of Fifa 17. At least we still have Martin Tyler and Alan Davies shouting out hilarious names.
I didn’t just pick him for the name…well mostly.
Follow me on Twitter @MJSaiger. I’m thinking I can post up the TOTW here too. Or Send me your squad designs and we can highlight players and teams.
- The Journey
- Stunning lighting and presentation
- Improved animations
- Defending continues to be tricky
- Football on the pitch lacking behind PES 2017
- Complicated controls