Reviews & Previews

FIFA 20 Review: Park The Bus Edition

FIFA

FIFA 20 is Electronic Arts’ latest installment in their hit football simulation series. Recently, FIFA has been put under pressure regarding its aggressive loot boxes. Given that it’s more important than ever that EA delivers a quality product to show that they still care. Unfortunately, I’m not sure they’ve quite achieved in doing so.

The Dreariest FIFA Yet

The Dreariest FIFA YetLast year’s FIFA was not well received by fans. It felt sluggish and rewarded low skill, high reward tactics. For example, competitive Ultimate Team defending was based on holding A to jockey the attacker. There was little else involved outside of occasionally manually tracking runs made behind.

EA has made efforts to raise FIFA 20’s skill ceiling. Several new mechanics such as timed tackling and precision dribbling have been introduced. However, if it’s a competitive game you are looking to play, the experience isn’t much better.

FIFA 20 badly fails to encourage different types of play. Several core aspects of the sport like crossing, heading and long shots don’t function properly. Due to how difficult it is to pull them off consistently, players are encouraged to only shoot inside the box. Since the aim of the game is to prevent players from entering your box, park the bus setups are very popular.

Every game of FIFA 20 feels the same. Both players sit back as deep as possible and try to counter-attack one another with pacey forwards. The lack of variety in playstyles gets old quickly. Each game becomes more of a chore than the last.

To be fair, that’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed Ultimate Team. It’s just that I feel FIFA 20 lacks those exciting moments that older titles could deliver on. You go into each and every game knowing exactly what to expect. Given the fact I’ve only played as high as Division 4 too, I can only assume it’s even worse at the top level.

Squad Building Fun

Squad Building FunSince their introduction in FIFA 17, Squad Building Challenges have consistently been Ultimate Team’s best feature. The core premise has players build teams that fit specified criteria. For example, you could have to put together a team that features at least 3 rare silvers and 7 Premier League players. Later SBCs get more complex and can require several teams built to acquire a special one-off card or pack.

SBCs are a brilliant feature that allows for non-meta cards to gain and retain value. Case in point, I recently sold a 74 rated Opara for 5k coins. Not bad for a random silver card who no one wants in their actual squad. These challenges also provide an excellent gameplay option for those not into the competitive side of FIFA.

It’s no secret that FIFA can be a very stressful game to play. Even before the gameplay problems I’ve outlined, past titles could still be infuriating. In previous years single-player modes like Career Mode and Squad Battles could alleviate some of this stress. These were good options for players looking for a more casual FIFA experience.

However, in FIFA 20 I found SBCs fill this role instead. Coming up with a complex solution on your own to get a quality pack or player is very satisfying. You’re not rushed by anything or anyone and can take your time to lay out all the options you have.

Meanwhile, single-player matches are surprisingly stressful this year. Especially when you begin playing on World Class or above. The A.I use sliders to make both their overall and chemistry not mean all that much. They also play incredible tiki-taka, possession play as they flawlessly pass around you. Only true masochists should even attempt Ultimate difficulty.

Those Classic FIFA Sports Game Bugs

Those Classic Sports Game BugsI never noticed it growing up, but sports games are pretty badly made. From NBA 2K20’s crashing and lack of stability to WWE 2K’s, well, everything. Honestly, FIFA isn’t as bad as 2K’s trashy sports game, but its tiny development cycle is still very much apparent.

One issue I found is that in career mode teams rotate their squads far too often. On paper, this doesn’t sound too bad. Football teams do this all the time, right? Perhaps but I doubt Chelsea would play their entire reserves in the FA Cup Final. Even poor Van Ginkel himself probably wasn’t expecting to start that game.

Tragically, I’ve yet to play the Volta game mode at all. Of course, I intended to play it for this review, but it’s so broken I can’t. Whenever I put in a player name FIFA tells me it contains “profane text.” I tried my actual name, the front cover star’s name and even just calling myself A Footballer. Yes, according to EA literally being called A Footballer is profane.

These are only the game-breaking bugs too. All the usual smaller but definitely noticeable issues are also buried deep in the code. I saw a Reddit post where after winning the Women’s World Cup all the officials around the podium stood their T-Posing. Someone else managed to pack an Ousmane Dembele with no contracts and zero owners. On their own, these bugs aren’t a big deal. However, when added up they indicate a serious lack of care and quality control.

FIFA 20 is crying out for a few more months of development. The reality though is that forced annual releases will always hold the series back. Unfortunately, there’s only so much a team can do in such a short period of time.

Final Verdict

I can’t honestly tell you that FIFA 20 is a good game. Sure, it’s functional but what does really mean. This is supposed to be an industry-leading simulation for the largest sport on the planet. Simply put, it doesn’t live up to that. Instead, we’re left with an okay but unsensational filler title that will make EA a quick buck. If all you want is a passable football game, then this is still a better option than PES. However, make no mistake, this is one of the worst FIFA games I’ve ever played.

Do you agree with what we have to say? What game mode are you enjoying the most? Has EA done enough for you to make FIFA 20 stand out? Let us know in the comments what you think.

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