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.

FIFA 20 To Support UEFA’s No For Racism Campaign

FIFA 20

FIFA 20

It has been a difficult week for sports fans. Amidst the England versus Bulgaria game was a plague of racism. Clearly targeted at multiple black England players, Bulgaria’s fans had little sympathy for the struggles many minorities go through. Football’s European federation UEFA has made it clear they will not stand for this any longer. Similarly, EA has stood up and announced they plan to help out too.

FIFA 20 will feature special kits on Ultimate Team which players will be able to collect soon. It’s unclear if these will be dropped to all players or through a Squad Builder Challenge. This update will also see new LED boards and banners displaying UEFA’s No Room for Racism message.

EA Sports’ FIFA 20 ambassador is England international midfielder, Jesse Lingard. His message to fans was simple yet powerful. “Everyone has a right to feel safe and included. Racism is not and never will be acceptable.”

This is not the first time FIFA 20 has been used as a tool to promote equality. Both FIFA 17 and FIFA 19 released rainbow-colored LGBT+ inclusive kits for players to obtain. You could obtain those through in-game challenges. For example, the FIFA 19 kit was handed out to those that finished three friendly season matches.

What Motivated This Movement?

FIFA 20 MovementOn Monday, England and Bulgaria played what should have been just yet another qualifier. Both nations were competing to qualify for the UEFA European Championships next year. Whilst England would take home a dominant 6-0 win, the result was the least of everyone’s concerns.

Throughout the match, a group of Bulgaria fans displayed vile racist behavior toward several England players. For example, these radical fans were making monkey noises and Nazi salutes throughout the game. This behavior caught the immediate attention of the FIFA 20 developers. England’s team featured several black players including key figures like Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford.

It is a football tradition to make a decision when this kind of thing happens. You either walk off the pitch to make a statement or play on and ignore them. England chose to play on and win the game convincingly. We can only hope the appropriate authorities take suitable action against those responsible for these hate crimes.

Overall, this FIFA 20 update may not seem like much. Of course, adding some cosmetics doesn’t fix the problem but it is a powerful sentiment. It shows that both Electronic Arts and FIFA developers EA Sports Canada wholeheartedly support UEFA’s campaign. There is no quick fix to this issue but having the support of several major organizations certainly helps.