FIFA 20 is the latest in Electronic Arts’ long line of soccer games, which have continued to get better over time with new modes, more realistic gameplay, and visuals you could swear are real from just a few feet away. This year, the game is getting pitch-level refinements to its shooting mechanics, as well as entirely new ways to experience soccer. It isn’t going to be a drastically alter what it means to be a FIFA game, but it’s shaping up to be one of the more impressive efforts from the series in recent memory.
The most important features coming to FIFA 20 involve the basic soccer experience itself, with the development team focusing on four main pillars of the game: spacing, movement, game flow, and tools. Within these four pillars are a variety of changes and tweaks that aim to make the soccer experience more rewarding and satisfying.
Spacing and movement have primarily been addressed by improving the computer-controlled players around you in a match. Players are less likely to break their formations in an attempt to make a big play on the ball, with AI improvements allowing your opponents to move to where they expect you to go, rather than where you currently are.
You will have new tools at your disposal to navigate around opposing players, including a strafe dribble and a slow dribble, and you can use tools like the lofted ground pass and set up touch when a teammate is close. On defense, there is a controlled tackling system, with defenders more likely to kick the stolen ball toward one of their teammates.
The game flow has been slowed down off the ball and kept “responsive and agile” on the ball in FIFA 20, giving you opportunities to strategize and other chances to make quick plays before an opponent can respond effectively.
Physics themselves have been reworked in FIFA 20 in two main ways. Firstly, referees are now “permeable,” which means you can’t accidentally hit them with a ball and mess up a play. The ball’s physics has been complete redesigned as well, with more realistic bounces, spins, and trajectories. Over the course of the match, rougher sections of the pitch can cause the ball to bounce more, and shots will vary in height and curve based on factors like power and the pitch itself.
Free kicks have received a similar level of overhaul. A new aiming reticle lets you more easier aim at your target in the goal, and your shot trajectory is determined entirely by the power you apply to the shot. You can use the right stick to apply spin just as you kick the ball, and the Timed Finishing mechanic lets you reduce the level of error in your shot and added additional spin.
With the exception of the spinning on the right stick, these changes apply to penalty kicks, as well. For normal shots in one-on-one situations, you should have an easier time finding the back of the net, though the timing for the Timed Finishes has actually been tightened slightly.
New in FIFA 20, Volta street football is an option for those who prefer concrete or asphalt to a grass pitch. The soccer gameplay has been designed specifically for Volta, with the ability to bounce balls off of walls in certain areas, and simplified kicks and moves to reflect the tighter environments.
You can create a custom male or female player for Volta, and professional teams will also be eligible to play at the Volta sites. Several modes are included within Volta, including a story mode that has your character face off against street football royalty and build up your team in preparation for the world championship in Buenos Aries.
The similar Volta World mode lets you build up your team in matches against the computer, recruiting an opposing player after each match. In Volta Kickoff, you’ll take a professional soccer team to the asphalt, and in Volta League, you can play online and rise through the divisions as you win matches.
There are multiple game types in Volta Football, as well, including three-on-three through five-on-five. The arenas vary in size, as well, and some do not have walls, which can change up your approach.
Career mode will be deeper than ever before in FIFA 20, with more focus being put on the choices you make, either as a player or as a manager. Pre-match and post-match press conferences give you the opportunity to express yourself and shape the story of your player or manager, and they can affect the morale of your team if you choose to say something they don’t appreciate.
Player conversations are also included, serving a similar function and allowing you to build a relationship between players and their manager. Players’ morale is directly tied to their attributes during soccer matches, so you need to keep it high in order to succeed. Player potential is dynamic, changing based on their performance in previous seasons to avoid the “sophomore slump.”
For the first time ever in FIFA, you will be able to create a female manager in FIFA 20, and you can fully customize your manager’s appearance just like you would a player. This includes the clothing and accessories you wear, including options for formal attire and casual wear.
FIFA Ultimate Team is the main draw for many dedicated fans, and it is getting even bigger in FIFA 20. Objectives have received an overhaul and are split into six categories, including daily, weekly, season, and dynamic. By doing these objectives, you can earn experience and spend points you earn on packs to improve your team. The two other categories – foundation objectives and milestone objectives – are tied to tutorial content and objectives not bound to a particular season, rewarding large moments in your club’s history.
The Squad Screen has received an overhaul, providing easier access to your club, and you can quickly go to the transfer market looking for a particular player at a price you can afford. There is a new radial menu allowing you to quickly apply consumables, transfer, sell, or send to your club.
If you want to see how your team against your friends in a variety of crazy scenarios, then the new FUT Friendlies option is for you. You can play this mode locally or online, and playing against your friends will not affect the contract level or fitness of your players. Once you’re done playing standard soccer matches, you can try custom modes like “Mystery Ball,” which changes the goal value of the ball routinely, and “King of the Hill,” which requires you to stay in an area with the ball as a meter fills up.
FIFA 20 will be available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on September 27, with FIFA 20 Legacy Edition releasing on the same day for Nintendo Switch. The Switch version features no significant gameplay enhancements from FIFA 19, and does not include Volta street football.
Pre-ordering FIFA 20 gives you access to a FUT “Ones to Watch” player, and you can receive a 10 percent discount if you order it through the in-game menu in FIFA 20 on Xbox One or PS4. You will also get three gold packs, five loan items, and special FUT kits.
If you opt for the Champions Edition, you will get the kits and loan packs, as well as 12 gold packs and three days of early access. The Ultimate Edition, meanwhile, includes the Champions Edition content plus an additional 12 gold packs.
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