ByJoão Antunes, writer at
João Antunes

EA Sports' FIFA has been around since 1993. Do you think it still lives up to its reputation?

As of the past year, FIFA's becoming more of a single-player game than the multiplayer game it was.

I'm pretty sure that FUT* fans will disagree with my statement, but I've never been one. I don't want to sound judgy, but I've never understood the fun of buying cards to get your players fit to play. FUT is a card's game, and I've never been a fan of the type. Also, having the same players, at the same time, in opposite sides, was always a deal-breaker to me. Anyway, I won't dwell too much on the subject because, as I said, I am not a fan. Now, going back on topic (sorry FUT fans, I am putting you aside on my opinion).

Alex Hunter - The Journey's protagonist.
Alex Hunter - The Journey's protagonist.

In 2012, FIFA 13 was a success, and it's where Seasons mode was firstly introduced. For those who don't know, it consists on playing a full season of 10 matches, collecting enough points to get through to the next division, until you reach the 1st. The 9th Division is your starting point. If you're good, you also get rewarded with trophies (Gold, Silver or Bronze cups).

It's the most competitive, fun mode that FIFA has to offer. There's Tournament Mode and Career mode also, which I always play. However, since Seasons is a lot more competitive, rewarding and exciting, I started playing it less. You know, you're playing against humans, instead of the computer, who sometimes is easy to go around and exploit.

In 2014, with FIFA 15's launch, Ignite, EA's innovative Engine (previously used on PS4's/Xbox One's FIFA 14), was getting its place for the first time on PC. "This is it. This is the FIFA I have been waiting for!", I thought. Ignite meant a big upgrade for Fifa, in terms of graphics and gameplay. Funny thing is... I actually played it less than previous titles. Seasons mode became tiring, especially as Real Madrid was the only team being used, and with FIFA's arcadish approach to football, and its speedy gameplay, Real Madrid was one of the best, if not the best, teams to play with. For a Bayern Munich player (at the time), I was very sad when I realized I had to play with Real Madrid most matches, if I wanted to win.

fifa 14 defending
fifa 14 defending

Another huge problem was the defenders. The defending line was always too high up the pitch, making it very easy to attack by using through balls. As most of the attackers are faster than defenders, achieving goals, by taking advantage of this, was a lot easier.

I couldn't accept that the game, which I had spent hours playing in previous titles, was this bad. I was about to quit after 30 hours of gameplay, but I forced myself to like it. I convinced myself I was doing something wrong, and I had to perfect my technique... Until I understood I was wasting my time. I even got angry sometimes, for no valid reason. I had to accept that the game was not for me that year.

In 2015, FIFA 16 was announced. The demo was a blast. Presentation was a lot better, gameplay was slower, more realistic, animations were a lot more fluid, and graphics were improved as well. However, I was a bit sceptical about buying it. Even though the demo looked and played better, I wasn't sure I'd like the online bit. I didn't know if 14's flaws were present, and the game would turn out to be boring and dull.

Stadium's Lighting with Frostbite.
Stadium's Lighting with Frostbite.

After 60 hours of FIFA 16, I decided to quit. I even tried to give FUT a go, for the sake of it, but I did not like it, as expected.

Seasons was problematic, just like the previous title... Maybe it's just a problem with me, and not an issue with the game. Maybe I am just tired of it. But... Why am I tired? Is it just me "growing up"? Or is it that FIFA's quality is degrading even though we convince ourselves that it's not?

The following numbers are my "Hours Played" on each FIFA, since FIFA 12.

  • FIFA 12 - 250-300H
  • FIFA 13 - 200-250H
  • FIFA 14 - 180-200H
  • FIFA 15 - 140-160H
  • FIFA 16 - 100-110H

I think we all agree that it means something, I'm just not sure if it equals others' experience, or if I am starting to be done with Football games.

You might be thinking how I've got 100 to 110 hours in FIFA 16, when I said I quit at 60 hours. Well, there still is Career Mode, which is what I have been playing lately. But this is when I really don't know what else to play.

FIFA 17 is coming out September 2016. For the first time ever in a football game, EA will be adding a story-driven campaign, called The Journey. Players will be allowed to make dialogue choices (Mass Effect style), and get to know the life of a footballer outside the pitch. Frostbite engine is also one of the new features, which will improve graphics even more, especially the stadium's lighting, creating a more realistic and immersive atmosphere. Furthermore, new gameplay mechanics and enhancements are being introduced as well, creating an even more dynamic game.

EA does know how, and what to promise! But...


Will FIFA 17 deliver?

*FUT stands for FIFA Ultimate Team


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