High-profile split between EA Sports and the World Football Association fifa One of gaming’s biggest franchises has undergone a dramatic restructuring, but not that much has changed on the pitch. How I feel like a breath of fresh air in a game series I’ve been loyal to since 1997. However, that doesn’t mean nothing has changed. You can find out what’s new and why it matters in our test
What happened in the field?
One of the biggest changes is the playstyle of the rebranded series’ tried and tested gameplay system. These playstyles are effectively similar to NBA 2K24’s badge system or Madden NFL 24’s X-Factor feature, in that they equip high-profile players with enviable abilities, such as explosive speed for Kylian Mbappe or devastating finishing for Erling Haaland. The result, spread across a total of 32 different buffs, gives star players a bit more personality – a superhuman ability that elevates them above ordinary professional footballers. These changes also affect returning modes like Ultimate Team and Player Career, with the former adding the coveted ability to select cards and the latter allowing you to further customize your playstyle to your liking. HyperMotion VO promises to be revolutionary, but unlike Playstyle, it feels immature. The entire gameplay feels very jarring at times as players keep running into each other and falling. What has had a positive effect on gameplay is that defending is once again more difficult; Stealing the ball from a player takes more skill.
Cards, ladies and teams
Let’s move on to EA’s driving force of change. Ultimate Team has become more flexible overall this year by removing annoying position change cards and introducing evolutions that allow you to increase the stats of even a player who is already held back by the game meta. It should be noted that while these sub-surface adjustments are significant, the main change here is the introduction of female footballers into the player pool. It is now possible to mix and match the sexes, for example Alessia Russo with Cristiano Ronaldo. Since Ultimate Team has always been based on the concept of creating fantasy teams, this seems like a smart addition to us.
Gameplay is not my thing
Gameplay is generally better this year, at least when it comes to pacing. However, there are some points of criticism that are methodologically sound, but sloppily applied. The introduction of Precision Pass, for example, which allows you to create passes in ways that were not possible in previous versions. When it all comes together, a defense-breaking pass feels like joy. Unfortunately, many passports never arrive where they are supposed to be. FC 24 still has to deal with the well-known AI problem, with goalkeepers jumping over each other when lined up with the wrong strikers or defenders. But overall it feels smooth and fluid, enhanced by another phenomenal leap in presentation that better reflects body types and muscle definition.
Indeed, graphics is one area that has made impressive progress. The menu screen is accompanied by background cinematics showing the commentators getting ready, the players putting on their boots and splashing water on the grass. Everything feels more luxurious than before, which is impressive.
EA Sports FC 24 takes some significant steps forward, but is clearly not the reboot that many had hoped for. If you are already very familiar with FIFA, the above mentioned changes may be more or less interesting to you. What definitely needs to be improved is the gameplay, with luck this will happen soon with a patch.