Fifa seems to have missed its mark this year with yet another minute enhancement to this otherwise repetitive sports franchise. Fifa appears to suffer from the mistakes of its sports contemporaries in regards to its dull progressivism. There’s nothing really new here from Fifa 19 and if you’ve already played the last entry you can easily see where 2020 falls short of novelty. The AI has been tweaked a bit and the updated team rosters are always a reason to go back yearly to this series. But all this fails to truly push this franchise forward and with the exception of the Volta game mode, Fifa 2020 is overall a letdown.
By far, the standout feature of this game are its expansive licensed leagues and sleek controls that at times eclipse previous entries. EA did an amazing job with the control system and the utilization of the left thumb stick to execute stylish moves helps to capture everything that makes the sport such a wonder to behold. Players can fake each other out, dribble aggressively, and pass, all with the fluidity of a simple flick of the controller. In this respect, the Xbox One controller is perfect for the implementation of these player skill moves and the game felt more like an arcade style experience than a serious true to life soccer simulator.
Players like Ronaldo, Messi, and Neymar all move at a brisk pace that helps capture the essence of their playing style. The ever growing team licenses once again come into fruition here as players can choose from an array of squads ranging from the Premier League to the Japanese J-League. Fifa by far still holds the greatest licenses and teams from around the world which is something its competitors sorely lack. The frostbite engine looks stunning on Xbox’s 4K resolution and is truly the highlight feature of this year’s entry. Facial animations and stadium details are gorgeous to behold with EA wasting no money rebuilding the global soccer community on its new title.
The Volta game mode is truly a fan favorite here with the story mode of Alex Hunter coming to a conclusion in the previous title. Indoor soccer matches are just fluid and animated as the professional outdoor game modes and it appears Fifa has finally integrated its classic titles with the now seemingly defunct street series. From its beautiful photorealistic visuals to an all encompassing indoor Volta mode, Fifa 20 has its positive aspects that sadly are out down by some serious setbacks that render this year’s title a misfire.
Historically, one of the major detractors in any FIFA game has been its foolish AI and unfortunately this year is no exception. Goalies especially suffer from their overly simplistic intelligence that leads to weak goals and idiotic mistakes. For instance, during a Manchester United match, goalie David De Gea charged the ball bit completely walked pass the ball which lead the opponent to practically walk into the goal. Such easy mistakes could have easily been fixed prior to the product’s release and shame on EA for releasing such novice mistakes.
Another major setback in this game is the facile ability to score when attacking. Defenders easily jump out of the way for you to score and many times long range efforts were scored based on software malfunction rather than genuine craftsmanship. Such blunders truly detracted from the joy factor of this game. Free kicks and penalties are jarring at first, as players must perfectly place their balls position into the net visa via a target system. This mechanism is more convoluted than intricate and detracts from the greatness that once was the Fifa brand name. In the end, Fifa 20 is a mismatch of progress and regress.
Utilizing a 4K resolution on the Xbox One does little to overcome the core design flaws inherent in the gameplay of FIFA 20. Nonsensical AI choices, an over complicated free kick system, and a tendency towards soft goals all render this game a dud in the eyes of hardcore soccer fans. The expansion of new leagues and an updated roster are just minor glimpses into what a company like EA should have done for this storied franchise. But alas, the company settled for self interest rather than intrinsic quality and this happenstance comes to full fruition in Fifa 20 for the Xbox one.