Fifa 17 (PS4) Review
- The Journey
- Amazing graphics particularly the stadiums
- Better defensive AI
Not So Much?
- Corners are too complicated
- Player collisions still not realistic enough
- Lack of realism in The Journey
The big question however is if FIFA 17 can hold off the challenge of PES which year after year seems to be gaining ground on its rival.
IFA 17 is here, and this year EA Sports have made some big changes. The IGNITE engine has been scrapped and EA have decided to go with the Frostbite engine to allow them to provide better visuals and what they hope is better gameplay than last year. The graphics do look better than last year’s however the gameplay has not lived up to the hype. The big question however is if FIFA 17 can hold off the challenge of PES which year after year seems to be gaining ground on its rival.
With every release of FIFA you can almost predict how fans of the series will react. You will have the usual complaints that EA have made the game worse than last years in terms of gameplay, and then you will have the endless arguments on player ratings. Then there are the countless posts and pack openings on social media in Ultimate Team. All of this is what EA Sports wants and expects to happen year after year. The hype this year has not been around the new engine or Ultimate Team but about The Journey, a new game mode which allows you to take a journey (sorry) from a nobody in the footballing world to the very top.
The Journey gives you the opportunity to play as a young English player trying to make it from the academy to the Premier League with your good friend Gareth. I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone who hasn’t played the game yet, but the entire mode is focused on a storyline in which you have very little influence on changing. The Journey can be broken up into 3 different areas, there are the cut scenes, playing a game of football and training. You are also able to upgrade your player by purchasing traits if you earn enough points from completing challenges during games.
The only problem I found with The Journey is the lack of realism, you can score a hat trick in every game or play above average and the reaction will mostly be the same. You spend most of your time doing skill challenges and you have to make sure you get a good grade otherwise you could end up on the bench or out of the team altogether if you play poorly in training. The skill challenges do get a little boring so you are allowed to sim them, but then you’re running the risk of getting a poor grade and impacting your chances of starting a game.
The storyline itself is very well done, you find yourself getting emotionally invested in your character. As a debut The Journey has done well, however for next year EA will need to allow more freedom and add some more realism to really make this game mode a reason as to why people will choose FIFA over PES. This was a game mode that a lot of fans including myself were crying out for, I feel we got some of what we wanted but would be very interested in how EA build upon this for FIFA 18.
Every year FIFA tweak something or make a change to the gameplay to make it better or keep it fresh. And this year with the new Frostbite engine they have changed quite a lot.
Free Kicks and Corners have changed, you no longer have the arrow bar for direction for corners you have to now use a target or control a player. For free kicks you still have the option of taking them the FIFA 16 way which is a relief, but the camera angle will now stay behind the player after you’ve taken your shot at goal. I can’t say I’m a fan of the new corner kick method, I’ve put in a good couple of hours and it’s still up to chance whether my corners are decent or not.
You do have the option when you control a player to leave the corners up to the AI, but who on earth would trust the AI with anything. EA have also added the ability to take corners with the outside of your foot, because that’s something you had at the top of your wish list when waiting for FIFA17.
Shooting and heading has also seen an upgrade, you are now able to use driven shots and headers. So when you are in the 18-yard box and press the shoot button once the bar appears press shoot again for the driven shot or header. This is actually a quite useful upgrade and helps deal with years of not being able to accurately judge the power of your shots.
Penalties also see a change this year and I actually quite like it. You are now able to alter your run up and change the direction at the last minute to try and fool the keeper.
If you have played previous versions of FIFA you have seen defending change quite a bit. Sometimes EA put too much emphasis on attack and leave it almost impossible to defend a small pacey player. This year however EA have given you a little help in defending by making the AI better. You could say the AI is a little too good at defending so much so that you’re at times better leaving it to the AI rather than trying to stop the opposing player yourself. However I don’t believe that defending is broken as some frustrated players have complained about online. A skilled player should be able to take apart the AI. I for one welcome the AI starting to pull its weight on the pitch.
Online play is as solid as ever, servers are stable and very rarely do you get lag during a game. Ultimate Team is still the most addictive game mode in FIFA and I’m sure still a major money maker for EA. There have been subtle change to Ultimate Team with extra game modes and tournaments but the structure is still very much the same, I guess EA are not willing to take too many risks with something that doesn’t require a lot of tinkering.
There are still issues with unrealistic collision detection, fussy referees and soft penalties but in terms of negative points unless you start nit-picking there isn’t much to point at. However the football on the pitch still does not live up to the football in PES. Both PES and FIFA are really starting to drift apart in their vision for the perfect football game. EA is focussing more on graphics and story modes while Konami are providing an authentic simulation of the beautiful game. Put them both together and you really would have the best football game in the world. But until then this year’s FIFA will have to do.