The FIFA era has come to an end, giving us a new soccer game in the form of EA Sports FC 24. The new name is a breath of fresh air at the very least, but regarding the game itself, we see little difference with its predecessor.
The main question when it comes to a soccer game is of course: “How does it play?”. Although not much difference can be felt with the previous titles, we are still somewhat pleasantly surprised with how EA Sports FC plays, especially when it comes to matches against AI. The new Hypermotion V, which more accurately mimics real players using more visual data (and with the help of AI), genuinely impacts the game. Players feel more precise in their usage, and the matches themselves seem more like a traditional soccer match.
There are quite a few positive things to mention about the gameplay. It is somewhat less jittery and calmer, with less focus on speed. Players also feel more unique due to their more diverse profiles, causing one to think more about how to play soccer. Add a slightly lower pass accuracy, and EA Sports FC genuinely starts resembling a soccer game.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, of course, as EA Sports FC continues to struggle with its predecessor’s problems. While attacking feels smooth, defending remains an issue. Intercepting the ball sometimes feels so impossible that it starts becoming comical, especially when every loose ball invariably falls at the opponent’s feet. The fact that you can play offensively smoothly is great for the gamer, but it quickly loses its charm if you pass through the defense too easily. Situations in the game too often benefit the attack, often leading to ridiculously high scores.
We must also mention that there are some bugs to be found in EA Sports FC. The new cutscenes that were added, for example, are not fine-tuned and are often quite laggy. At one point, we noticed that there was no goalkeeper in the opponent’s goal during a free kick. We also encountered a game-breaking bug in Career Mode, as trying to dismiss one of your coaches invariably causes the game to crash. EA has already promised to fix this last bug as soon as possible.
To be honest, we don’t really care much about Ultimate Team; not much to say about it this year anyway. So, let’s talk a bit about Career Mode, even though we know EA doesn’t pay much attention to it as there are no juicy cents to be scraped up after the original purchase.
There are some new features to be discovered in Career Mode this year. You can now train players individually to maintain their sharpness or give them more rest. A good idea in theory, in practice mostly a lot of hassle. Youth scouts can now search for young players who play a certain position, something that was not possible before. A welcome addition, but we mainly wonder why this could not be incorporated into the game 10 years ago. Seems like a simple job for a developer.
The most significant new features, however, are those of the tactical playstyle and coaches. You can hire coaches who subscribe to a certain football philosophy to get the best out of your players. These players can also suit a particular philosophy or not. A cool idea, but in the end, it all remains a bit too superficial. Coaches for attackers, midfielders, defenders, and goalkeepers were already in the game around FIFA 2007 but later disappeared without a clear reason from the game mode. Removing functionality to reintroduce it later as a novelty, let’s call it a specialty of EA.
Ultimate Team is also Ultimate Team again this year; fans will therefore feel right at home. Don’t expect too much news except for some footnotes. You can now work with female players who join the men. With the Evolution system, you can also improve players’ attributes to fit them better into your system, which you unlock by completing certain challenges. Oh yes, there is now also crossplay. So much for Ultimate Team, moving on.