The final transfer window for the 16/17 season has been and gone and that means fans of EA Sport’s FIFA 17 now have two things to do: If you are a fan of Ultimate Team then you can look forward to the Team of the Season cards coming out in May, or if you are a career mode player, you can carry on with your career or start a new one with the updated player rosters.
To be honest, what we will all be doing is waiting for any news on FIFA 18 to see if EA will be introducing anything new and awesome that we can get excited about. So I thought I’d pre-empt the undoubted hype and write a list of things that EA have hopefully paid attention to.
Now, if Hector Bellerin can get knocked out whilst challenging for a header and have it not called as a foul, then FIFA players expect to be able to shoulder barge a player off the ball or gently trip them up and not be given a yellow card. It is so wildly inconsistent that it’s infuriating. EA seem to think that any challenge from behind is an automatic red card but a challenge that breaks one of your player’s legs but catches an inch of the ball is just a warning.
I should probably say that some matches get it spot on but other ones are so broken up by pointless little fouls and idiotic cards that a lot of your time is spent protesting quite hopelessly at an animated figure rather than enjoying the game.
This brings me onto the advantage system. The ref will play advantage in the most ridiculous of situations, like in your own 6 yard area, but when you are tapping the ball into the back of the net after someone was brought down in the penalty area, he will call it back for the foul for some strange reason. I wouldn’t call it game breaking but it can ruin the experience somewhat and for a game that strives for realism, more realism is needed.
2. Interaction & Customisation
Just like everyone else, I was impressed and excited when news about about The Journey broke. Then I was disappointed. I ground it out in a day playing for Crystal Palace and won the FA cup, against Gareth Walker’s West Ham. The fact that it was only one season disappointed me but I suppose I can understand their reasoning behind it. I was more disappointed in the lack of interaction outside of any cutscenes. You earned money and could make your choice of club based on how much money you would earn, but couldn’t do anything with it. Now this has been one of my issues with FIFA for a while. In Career Mode, and now in The Journey as well, they have wages that you earn for absolutely no reason.
A simple idea off the top of my head for The Journey would be the ability to spend the money on flat furnishings to make your rest better between matches, improving how much stamina you recover. For Career Mode, some customisation options for your manager would add to the immersion. Anything like suit styles, or shoes or hats to make it less pointless and not just seem like an afterthought thrown in there to make it seem realistic. Stadium upgrades would be great too. If FIFA 18 implemented something like this, be it those ideas or better, it would give it a larger gap over its rivals and convince the fans that the series hasn’t stagnated. It would probably be the best FIFA in recent memory.
On the topic of interaction: Why couldn’t we tweet anything? In The Journey, even your Mum was tweeting, and ‘Gaz’ spent a lot of time doing it but we couldn’t do anything. It just seems like something really simple and obvious to me that looks like a bit of an oversight.
The menu design in FIFA has been similar for a while now. The Career Mode menu has been the same since FIFA 14. FUT has barely changed and the main menu may have come a long way since FIFA 05, but it just doesn’t get the heart racing. I want to be excited as soon as I switch on the game, but it seems like there’s an old Victorian photo filter hovering over everything.
When the main menu kicks in, why doesn’t it float in the middle of a stadium with a crowd cheering all around, with fireworks like your club just won the league? There was a FIFA (13, I believe) that put you in the arena instead of the menu, and you could sprint around and hit shots at the Keeper. If EA took that and built upon it then I think they’d bring that immediate excitement back.
4. Player Career Mode
Whenever I look around the internet for information or articles on the Player Career mode, I struggle to find anything. Perhaps I am the only one who plays it, but it has been practically the same since FIFA 13. You pick a club, they play you in either every single match or loan you out, and you complete accomplishments to boost your stats. The only control you have is being able to request a loan move or a transfer.
Now the default formation for the club you pick or get transferred to is the formation that will always be used by that team. If you’re a left winger and you transfer to Real Madrid and have better form than Ronaldo, they will play you over Ronaldo. In real life this would never happen, they’d switch the formation and try and fit you both in because you are both world class players, but the AI has absolutely no sense. There is so much wrong with this mode that I am going to do a quick list rather than go in depth on every point.
The accomplishments are always the same. 30 goals with your weak foot for +1 weak foot ability is way too much for such little reward. When you select to play with just your player and not the whole team, your team become useless and can barely do anything. The managers have no clue and will throw the team on defensive when you are one nil down in the 80th minute. If they are now focusing on The Journey they might as well get rid of this mode completely because it needs a total revamp.
The Player/Manager joint career mode was much better and much more fun. They should just bring this mode back and it would make the game much better immediately.
5. Ultimate Team
I haven’t played Ultimate Team (FUT) properly, and when I say properly I mean grind coins until my squad is decent enough to reach Division 1, since FIFA 14. This is mainly because I view it as a moneymaking scheme for EA and nothing more.
If you win a game you get 500 odd coins for playing well. At this current moment in time, on the PS4, Ronaldo is going for 3.2million coins. I won’t do the maths but that is a lot of games you have to play to be able to afford him. Or you can open some packs. A premium gold pack for a chance to get some rare gold players is 7,500 coins or 150 FIFA points (FP), and the chances of getting a good player is quite slim. Saving up enough coins to open enough packs will probably take quite a while. So EA allow you to buy FP so that you can open more packs and so it goes on.
The crux of the matter is that to get a good team with in-form cards or Team of the Season cards will probably cost you more than you paid for the game. Therefore it is only FIFA youtubers or people who are willing to spend £100/$100 on virtual currency who will have these most coveted cards. So for me there is no point playing FUT as I can play with the best team for free on Career mode.
Now, there is a huge amount of people who disagree with me and love FUT and I understand and respect that because it is a very addictive game mode. However, it needs to be tweaked. The rewards for winning games needs to be higher. As well as this, EA could create challenges that you need to accomplish for a chance to get your hands on some top cards. The challenges can be as difficult as they want. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this something that EA already do on Madden Ultimate Team? If they implemented it into FUT then I think they’d open up this game mode, and in turn FIFA 18, even further towards people like me who still have their reservations, and in the process push us away from what will undoubtedly be an improved PES 2018.