FIFA 17 Review

North America XBOX FIFA17 Box Art (Source: Wikimedia)

With over thirty hours played, FIFA 17 entertained as expected for my first console experience of a FIFA game on the XBOX ONE.

In my review, I will rate the game’s four aspects, story, gameplay, graphics, and player experience, out of ten points. One point means total failure while ten points is absolutely mind blowing, and six points is average. Please note, I enjoy playing football/soccer games, so my opinion will be biased.

FIFA17 features modes, such as its signature FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT), career, kickoff, and its newest mode, The Journey. I have not put much time into FUT because of school, but this mode looks more or less like FIFA16. The Career mode, which is split into player and manager, seemed to improve a bit. The manager career featured clearer operating budgets with revenue and expenses as well as clear club objectives for the manager. This year’s edition of the game brings in women’s national teams into the mix for the first time. Electronic Arts (EA) added many new elements into this year’s game.

 

Story – 8

The Journey overshadowed the traditional player career mode, where the player creates an in-game avatar to advance through the footballing world. This new scripted narrative brought something radically different to the table and overshadowed the “Choose your own adventure” style career mode. In my brief experience following the FIFA gaming community, the Journey fulfilled its purpose of a new game mode to the players. For years, the devoted players voiced their demands for something new and fresh to play.

The player acts through the fictional character, Alex Hunter, who dreams of playing in the English Premier League, the top division of English football. Alex’s grandfather, Jim Hunter, played in the First Division of the Football League in 1966-67, where he scored twenty goals, a great achievement. His grandfather tutored Alex from his childhood to his English FA trials to his late teens.

Alex Hunter can choose to join any of the twenty Premier League teams. You can decide to play as a striker, a left winger, a right winger, or a center attacking midfielder. Gareth Walker, a childhood friend, joins Alex in the Premier League. His rise to Premier League glory is no easy road, so be prepared for a tumultuous story.

Overall, The Journey dragged a typical player career mode’s story to the next level, so this improvement is only a few assists away from being amazing.

 

Gameplay – 7

The gameplay showed significant improvements, such as the new attacking features, physicality, better AI movement, and brand new set piece procedures. These improvements showed in matches especially the physicality, which is realistic, but annoying in-game. The better AI means no easy passes since defenders might be able to intercept more often than before. The new set pieces allow you to move the set piece taker around to take different angle shots. The penalty taking has changed, where you start by determining the placement of the ball before determining the power of the shot. In my opinion, The freedom of movement in set piece taking increased the difficulty.

The HUD and the menus shared similarities to the last game. The goalkeepers are just as notable as last year’s game with amazing reflexes and great saves.

Overall, the improvements have made the gameplay above average.

 

Graphics – 7

FIFA17’s graphics showed great improvement with its incredibly lifelike representations of many players. EA decided to use its Frostbite game engine, which probably improved its graphics performance significantly compared to the old Ignite game engine. The stadiums are quite lifelike, such as the Signal Iduna Park in Germany. The graphics moved forward, but the level of progress felt incremental at best since the FIFA series is known to have the most realistic graphics against the competition.

Overall, the graphics improved significantly to earn an above average rating.

 

Player Experience – 7

I enjoyed my experience of FIFA17 especially the player and manager career mode and The Journey. I started at amateur difficulty, which took several hours to master, and moved on after regularly blasting six or seven goals past the opposition. In manager career mode, I am currently mastering semi-pro, where I am able put in two or three goals regularly, but the opposition scores a goal occasionally. The new physicality feature made holding up the ball much more difficult when the opposition is allowed to completely overpower your player. From the AI improvements and physicality, the increased difficulty made the possession based tactics even slower than before, which is the antithesis to my ideal of fast and fluid counter-attacking football.

Overall, I enjoyed the above average experience, which challenged and entertained me.

 

The Last Call – 7.25/10

I played little of the FIFA series on the console or PC. I spent a couple hours on the FIFAWORLD beta, which was FUT on the PC as free-to-play. Most of my experience focused on FIFA14 Mobile and FIFA15 Ultimate Team Mobile, which I played on my iPad 4. These mobile versions of the game focused primarily on the FUT mode. I had fun in building a mix of players from different club leagues and going to the English Premier League, the German Bundesliga, and the Spanish La Liga to test my team against the best. I enjoyed the financial transactions of the transfer market before EA placed the price floors and price ceilings in an effort to weed out illegal coin selling practices.

Some of the common players like myself lost the profit incentive to speculate on the transfer market. EA created these price controls across the board to consoles and PCs. The major point of contention would be how could players possibly afford to buy 1,000,000+ coin Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo cards, which were originally unaffordable in the first place. The reality of grinding through three thousand matches for coins to buy a Messi or Ronaldo card incentivizes players to legally make profits from the transfer market. The incentive diminished to the point of little significance. This tangent explains why I will never play FUT for a long time.

Totaling up 8, 7, 7, and 7, the sum is 29 and divide by 4. I give this game a 7.25 out of 10. FIFA17 moved forward with its numerous improvements, but what can be next in FIFA18?

I believe this game may be the beginning of a revolution for the FIFA series. With the addition of female national teams, the next logical step would be to begin the integration of female professional football/soccer leagues. Hopefully, The Journey will branch out from the one season timeline to a multi-season timeline in the sequel, but that might be unlikely. Also, the increased complexity of manager career mode will be improved on to compete with the Football Manager series. The presumed title of the sequel, FIFA18, will be another important pass to the long-term “goal” of the FIFA series.