The time is nigh: The new “FIFA” is almost here.
I’ve had the luxury of playing the full version of “FIFA 17” for the last few days before the game’s official release, and it’s the same glorious blend of fun and competition-fueled rage I’ve come to love since “FIFA ’94.” Yes, 1994.
“FIFA 17” brings a whole new story mode and a bunch of improvements that result in a great “FIFA” game. However, it still isn’t perfect.
“FIFA 17” comes out on Xbox One, PS4, and PC on September 27.
Check out the new “FIFA 17.”
One of the biggest new features in “FIFA 17” is the new story mode, called The Journey, which simulates the career of an up-and-coming soccer player called Alex Hunter.
You start off in the youth academy, where you try out for a spot as a full professional in the Premier League.
It’s around this time when you choose Hunter’s temperament, whether he’s balanced, fiery, or cool, by selecting his verbal responses to certain situations.
- Hollow Gamer/YouTube
It’s part of the new decision-making aspect in “FIFA 17” that helps decide what kind of player Hunter is, as well as his relationship with his manager and how many followers he gets on social media.
Yes, growing your social-media followers in-game to obtain sponsorships is now part of “FIFA,” and that’s kind of hilarious whichever way you look at it #lol. As in real-life, your follower number is based on your in-game performance, but you don’t get to post any updates yourself, unfortunately.
Assuming you passed the tryouts, which seems pretty easy, you eventually pick a team to sign with.
- Hollow Gamer/YouTube
Once you’ve picked a team, you progress through the story that’s chock-full of cinematics, and you play to impress your manager with certain achievable goals, like scoring, maintaining a high overall score, and winning the match.
- Hollow Gamer/YouTube Gaming
The main aim is to build your player’s skills and confidence to become a star who wins games, titles, and the mega paychecks enjoyed by the top players in the Premier League.
You, too, can celebrate with Wayne Rooney through your own merit.
I found the dialogue and story to be pretty cheesy, but I wanted to keep going to achieve my goals. I felt an intense urge to perform and impress the digital gaffer (manager) and rank up when I was substituted in to play.
Doe-eyed Hunter trots onto the pitch for his first shot in the big leagues.
I haven’t progressed very far into my “journey” yet, but it’s fun to be in the shoes of a rising soccer star.
However, soccer fans who don’t follow England’s Premier League may feel a little left out, as “FIFA 17” doesn’t include The Journey for different leagues, like La Liga in Spain or Germany’s Bundesliga, despite the fact that Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus is the featured player for this year’s “FIFA.”
The animations for The Journey and in-game cut-scenes are the best they’ve ever been thanks to EA’s adoption of the Frostbite game engine, which is also used on games like the Battlefield series to produce life-like movements.
As you’d expect, gameplay looks better and is noticeably smoother in “FIFA 17” than previous versions of “FIFA.” And gameplay itself generally feels like a polished version of “FIFA 16.”
It’s hard to tell from a GIF, but gameplay in “FIFA 17” is overall better than previous versions of “FIFA.”
Yet “FIFA 17” adds some well-needed improvements to make the game more enjoyable and dynamic than any previous version, like making it easier to shoot a low drive shot.
Heading the ball down.
And passing is better, too. It’s now easier to deliver threaded through-passes, which was a nightmare in previous versions.
EA says it’s given players in “FIFA 17” better artificial intelligence (AI) for things like getting into position and running into space, and the players do seem a little smarter overall.
Player AI was a frustrating aspect of previous “FIFA” games, as it would completely screw up and it was something that was totally out of your control.
At times, players didn’t seem aware they were playing a soccer match, often standing gormlessly, as if they were a beer-wielding spectator, instead of getting into good positions or making attacking runs.
In “FIFA 17,” players appear much more aware of your movements, as well as those of the opposition.
But the AI in “FIFA” is still far from perfect, as depicted by this own-goal scored by Manchester United’s Eric Bailly in red.
The AI still does the dumbest things sometimes, and I had no control over Bailly at all. He just charged ahead like a maniac to chest-in an own goal.
And the ref still makes VERY questionable calls.
Both are relatively rare, but when an AI character screws up, it also screws up the fun.
Of course, both these things also happen in real life, and it’s not clear if EA actively keeps AI dumb to simulate mistakes that real-life players make. If that’s the case, then it adds to the realism. Harsh, harsh realism. Life is hard and full of mistakes, I suppose.
Managers are now real, which has a surprisingly positive effect.
Look! It’s Tottenham Hotspur’s manager, Mauricio Pochettino!
Managers in previous versions of “FIFA” were random characters with suits, but you’ll find your club’s real-life manager on the sidelines in “FIFA 17.”
It’s a great addition that makes the game surprisingly more engrossing and realistic.
Let’s be honest. If you’re a “FIFA” fan, you probably get the new version every year.
But if you’ve been holding on to “FIFA 15” and waiting for a decent upgrade, then “FIFA 17” makes a strong case for your console. The graphics, gameplay, and general improvements and additions make “FIFA 17” the best “FIFA” yet.