Title: FIFA 19
Format: PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Developer: EA Vancouver
Publisher: Electronic Arts
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Release Date: September 28, 2018
The Grade: A
FIFA 19 Haiku Review
The Journey times 3
Time that finish, if you can
Never walk alone
What is it? The 26th installment of what is likely the most popular video game on the planet. People around the world dive head first into this series every year. Known for its consistency and creativity, EA Sports has once again stuck the ball in the back of the net as “FIFA 19” completely delivers on the pitch.
The Good: “FIFA 19” grabs you right from the start, putting you into the UEFA championship (new this year) between Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain when the game fires up. The crowd is pumped and the stakes are high. What stands out immediately are the tweaked controls. They take a little bit to get used to, as now “FIFA” requires a bit more finesse, but I instantly felt like I had more control of my players and what they were doing on the pitch. The sense of realism blew me away.
I particularly liked the new Timed Finishing mechanic. With this, gamers double tap the shoot button and if timed correctly you can pull off some amazing shots. It took quite awhile to get used to the controls for this as the targeting bar for it is small and the chances of screwing up are high until you get accustomed to it. It sort of reminded me of the three click swing in the “Tiger Woods” golf series, but with a much higher degree of difficulty. However, once I felt comfortable it added so much more to my gameplay.
FIFA Ultimate Team and Career Mode (where I spend most of my time) have returned and offer a number of new features, particularly in Career. New to Career are 16 new training games, a new tactical system and UEFA Champions League integration. The Career mode is deep, fun and a great place for soccer fans to take an intense dive into their favorite sport.
The Journey has also returned with some significant improvements. This time there are three heroes and three stories. Alex Hunter is featured of course, but The Journey now splits time between Alex, his sister Kim and goofy, yet lovable Danny Williams. Their path hops around from different leagues across continents, which is a blast. After two years of mostly focusing on Alex, I was ready for a bit more variety in “FIFA’s” storytelling, and that’s exactly what gamers get in this latest iteration of The Journey.
The Bad: Getting used to some of the new controls took time, particularly the Timed Finishing mechanic. A little too much time for my liking, and I’m a “FIFA” vet. There’s just not a lot of help offered to get used to the more refined controls. To be sure, you can practice your skills in different modes and players don’t have to use the Timed Finish mechanic, you can play the game just like you have in the past. But it’s such a cool feature that it would’ve been nice to have a dedicated area to really highlight it.
The Grade: EA Sports does a great job with all their titles, but when it comes to a winning formula the “FIFA” series has it down to a science. Once again this series manages to give fans what they want, while making refinements and compiling additions that make for a better all around experience. If you’re a fan of soccer, “FIFA 19” is a must own.
Gazette Media Columnist Terry Terrones is a veteran video game journalist. He has written for numerous publications including GamePro, GamesBeat, PC World, GameZone, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/terryterrones.