Title: FIFA 20
Format: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Developer: EA Vancouver
Publisher: Electronic Arts
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Release Date: Sept. 24, 2019
The Grade: A
FIFA 20 Haiku Review
Bye Alex Hunter
Say hi to Volta football
Never walk alone
What is it? EA’s FIFA franchise is the world’s premiere soccer (or football depending where you live) sim. Think “Madden” is a big franchise? It pales in comparison to the FIFA series, where gamers worldwide get their virtual soccer fix. Every year EA Sports cranks out a new and improved version of one of its most popular titles and 2019 is no exception. There are significant changes to this year’s iteration that are sure to have a major impact.
The Good: Say goodbye to Alex Hunter and his crew and say hello to Volta Football. The career of Alex Hunter, his sister Kim and their friend Danny Williams has drawn to a close and has been replaced by street soccer. That sounds odd, and in many ways it is, but ending Alex’s path comes at just the right time.
When it first debuted, The Journey revitalized the FIFA franchise but by season three it became a grind. Volta, which is street football for the uninitiated, has a fun and playful tone. Its slightly cheesy storyline is a welcome reprieve from the pressures of big time soccer players had to deal with in The Journey.
There are several different modes and match types to experience in Volta. In Volta Tour you compete against an AI and can steal players from teams you beat, which is similar to Threes in EA’s NHL franchise. Volta League is the online component. I typically get my hat handed to me when I play FIFA online but I felt competitive here. Matches are short (3-5 minutes) and the gameplay style keeps competitors balanced.
Volta’s single player story mode is my favorite new feature in “FIFA 20.” Compared to the slog of last year’s Journey, the five to six hours it takes to complete is a breeze. You’ll travel the world with your crew of dedicated street soccer players, recording your big moments and posting them online to fans all while expressing yourself to your hearts content with a bevy of clothing and styling options.
The single player component of Volta contains more cheese than the state of Wisconsin, but I found the characters endearing and fun. At times, its like playing the soccer version of “The Fast and the Furious” or “Step Up,” or a combination of the two. This tickled me immensely so I found it both fun and slightly humorous.
“FIFA 20” has made significant improvements in other areas as well. Set pieces, defensive play and dribbling have all been fine tuned. FIFA Ultimate Team has also been upgraded, with a number of new objectives club customizations and a wider variety of modes. Career mode has been given greater depth, with more options and features that make it feel significantly more substantial than in years past.
The Bad: Volta Football is a great mode and a breath of fresh air for “FIFA’s” story telling feature. That said, I could see it being a turn off to some hardcore football junkies. People take football seriously, Volta Football does not. It’s not hard to imagine those gamers who only want the purest form of FIFA to see Volta as a mode they just didn’t want to pay for. Of course, I think those people will be missing out.
The Grade: With a ton of new content and some improvements and features, this is a title that soccer/football fans must pick up. The addition of Volta Football practically gives fans of the series two games in one. “FIFA 20” is flat out fun.
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.