What Do We Know About FIFA 20 And How Will It Improve On FIFA 19?
Since it first appeared in 1993, the annual release of a new FIFA title is always met with great anticipation in gaming circles. But what do we know about the latest incarnation? And how will it improve on last year’s edition?
Release date and platforms
The official release date for FIFA 20 is September 27, 2019, but early birds can snap up a pre-release on September 24 by ordering the game in advance. Just like last year’s game, the new FIFA title will be available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC and the Nintendo Switch. The first glimpse of what to expect came via the trailer that debuted at EA Play which formed part of the 2019 E3 Conference earlier this year.
It remains to be seen who will feature on the cover, but there is a strong possibility it will be a player from one of the Premier League’s big guns. Manchester City won the title and will be favourites to retain their crown in the sports betting at odds of 20/33, and star forward Raheem Sterling featured heavily in the trailer. However, runners-up Liverpool won the Champions League and Mohamed Salah shared the Golden Boot with teammate Sadio Mane. Sterling and Salah are sure to be amongst the favourites to feature on the cover.
You may have heard talk of the new ‘Volta Mode’ set to feature in FIFA 20, but what exactly is it? Volta (‘return’ in Portuguese) takes us back to the streets to play football in its purest form. EA Sports describe it as ‘the authentic culture, creativity and style of the small-sided game’. But basically, it’s a street football mode that harks back to the days of FIFA Street, which first saw the light of day back in 2005.
Recent versions of FIFA have lacked major new features, so this is an exciting development that marks a genuine step up from the 2019 edition. Volta mode focuses on small-sided games such as 3v3, 4v4 and Futsal, all played out in a variety of urban settings including subways, soccer cages and rooftop pitches. The style of play will be affected by the arena you are playing in. The idea is to develop a range of extra skills that can be used during gameplay. Custom character options such as clothes, tattoos and whacky hairdos also add to the fun.
With plenty of options and a fresh take on the street-based game, this new feature sounds like it will have real substance. The big question is whether the mode will feel like a game within a game or whether it will feel like part of the overall FIFA journey.
After criticism of the new defending and shooting systems in FIFA 2019, EA has reacted with some major tweaks. AI defenders will become less efficient while user-controlled defender will be more effective, putting more emphasis on player skill in defence.
Timed finishing will become much tougher thanks to a restricted timing window, and accurate shooting will require even more skill. Improved time and pace on the ball and better ball physics should improve attacking moves. The ball will react better to spin and deflections will be more authentic. One-on-one situations will be more frequent and offer more accurate shooting options. Meanwhile, volleying will be more unpredictable.
Strafe dribbling will allow you to draw an opponent in before using your skill and speed to leave them for dead. The new system will give you more control over the speed, spin and direction of set-pieces. Passing mechanics have also been addressed with improved accuracy for simple passes, while long-range and intricate passes made under pressure will be more difficult to execute. Opponents that press Liverpool-style will draw weaker passes that are easier to intercept. The new version will also feature dinked passes to evade the outstretched leg of a defender.
Some of the major criticisms of FIFA 19 appear to have been addressed, and the gameplay has been totally revamped in places. With the game changing at the elite level in the real world, EA has been under pressure to create a version that is an accurate reflection of the modern game, and some of the changes described seemed to be aimed at doing this.
The game should flow better, well-executed pressing will be rewarded, and smart attacking play is more likely to leave defenders for dust. This combined with the new Volta mode should make for an exciting package. Plus, there could be a few more surprises in store.