The biggest soccer game on earth drops in a week. FIFA 17, EA Sports’ latest edition of its popular footy series, comes out in North America on September 27 and worldwide on September 29. This year’s edition of the game was highly anticipated thanks to the addition of a new game engine and the first-ever narrative mode in an EA Sports game. There was so much hype that living up to that standard was going to be tough.
Fortunately for FIFA fans, EA Sports managed to do just that. Get ready to say goodbye to your free time, because you’re going to dedicate all of it to playing FIFA 17 for the next few months.
The big news with FIFA 17 was that Frostbite was going to be the new game engine, the same game engine that EA uses for games like the Need for Speed and Battlefield series. FIFA has always prided itself on being a “realistic” soccer game, and it accomplishes that with the incredible visuals in FIFA 17.
Prior to the release of the game, EA Sports revealed some of the ways that the presentation for FIFA 17 would be new. Some ways included manager reactions to big moments within matches, more than 500 new chants (including the Icelandic Huh chant that gave sports fans chills during Euro 2016, which is interesting considering Iceland is not in the game), an expanded range of player emotions, and a number of additions like pyrotechnics and home team corner flags that are meant to give the game a more authentic feel.
On the “authentic feel” thing, my favorite “improving the in-game experience” addition to the game are the performance analytics that pop up mid-match. In the past, FIFA games have featured graphics that will pop up during matches, but nothing as in depth as the new performance analytics that appear in FIFA 17.
Long story short, if you made each half 45 minutes long and just let the two computers play one another, you’d almost feel like you were actually watching soccer (not 100 percent, but almost).
The great thing about FIFA 17 is it lets you personalize elements of the in-game experience. If you got the demo, you saw the new gameplay features – new attacking techniques, set piece re-write, physical play overhaul, and an active intelligence system. Basically, EA wanted you to go from feeling like you were playing a video game about soccer to making it feel like you were playing a soccer simulation. It manages to achieve this.
The most innovative part of the game, though, is the brand new THE JOURNEY mode. FIFA has long had the CAREER MODES – it still has both of those (player and manager), and manager mode got a spiffy new upgrade in which you don’t just control your team, but you must reach objectives for your club like youth development, brand exposure, and financial goals – but this wanted to make the player mode feel like an experience (it’s the first time that EA has included a narrative mode in a game). It’s similar to NBA2k’s MyCareer mode: you control a young, up-and-coming athlete who is trying to make it in the English Premier League. It’s the most compelling feature that FIFA has included in years, and if you thought the series was getting a bit old and repetitive, you need to try out this mode.