Electronic Arts redefines soccer simulation gaming with the newest installment of the ongoing FIFA franchise
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FIFA continues to be the gold standard when it comes to modern soccer simulations, but FIFA 19 builds on the formula in interesting new ways without breaking the formula that fans have come to love and trust. The release of a new FIFA game every year is the only thing as reliable as death and taxes, but Electronics Art has generally done a good job of building on the formula with each new iteration. FIFA 19 is no different, building on the fundamentals that have been put in place over the years and even pulling in on some of the successful new alterations brought to the latest versions of Madden and NBA Live.
The biggest new selling point of FIFA 19 is the Champions League, and it's strong enough alone to justify hanging up your copy of last year's version and trading it in for the new model. League standard Derek Rae has been brought in to provide commentary, and that level of authenticity permeates every aspect of this new mode. One of the biggest successes of the FIFA license has always been the accuracy of the players and teams, and that holds true this year as well, but you have a huge amount of customization in how you tackle the new Champions League. Swap in your favorite standard league team or even your personalized crew, and rest easy knowing that the new Champions League integrates smoothly across both Ultimate Team and career modes.
EA Sports is sometimes accused of putting out the same games year after year with little new but the nature of the rosters. Fortunately, FIFA 19 brings one of the biggest systemic changes in years. The centerpiece this time around is the new physics engine, and it alters the moment to moment gameplay on a pretty fundamental level. The AI plays far more aggressively, encouraging more nuanced and team-driven play rather than just driving the ball right down the center, and defense has to be managed far more strategically. It's a system that requires both an understanding of your players and a skill-based grasp of how the mechanics work. In an additional move towards courting serious players, shooting has also undergone a pretty significant overhaul. Precision shooting gives players a lot more control over how you steer the ball. It's a system that will likely challenge new players, but it offers an immense amount of reward when you manage to line up the shot exactly how you intended.
While multiplayer may be the centerpiece of the FIFA franchise, EA isn't neglecting the solo fans this time around. Between the inclusion of a career mode and the return of the Journey, there are hundreds of hours of gameplay to dig into. The latter has taken inspiration from Madden and NBA Live's recent narrative modes to create a more inclusive and compelling story.