Football is back and once again FIFA comes packed to the hilt with new and improved gameplay modes to suit everyone. This year’s entry, FIFA 17, released to the world on Thursday (29 September 2016) and we laced up our boots (fresh ones as well) to bring you the low down of the goodness. Get a good stretch in and lets kick off our review of one of our favourite video gaming franchises.
RELATED: A Tribute To FIFA 16
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Reviewed On: PS4
Developer: Visual Concepts
Publisher: 2K Sports
Distributor: Prima Interactive
Release Date: 29 September 2016
Price: R1 200
The first major update worth mentioning in FIFA 17 is the fact that the game is now powered by the brand-new DICE Frostbite Engine. For the past 3 FIFA entries, the game has been running on the Ignite Engine. The Frostbite Engine is the same beast that powers Battlefield 1, Star Wars: Battlefront and Mass Effect. With FIFA 17 running on the Frostbite Engine, players look and move more realistically than ever before. Every facial expression, personal style, and mannerisms shine through making players and their gameplay feel extremely authentic.
In FIFA 17 attention to detail moves to a whole new level and everything from the players, managers, changing rooms to the wild crowds look more realistic compared to last year which was already a great facelift to 15 in terms of football’s carnival atmosphere. The beat of the stadium is stronger than ever in FIFA 17.
The usual menu upgrades and new in-game player data enhancements are all there. An efficient update to loading screens means you get to the action a little quicker this year, and we love that.
In EA’s attempt to make clear how much more like their real life counterparts the players in FIFA are they slightly miss the mark. This means the game takes a fair bit of getting used to at first with passing standing out as a real issue. Instead of smashing a long ball based on how long you hold down either square or X, the game sort of overrides you a bit to make sure the player looks very good doing it. That being said, passes have been polished up quite nicely in other areas and when you get used to it all you will find yourself carving out passes you might not have tried in previous years.
Gameplay improvements are not massive but rather subtle (and that’s fine because they have added other features by the truckload). Players move smoother than previous titles and we felt that the personalisation of each player was on-point in FIFA 17. The very quick feet we all know Santi Carzola is blessed with in real life are extremely well portrayed in the game, where you will often see him shift the ball from left to right foot in a flash to evade a defender. Mesut Ozil looks just as fluid as he does on the pitch for Arsenal and a lot of the time you will be mesmerised by how similar these players behave and the sorts of decisions they make on the pitch.
All set piece play (corners, free kicks and peanuts) has been slightly tweaked. It will feel like you have to learn a new way of doing this all together when you see the tutorials popping up but fear not, they are actually only putting into words what you had been doing all along.
Defending has been sorted out a bit and you don’t feel like you are running underwater when tracking back anymore. There is still the extremely annoying issue of the likes of Theo Walcott being easily chased down and dispossessed by any defender with a sprint speed over 70 (this issue is especially noticeable playing above Professional).
Scoring goals is quite a task in FIFA 17. But this is a good thing and it makes the first goal you score in the game that much more satisfying. Another element that has seen some tinkering which takes a bit of getting used to. The new weighting of shots make them extremely satisfying to hit the back of the net with. You get it wrong more often than not and send some into the rafters, but when you smash one from 30 yards out or slide one to nutty the keeper, they feel and play out more realistically than ever before – a little tip – the finesses shot has been messed with again and is pretty unstoppable)
With so many teams to face off against, leagues to climb, stadiums to dominate, new career goals (like shirt sales and youth academy development), etc. you won’t ever feel like you have nothing to do in FIFA 17. EA manages to make FIFA more rammed with stuff every year and FIFA 17 creates the most in-depth and immersive experience yet.
One more thing…
The Journey. Oh, the Journey. EA Introduces a new cinematic mode to FIFA 17’s career mode and it’s simply a masterstroke.
You are Alex Hunter, a football obsessed teen with the big leagues on his mind and family issues to deal with at home. Alex must navigate the pressures of the premier league, with all its post-match interviews, big egos, training and much much more. In a game already packed to the brim with content, another game mode could easily be overlooked but this finally adds some fire to the pretty boring Be a Pro mode. It’s a bit of a wild ride at times, but also heavily scripted with a very clear story unfolding that is quite unaffected at first by your on-pitch performances. Tip – Playing The Journey as a ST is a good way to get used to the shooting, and everything else to be honest. It is just amazing, we can’t over-sell this.
The Journey makes FIFA 17 the stand out footy title by a long shot this year and more than enough reason for any PES fan to own both titles. Overall, FIFA has been polished up quite a bit with improvements coming across the board from gameplay to new content and the overall authenticity of everything. There are a few annoying issues though but the upgrades outweigh them this year. FIFA 17 is a must-have.