FIFA 17, the new addition to the giant footballing franchise by EA, was released on the 29th of September 2016. As such, enough time has passed for us here at ATPS4 to compose a very detailed review of the game.
Developer: EA Canada
Publisher: EA Sports
Avg Game Length: For as long as you love football! Playing every game of a 15 season career will absorb 150 hours of your life!
FIFA 17 is the first game in the franchise to run on the Frostbite engine, the very same force used by Battlefield 1. The handover from the Ignite engine to Frostbite has opened the door for a much more powerful, realistic game with a whole host of new features.
The Journey Is A Fresh And Welcome Addition
Possibly the single most attractive addition to many players, the Journey is a brand-new game mode for FIFA 17. In it, the player takes control of Alex Hunter, a rising star in the footballing world. The premise of the Journey is to guide Alex through the beginning of his footballing career. You begin the story during a cup final when Alex is a young child, and end the story with the completion of his debut season in the Premier League, the most prestigious division in England. Although the ride through the Journey is far from simple, it is one that compels the player to see it through to fruition. But is it actually any good?
Veterans to the FIFA franchise will instantly notice similarities between the Journey and Be A Pro game modes from years gone by, and it is easy to see why. There have been cases in the past of EA failing to make any real changes to their offline games apart from applying a fresh coat of paint, and it is sad to say that the Journey is not much change from that. The way to upgrade Alex is slightly different to how player upgrades used to work – now you earn Attribute Points to apply wherever you like, rather than completing achievements for upgrades. However, that is the only real change to the Journey. There are new cutscenes thrown in, with dialogue options very similar to Mass Effect. But these cutscenes are few and far between, and the dialogue choices have little to no effect on the outcome of the story.
That’s not to say that the Journey isn’t fun – it is. The story is average, but still worth completing for the Ultimate Team rewards you can gain from completing the game mode. You may even use those rewards in our next section!
FUT Champions And The Weekend League
There has been a massive new addition to arguably FIFA’s most popular game mode, Ultimate Team. By qualifying for, and competing in the Weekend League, players can gain amazing prizes for their efforts! From 7AM Friday morning to 7AM Monday morning, you can partake in a maximum of 40 games against other Weekend League players, and as you get better, so do your prizes! However, it is far from easy to qualify. There are still a large number of players in the top two divisions of Ultimate Team who fail to qualify week in, week out.
The addition of FUT Champions was always going to have that effect on some players though. It was brought in purely to add a much more competitive edge to Ultimate Team, and it is easy to get thrown out to sea, drowned out by the players who got slightly better (or luckier) packs than you. However, if this is indeed the case for you, there is one simple fix to these issues – outplaying your opponent. The next section is going to focus on new additions to the game that allow you to do just that.
Is Slower Paced Gameplay A Good Thing Or A Bad Thing?
As mentioned earlier, the game now runs on the brand-new Frostbite engine. As such, the game has a much different feel to previous entries. Let’s go back to FIFA 15 and 16. The gameplay for those games was much quicker, and far more fluid on the Ignite engine. This is in stark contrast to FIFA 17. The gameplay is much slower this time around, but unfortunately this can also transfer across to you as a player.
There have been issues of severe button delay with this game. For those of you who don’t know, button delay is an issue where pressing a button on the controller, the game may take a while to perform that action. In reality that pause may only be for 2 seconds, but in a game as fast-paced as football, those 2 seconds feel like a lifetime. This is also true for players at the higher end of the skill spectrum. Attempting to carry out skill moves is always a gamble, but more so with the added gamble of the button delay. As much is the case with simple button commands, attempts at skill moves may result in different moves being used due to the loss of a button press, or sometimes no skill at all may be registered.
However, when skill moves are utilised effectively, they seem to be much more potent in this game at beating players than in previous games. The movements of players are much more realistic and down-to-earth. This is true of both the attacking and defending players. When beating the man, your player will react to what your opponent does mid-skill, putting his arm out if needed to gain a little more distance between him and the man he just roulette-spun into the dust.
That’s not to say that defending in this game is hindered in any way, though. By increasing the realism of the game, EA have also improved the physicality of player-to-player confrontations. When you control a big, physical defender, for example Mats Hummels of Bayern Munich, you feel as if you are actually controlling Mats Hummels. He moves and reacts exactly the way he does in real life, closing down and taking on the attacker man-for-man, with his large, imposing physique. Jordi Alba and Hector Bellerin play the way they do in real life too. Should a pacy winger such as Neymar, Ronaldo or Griezmann get past them (due to wing-backs lower physical and defending stats than their more central defensive counterparts), Bellerin or Alba will track down their men and seal them out effectively by running back around them.
Speaking of pacy players, it is back in a big way in FIFA 17. For the last few years, having pacy players did not seem to have much of an impact with regards to changing games in your favour. This time around, pace seems to be a much bigger factor in scoring goals. EA have updated the computer AI of your teammates, leading to them making more dynamic runs more often. This new feature can massively kill your opponent. Especially if you see a player making a run between two defenders and manage to get the ball through to them. There is nothing more infuriating than seeing Jamie Vardy cutting between your two centre-backs and knowing there’s nothing more you can do as he blisters away towards your goal. However, when it is your player making the run, it’s one of the most beautiful sights in the game.
In Steps The Beloved Frostbite Engine
Speaking of beautiful sights in FIFA 17,the graphical side of the game has seen major developments. Thanks (again) to the implementation of the Frostbite engine. The intensity of colours of the stadiums and environments have been lowered. Yet, this creates a more realistic feel to the game. Player faces have been improved, looking near-identical to their real life counterparts. This even includes pores on the skin, sweat glistening on their faces, and even individual hairs bristling in the wind. In the instant replay option of the pause menu, these graphical upgrades are even more mind-boggling.
Dimples on the ball, blades of grass stuck to boots, and laces flying around. It’s all in plain sight when you look for it. All in all, a vast improvement over previous iterations of the game. However, it would be nice in the next game to have an improvement of the crowd mechanics. It is getting boring year after year to see the crowd as simply repeating sections of people, doing the same things.
To conclude, FIFA 17 is a vastly different game to its previous counterparts. The game is slower, with a bigger build-up being necessary the majority of the time to create the picture-perfect goal. It’s more realistic, with more focus being put on individual player battles on the pitch. It all looks absolutely amazing. As such, I would highly recommend getting this game if you haven’t already, and getting stuck right into it. Thank you for reading!