FIFA 19: What You Need To Know
It's that time of year again, football fans! The world's most popular football sim is back, it's bigger than ever and it's due to arrive this Friday (September 28th). Here's everything you need to know about FIFA 19...
What's the synopsis here?
You know the drill: take control of 11 men or women and play your way to footballing glory on the sport's biggest stages.
What's the gameplay like this time around?
There are a few tweaks on the pitch in FIFA 19 that might take a bit of getting used to, but with a little practice they soon turn out to be welcome changes that all add up to a fairly major improvement on last year's offering. Perhaps the best of these is a new shooting mechanism in which you can tap the shoot button again after powering up your shot – get this wrong and the resulting shot could be embarrassingly scuffed, but time it just right and the ball absolutely fizzes into the net.
Players with good shooting stats or the 'finesse shot' trait will improve your chances of getting this right, of course, and this is just one way in which a player's stats seem to play a much bigger part in this year's game. Big, strong defenders with good tackling stats can be much more difficult to get the better of in a 50/50, while even the quickest attackers might find it a little more difficult to outrun pacey defenders.
Top-level goalkeepers also appear to be much more difficult to beat in this year's instalment, and another big improvement is in the skills and ball-control departments, where there are all sorts of new options for cheeky flicks and tricks, making things feel that bit more dynamic.
FIFA Ultimate Team adds a few new features this year too, with a new Division Rivals function which pairs you against online players of a similar skill level, while there are also more options in terms of tactics and overall club management.
What are this year's big new additions?
Probably the biggest new change is the fact that EA have finally managed to nab the rights to the UEFA Champions League, wrestling Europe's premier club competition away from Konami's rival football sim Pro-Evolution Soccer for the first time in years and adding an extra layer of atmosphere to those big European games.
The same goes for the Europa League too, and in addition to that iconic Champions League music and all the official logos and trophies there's also a brand new commentary team for European matches in the form of Derek Rae and Lee Dixon, offering a welcome break from the usual Martin Tyler / Alan Smith pairing who return in FIFA 19 for the domestic competitions. Not only that, FIFA 19 adds 16 new La Liga stadiums to the ever-expanding roster of available venues and the atmosphere inside each is pretty unique.
Another very welcome change can be found in FIFA's Kick-Off mode, which benefits from a comprehensive overhaul this year. The main addition is House Rules, which offers various gameplay modes for one-on-one matches, from schoolyard favourites such as Headers & Volleys to a new Survival mode in which one of your players is randomly ejected from the pitch every time you score.
By far the most enjoyable of these however is No Rules, which effectively takes the referee and his assistants out of the game and inevitably descends very quickly into a series of two-footed horror tackles and outrageous goal-hanging. Is it big or clever? No. But is it heaps of fun? You bet it is.
Any other new stadiums besides La Liga?
Yes indeed, fans of new Premier League additions Wolverhampton Wanderers, Cardiff City and Fulham will all get to see their beloved home grounds featured in FIFA 19, while EA has also, somewhat awkwardly, completed Tottenham Hotspur's new stadium before the club have finished building the real thing, so there's a first look inside their new home on offer here too. Atlanta's Mercedes Benz Stadium and Spartak Moscow's Otkritie Stadium are other new additions, while Borussia Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park returns after being absent last year.
What's happening with The Journey?
As EA confirmed earlier this year, FIFA 19 presents the third and final chapter in the Alex Hunter story, who is by now a fully-fledged galactico plying his trade at Real Madrid and gunning for a Champions League medal. There are also two new protagonists this year, namely Alex's younger sister Kim and a new character named Danny Williams, whose storyline features a tense rivalry with his older, more established brother Johnny, who turns out for Paris St. Germain. As for what happens next year, we'll have to wait and see.
What about the Switch version?
As with FIFA 18, there are a few differences and one or two omissions in terms of the new features added this year. Once again, The Journey is not available on the Switch version, and in terms of the on-pitch gameplay some of the new features such as the improved ball control mechanics haven't really translated to the Switch either. However, you do get to take advantage of the new shooting mechanism for more eye-catching shots, and you do get to take part in the Champions League and Europa League, including all the new new La Liga stadiums and the new commentary team. There are also some noticeable improvements in the graphics this time around on all formats, including the version on Switch.
Can I see a trailer?
Of course, take a look at the one below...
FIFA 19 is available in hmv stores and online from Friday September 28th - you can pre-order your copy here in our online store...