As avid soccer players and fans, we eagerly anticipated the release of the FIFA 20 video game on Sept. 24. With new and altered modes, FIFA 20 looked to be one of the best games in the franchise, and it doesn’t disappoint.

We decided to start with the new street soccer indoor game mode, called Volta Football, as well as try out the new Mystery Ball mode. 

Similar to the Journey, a story mode following Alex Hunter introduced in FIFA 16, Volta allows you to create your own player and rise through the rankings of the street soccer world, with the hopes of becoming the reigning champion.

The FIFA community has long asked for a game mode like Volta since the release of FIFA Street in 2012. The fast-paced game consists of fancy skill moves and exciting plays. As well as a story mode, Volta has game modes similar to the house rules.

(Clip courtesy of Miles Morrow)

Compared with the previous game, FIFA 19, FIFA 20 has better graphics and gameplay. One of the best improvements is the physics. The two enhanced features are football-informed motion and new shot trajectories. Football-informed motion gives the ball more realistic movement, especially when interacting with players, kicks and bounces. 

New shot trajectories include curling shots, dipping shots, knuckleballs and all-new rising strikes. This allows players to bring new strategies to shots, free kicks and penalties. The new shots add a fun, unpredictable element to the game, and thankfully they actually work. We were able to shoot knuckleballs and insane curves, scoring some of the best free kicks ever. However, this all takes a bit of getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, some shots are nearly impossible to stop. 

Other notable changes include better player motion, fewer glitches appearing with players on the field and improved animation. 

EA also made the AI’s defenders stronger, so when they go for the ball, they actually are able to get it and not wander off in the middle of the game. EA also made the one-on-one situation against goalkeepers a bit easier and realistic; no longer do you shoot the ball only to have it be saved by inhuman reflexes. 

These updates and tweaks made for much better gameplay overall. 

Similar to the 2019 edition, players can compete with no rules in both normal play and Volta Football. You can play Mystery Ball, so every time you get the ball, you get a certain boost to one of your statistics. Whether it is a speed boost, a dribbling boost or more shooting power and accuracy, each time the modifier changes, so does the number of goals it’s worth.  If you start the game with a speed boost, it’s worth one goal, but as you continue playing, if the ball goes out, the modifier changes, and so does the goal count, meaning if you score one goal, it could be worth up to four. Even if you are losing, you are never out of the game. 

We found Mystery Ball exciting because it always added an element of surprise. For us, it was less about the score and more about how far from the goal we could score with the shooting modifier and how fast we could run up the pitch with the speed boost, keeping us constantly engaged.

Players also can compete in a King of the Hill (KOTH)-style event, in which there are boxes that get drawn on a part of the pitch, and the longer you stay in the box with possession of the ball, the more goals your next one is worth with a maximum of three. So if you stay in the box for 15 seconds, you build up to a multiplier of three, and next time you score a goal, it will be worth three. However, spending too long outside of the zone eventually will reduce your multiplier to zero, and if you score while it’s there, the goal won’t count. 

While KOTH was fun, it doesn’t come close to the other game modes. KOTH is exciting at first and nice to have, but actually doesn’t get played much; the more we played it, the less we enjoyed it.

Overall, FIFA 20 is well done for both avid soccer players and those wanting a fun, realistic game to play. 

Ultimate Team

From new icons to season objectives, one of the most important parts of the franchise, FIFA Ultimate Team, provides new ways to keep players interested.

Players have always had a love-hate relationship with Ultimate Team. I (Miles), like most other FIFA players, focus on Ultimate Team; however, in previous games, I got bored with it very quickly. 

This has been the most exciting start to a new FIFA Ultimate Team that I have ever experienced. Normally, I bounce around different games, but since FIFA 20 came out, it’s all I’ve been playing. 

For a long time, there were few rewards in Ultimate Team, except for building your personal dream team. This year, EA incorporated milestones, a system where, as players gain experience points and level up, they rise through the tiers of the objectives, receiving better rewards the higher they go. This new aspect of the game encourages players to continue and “grind” for success.

My first impression of the milestones was that they’re similar to the battle pass in Fortnite. The big difference is that (thankfully) it doesn’t cost anything.

Another new aspect similar to the milestones is season objectives, which provide big rewards for hard work. For example, EA added objectives for a Halloween event where players must complete six to earn special “scream” cards. Completing designated objectives leads to big rewards, such as a new player to add to their team, experience points to help level up through the milestones ranks, or currency to spend in the store or to buy new players on the transfer market.

(Clip courtesy of Miles Morrow)

The recently released rewards from the season objectives are icon swap tokens, which allow players to stockpile for an “icon,” a retired player who had a big impact on their team. I’ve only gotten one token so far, and the minimum number of tokens needed is six for the lowest-rated icon. The challenges are difficult and take a lot of time to complete, which is good. It incentivizes players while preventing everyone from having access to powerful icons like Pelé.

Interestingly, this is the most fun I’ve had with FIFA. In previous years, I never had built a good team, I never won, and I never had any coins to purchase anything. However, this year due to the changes, I have a winning record, a solid team and lots of coins.

With great gameplay and more objectives than ever, FIFA figures to have a great year.

By Arjin Claire and Miles Morrow

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