Review: Why is FIFA 17 worth a 9 out of 10?
FIFA games, much like any annual franchise, are generally quite difficult to review as there is rarely much actual change occurring in the game outside of cosmetic improvements, slightly altered in-game mechanics and, of course, a roster update.
FIFA 17 (PS4/Xbox One/PC): 9/10
Thankfully, FIFA 17 has just made my job a whole lot easier, with a wealth of major additions and improvements.
Boasting a brand new engine, a major (and long-awaited) new game mode and many small but necessary improvements across the board, FIFA 17 is a statement of intent in a market where its claim to the football-sim throne is being seriously questioned.
Gameplay has moved on considerably from the somewhat loose and unresponsive feel of last year. Players feel much more in control now, responding to your commands that split second quicker than in the previous instalment. Overall, I am pleased with the steps EA have taken to remedy the gameplay concerns many raised over the previous FIFA.
The changes to set pieces I welcome with open arms. Both free kicks and corners now feature a cursor that you can place on the pitch to approximately show where the ball will be delivered, with the square button deciding the arc of delivery, as opposed to the actual power of the strike. Penalties have also been completely overhauled, with the left analog stick controlling the run-up and the right stick controlling the height and angle of the shot.
The biggest benefactor of the new Frostbite engine (did I mention that this is the best looking football game ever made? Because it is) is undoubtably The Journey, the newest addition to FIFA's roster of game modes. The Journey's nuts and bolts are fairly simple - a narrative unlocked bit by bit by completing different challenges in-match, in conversations and on the training ground.
The dialogue options are limited - you can basically choose to be a twerp and get more Twitter followers (which equals cash) or be nice and get picked more often by the manager. While it may be a little on the barebones side at the moment, The Journey is a genuinely thoughtful and sometimes outright funny story that is so good you will wonder why we've never had anything like it before in a football game. Truly FIFA 17 feels like a game designed by fans, for fans.
While FIFA 17 doesn't have the sharp, simulation mechanics of its biggest competitor, it certainly outstrips it in overall polish and general enjoyment. It isn't perfect, but it is bold and fun, which makes FIFA 17 a step in the right direction for EA Sports, and a definite recommendation from me.