FIFA 20 Review: VOLTA Football Invigorates the Series

EA Sports’ FIFA franchise began in 1993 with its debut installment, FIFA International Soccer. While still commonly regarded as one of the best sports game franchises, FIFA has simply lacked excitement for a few years, leaving players begging for a fresh experience.

With new and improved gameplay mechanics, a more detailed career mode, new FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) seasons objectives and the introduction of VOLTA Football, FIFA 20 aims to truly separate itself from recent series installments.

But is FIFA 20 a standout in a series that’s been around for nearly three decades, or is it just another FIFA?

FIFA 20 REVIEW

GAMEPLAY

Similar to Madden 20 and NHL 20, FIFA 20 has broadened the spectrum for speed in the game. Unlike FIFA 19, a player’s pace will matter again in FIFA 20: away from the ball, dribbling the ball (with or without nearby defenders), breaks and basically any other instance in which players are in motion.

Another welcomed addition is strafe dribbling. By holding the LB/L1 button, you can better utilize a player’s small area quickness and dribbling skill. Pressing RB/R1 and flicking the right stick now allows you to perform a “set-up touch” to flick the ball into space and set up an open shot attempt.

While the new strafe dribbling and set-up touch mechanics can be used together to create spectacular goals, the speed at which the moves actually happen may be too slow to be used in higher levels of competitive online play.

Tackles are completely overhauled in FIFA 20, and you will now be rewarded more for clean and well-timed tackles. Not only is tackling improved, defensive AI is boosted as well. Defenders not controlled by the user will now intercept and break up long passes, through balls and crosses much better than in previous years. One major issue with gameplay is the way the players and the ball work together. While players do utilize their physical and skill abilities better, the ball simply doesn’t move as fast as it needs to.

Lastly, set pieces and penalty kicks have been reworked. It is simply much more skill-based to score from a set piece or PK, but you’ve never had more control over your shot before FIFA 20.

VOLTA FOOTBALL

FIFA 20’s biggest addition is the all-new VOLTA Football. Essentially a cross between FIFA Street games of old and Journey mode, VOLTA breathes life into the FIFA series, something that’s been badly needed for a number of years.

VOLTA loads into its own sector of the game. It is immersive enough to have been a separate release, and the fact it was entirely included for the initial launch of FIFA 20 is a huge plus.

Essentially a cross between FIFA Street games of old and Journey mode, VOLTA breathes life into the FIFA series, something that’s been badly needed for a number of years.

There are a variety of ways to play VOLTA, both offline and online. Tour, League (online) and Story modes are all a type of campaign mode. In addition, you can play VOLTA via 3v3 Rush (no goalkeepers), 4v44v4 Rush5v5 and Professional Futsal modes.

VOLTA’s Story and Tour modes are entirely against the CPU. Story mode begins with you creating a character that will go on a journey from random pickup footballer to street football world champion. Tour mode will take you all across the globe, as you’ll travel to some of the world’s most storied football cities and countries. Both of these modes offer interesting cut scenes, but they can all be skipped.

OTHER GAME MODES

With VOLTA eliminating the unsuccessful Journey mode, FIFA 20 doesn’t offer any other new modes. That being said, there is plenty to do and an vast array of ways to stay interested if you’re playing the game. From online seasons to career mode to Ultimate Team, there’s something for every type of gamer.

Of the repeat modes from previous years, career mode has the most improvements in FIFA 20. According to EA, “A range of new innovations brings a whole new, immersive experience to Career Mode this year.”

You now have more customization options for your manager, including the ability to create a female manager for the first time ever. Managers also now have press conferences before and after matches, as well as text conversation interactions with players. Players’ morale will be affected by a slew of factors on and off the pitch.

BETWEEN ALL THE DIFFERENT modes in FIFA 20, Mystery Ball is by far the most fun.

House Rules added two new modes this year, King of the Hill and Mystery Ball. King of the Hill is a game of possession only, limiting the enjoyment anyone could possibly have with it. Mystery Ball is quite interesting — any time the ball goes out of play, it returns as a boosted ball. The ‘mystery’ is which of the 5 boosts it has: shooting, passing, dribbling, or All boost. Games are short, which is key for any mode. Between all the different modes in FIFA 20, Mystery Ball is by far the most fun.

GRAPHICS & PRESENTATION

Graphics have been a huge asset to the FIFA series, especially during the current console generation. The game looks incredible, from the player models to stadiums and fans. Menus, pause menus, the scoreboard and all other banners look the same as previous installments. Martin Tyler and Alan Smith are again the primary commentators for the English version of the game. There is a slightly improved feel to pre-game presentation, as it truly feels like you’re watching a match on television.

Image result for fifa 20 screenshots

VERDICT

If you don’t purchase the new FIFA every single year, the game may feel the same to you for the last several years. Hardcore FIFA gamers know, however, that this is hardly the case. The truth is simply that FIFA’s gameplay has been good for a long time. It doesn’t have the glaring issues that other sports games have. That being said, there is always room for improvement, and FIFA 20 certainly improves in some areas.

FIFA 20 aimed to better emphasize 1-on-1 interactions and give players better control, both on offense and defense. To me, EA delivered on that, but the new offensive mechanics are hampered by the speed at which they can be performed.

VOLTA is exactly the type of innovation the FIFA series has been clamoring for since the Xbox One/PS4 era began. The mode is fast-to-fun, unlike Journey in FIFA 19. It should appease the folks who’ve been begging for a FIFA Street reboot for years, and should also keep casual players interested in the game longer.

FIFA 20 does enough to improve FIFA’s overall outlook and bring some players back who were driven away by boredom, but it would be unjustified to call it one of the series’ very best installments.


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  • 7/10
    Gameplay - 7/10
  • 8/10
    Game Modes - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Presentation - 8/10
  • 7/10
    Longevity - 7/10
Overall
7.5/10

Summary

FIFA 20 does enough to improve FIFA’s overall outlook and bring some players back who were driven away by boredom, but it would be unjustified to call it one of the series’ very best installments.