Times Digital Download – FIFA 20

Story: Gautam Viswanathan

What makes FIFA 20 a game you’d want to buy? To ask yourself that question is rather fair. You don’t, after all, want to be spending a lot of money on a game when it does not meet your needs, when it does not slake your thirst for gaming.

Truth be told, I had my own reservations when it came to forking out cash for this game. My birthday was just a few days ago, and I wanted this game in the form of a gift…from me to me. But the initial reviews weren’t too promising: FIFA had chosen to focus its effort on its money-spinning, profit-earning Ultimate Team section of the game…not an area that I am particularly fond of, despite the overwhelming popularity it commands.

A new addition to the game was the reintroduction of FIFA Street in a new avatar: rechristened FIFA Volta and given a facelift, this version of the game brought to modern-day gamers the five, six and seven-a-side versions of games that served as really neat additions to console gamers in the past…the PC was unfortunate enough to not have them, but all that has changed.

FUT stays, Volta – which pays homage to street football, a form of the sport that so many of us have played, and was initially our route to falling in love with the beautiful game, as was it where so many footballers of legend sharpened their skills, has come to FIFA 20, but the biggest change in this game was one that almost did not take place at all.

While many like FUT and several will fall in love with Volta, what attracts gamers like me and several others is the Career Mode, that good old section of the game that made sure we developed a fondness for it, and looked forward to playing FIFA every day. However, those who played Career Mode, which is nowhere near as lucrative as FUT, were concerned that it had gotten stale.

The magic of career mode is that you could achieve things with a team that, given the reality of the world we live in, could simply never happen. One of my favourite things to do in FIFA, is take a team up from the lowest depths of a country’s league setup, take them to the summit of European glory, and keep them there, establishing a dynasty that you can’t help but feel pretty darned proud of when the final whistle is blown on your (imaginary) career.

For a long time, my league of choice would be League Two, the lower-most of the four English leagues offered to gamers. I have, in the past, taken charge of teams such as Luton Town and Blackpool, but with the German third division, the 3.Liga, being introduced in FIFA 19, and of course, now, FIFA 20, that’s my league of choice, primarily because it gives me a welcome break from English football, and has provided me insights into football in the Fatherland that I didn’t know previously existed.

That’s the beauty of Career Mode. Yes, you may not always get to win trophies at the end of each season, but it’s the sheer exposure to the depth of football, the number of players you have access to, that feeling you get when you’ve struck a great bargain, one which – once again – would’ve never been possible in the real world – and discovering the hidden talent in so many of them you hadn’t even previously heard of, therefore greatly expanding your knowledge of football, that makes Career Mode fun. Or, at least, it was for me.

For a while, Career Mode gamers wondered whether game developers EA Sports would ever listen to their concerns. As it turns out, not only did they actually listen to their concerns, they actually gave the fans more of a say, opening up a poll for them to choose which teams they wanted added to the sport. In the end, the Romanian League was introduced to FIFA 20, and following this poll, Al Ain FC, arguably the most successful team in the United Arab Emirates, was brought into the game.

That’s not the only change. Career Mode is now more dynamic. Its static nature being one of the principal complaints from gamers who’d gotten bored of its repetitive cycle of just playing match after match with no unexpected incidents to affect the game, managers can now attend pre and post-match press conferences, but will need to choose their answers carefully.

An answer given in arrogance, anger or frustration might actually worsen your team morale, leading to a squad that isn’t mentally prepared for the next game. Morale plays a pretty big role in FIFA 20. Listening to your players and keeping them happy will make sure they’re upbeat, while giving them stick and leaving them on the bench – no player wants to be on the bench, unless they’ve actually asked you to allow them to sit out a game – will see their mood become sour.

For the first time in the game, players can also choose between male and female managers, and both options come with a number of customisable features. The changes you can make to them are oddly formal – a t-shirt is one of the few exceptions – but don’t expect to give Mr or Miss Manager tattoos, piercings and spiky hair just yet. Maybe those options will be made available in the future.

The graphics for the series are just as stellar as they’ve been in the past, and if the above aren’t reasons enough to buy it, then there is the fact that FIFA 20 shows us one thing: the ability of a giant gaming corporation like EA to listen, and actually give the fans what they want. While that may not compel you to buy it, it’s at least a reason to give this game a chance – [email protected]