FIFA is seen by millions as THE football game to go to these days. With their wealth of licensing and authenticity right up there, not to mention the ever growing FIFA Ultimate Team, FIFA is as strong as it has ever been commercially. However, my love for FIFA has wavered a lot the last few years, but the new Frostbite Engine welcomes change. Personally EA have to get it right in order to bring me back into the series.
Let me start from going into a little bit regarding my background with FIFA. The first FIFA I ever played was FIFA 96, my brother purchased it me and I was hooked. Year, after year, after year…. I’d have the next iteration of FIFA on either the day of release or pretty much soon after. It was a series I would not put down, and when PES had its radical decline in the PlayStation 3 days, there was no other football game that could give me that buzz of playing the sport I love in the virtual world like FIFA.
For me, the pinnacle for FIFA was around FIFA 08 – 10. That was when FIFA shined the brightest, the gameplay was as solid as it ever has been and sales for the franchise were getting better and better, mainly due to the genius Ultimate Team mode. I used the word genius in such a way because I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan. I can see why millions love it today, but for me, there is no excitement in spending £££ just to get Ronaldo or Messi into your Ultimate Team. Why not just play as Real Madrid or Barcelona in a normal seasons match? Yep, I’m probably opening myself up to a world of hate with those last few sentences, but it is genuinely how I feel about the mode.
Anyway, back onto the main topic of discussion. FIFA 08 for me, was and still is my favourite FIFA ever, but for me, there is something very wrong with me saying that. FIFA 08 was 9 years ago. In my view, FIFA has rarely made any significant jumps in the last 4 or 5 years. The Ignite Engine was brought in around FIFA 14, which from the outside looked great. I was there watching the initial reveal trailer thinking great, this is exactly what the series needs. A new engine, new direction. However, what I got in September time flattened any optimism I had.
For the 3 FIFA titles that the Ignite Engine, there hasn’t been much progress made in terms of gameplay. Sure, the game ‘looks’ better each year and for some that may be enough, but for personally, gameplay is what is key in a football game, or any sports game for that matter. I think EA SPORTS may have thought the exact same thing as the engine was replaced with the popular Frostbite Engine. This Frostbite Engine isn’t a new entity, as it has been used in games such as Battlefield 4 and Star Wars: Battlefront.
When the Frostbite Engine was announced, I was very excited once again. I thought the Frostbite Engine would once again take the FIFA series by storm. However, yet again I was left disappointed. Sure, the Frostbite Engine ensured that FIFA 17 is the best looking football game we have ever seen, but that is to be expected. Gameplay wise, it is still very, very similar of what the Ignite Engine has presented us with in the last 3 years. So unlike PES, who have been progressing at a steady rate gameplay wise the last 4 years, FIFA has been very much the same.
I do fully expect EA SPORTS to continue to develop the Frostbite Engine for FIFA going forwards, but they have to do so at a fast rate to warm up the somewhat frosty (my personal opinion) series. FIFA has been lying on past success for too long now but the Frost Engine has to be EA SPORTS’ own determination to kickstart the series once more.
I truly hope FIFA 18 can fully enhance the Frostbite Engine, changing the gameplay for the better, in tun giving us all a fresh FIFA experience that we can all embrace. There is no room for failure as Konami step up their game more and more each year. Can FIFA embrace and deliver the game we all want next year with this adapted engine? We’ll find out in a few months time when EA SPORTS lift the lid on FIFA 18.
Do you agree with my thoughts on the FIFA series? What gameplay improvements specifically do you want made by the development team? Give us your thoughts in the comment section below, whilst also making sure you read John Betts’ personal FIFA 17 review here.