As has become the norm here at Midlife Gamer when EA hit us with a new FIFA title, there’s a large amount of the community that dips on it straight away, but for those of you who still aren’t sure of its title credentials, Simon Stevens, Derek Mc Roberts and Toby James have given their opinions on what EA has done right, and wrong with this Seasons Game.
How Many FIFA Titles have you owned and on which Platform are you Currently Playing?
SS – Every other title since about FIFA 97 to FIFA 2014 and then every year since, I used to love when you played at a slight diagonal angle and if you ran away from the ref long enough you could get away with not being booked. Currently playing on the PlayStation 4 as I’m not overly fussed about Ultimate Team and Legends as well as being able to stream it to the PC when the wife is watching TV.
DM -My history with FIFA goes all the way back to FIFA 97 on the Mega drive, but I lapsed for a decade from the 2000’s and the superlative ISS/Pro evo on the PlayStation 2. I recently got back into FIFA from FIFA 14 onwards, and I currently play on the Xbox One.
TJ – I’ve owned every FIFA since the original on the Sega Mega Drive, viva la Brian Plank! I currently play on the PS4.
How Do You Feel FIFA 17 has progressed from its predecessor?
SS – When I used to buy the game every other year I used to be able to see a difference between the iterations. Buying it every year however you lose that impact. Yes, it progresses year on year for example this year on the set pieces, the training and the single player story but is it really enough to make it a yearly purchase? I don’t know
DM – Considering FIFA 95’s big draw was it included the offside rule, leaps and bounds. I could only dream of the wealth of options available today when I was a teenager playing 95 on my PlayStation 1.
TJ – The biggest changes between 16 & 17 for me are the changes to penalties, free kicks & also the way physical encounters are handled, all seem like big improvements to me
How do you feel the use of the Frostbite engine has improved FIFA 17? Do you notice the differences immediately compared to FIFA 16?
SS – There are little things, everything feels a lot smoother but this is their first year with the engine and I would expect more ground breaking steps to be taken next year.
DM – Improvement is a strong word to be honest. I don’t feel that graphics have as much impact on the game as the mechanics, but the graphical fidelity of the characters’ models, specifically in the Journey. Character models are well defined, and although close representations, it isn’t quite “uncanny valley” yet.
TJ – I’ve found it makes the most difference in the way the game behaves, miskicks, ball behaviours etc., and some of the graphics are bang on… others are silly!
Which game modes do you play the most of in FIFA 17?
SS – A couple of years ago I sunk all of my time into Ultimate team. I loved this mode, a cross between a deck building game, a panini sticker album and FIFA. What was there not to love? I’ll tell you what. You know those YouTube videos where the excitable streamer opens a pack to find 2 team of the week players, a gold Ronaldo and 5 other world class players? Yeah well I am the opposite of that, in all the time I played it I never once got recognisable name rare gold let alone a team of the week/month/season card.
I decided from then on I was only going to do what I did when I was at school and uni – focus on the career mode and that’s what I tend to do. The thing is when I was at school and Uni I had a shit ton more time and nowadays just focusing on the career and playing all games means I only complete about a season and a half, 2 seasons if I am lucky. I liked The Journey, but I would have preferred the option to put my guy into the my career mode rather than ultimate team.
DM – Not a huge fan of the Journey if I’m honest, although I have been enduring it for the sake of the experience. Typically, I will play coop online, pro club or create my avatar and play through the professional campaign mode.
TJ – I’ve done ‘The Journey’; MEH! I play a lot of Ultimate team and a lot of career mode, making transfers I can only dream my club could and would pull off
Do you play FIFA 17 online, if so, in which game modes, how do you find the experience?
SS – I tend not to as I tend to always get paired up with rage quitters who don’t like going 1 nil down let alone 2 or 3.
DM – As above, typically I play co-op or Pro club with a group. I still find the skill level balancing is a bit off, and it’s far too easy to game the Pro club mode, and you can find yourself facing players that are far better than you on a regular occasion in the lower leagues.
TJ – I Used to play online a lot with friends and also with the MLG Pro Club, but recently I’ve hardly found the time, and my Ultimate team isn’t Ultimate enough yet
Do you play FIFA Ultimate Team? How have you found the changes made to Pack Dynamics and the Squad Building challenges?
DM – Funnily enough, this mode has never really grabbed me.
TJ – The Squad building challenges have been a good distraction, but as with everything, people see it as a Quick way to boost their coins, or just snooker other people by making commodities overpriced, the shylocks!
Corners and Penalties have both had an overhaul on FIFA 17, do the changes feel like a good thing from what you’ve played so far?
SS – I am loving this, corners and free kicks were very much a hit and hope in previous years but now I tend to have more success with all set pieces in knowing where exactly I am putting the ball – simple but great change
DM – Loving it. Corners and crossing was always my thing, but I always had issues with penalties in previous iterations. The new target reticule for corners makes slipping in accurate low balls or searching long crosses a breeze to pull off. Penalties new aiming reticule has finally given me the opportunity to actually score some penalties as it makes it far more intuitive. Previously, with little repetition of penalty shoot outs, it was easy to forget exactly how to pull off a decent shot.
TJ – Loving the corners, the penalties less so, but it’s still a welcome change up. I find the penalties a little too ‘quick’ but I’m sure that’s the point! Corners, being able to pop the ball into space for a marauding centre back to head home is lush
What has FIFA 17 done that has impressed you, and where do improvements still need to be made?
SS – The changes to set pieces is huge for me and I now feel I can get some use out of them whereas before I knew I wouldn’t. This is key when you are playing a team far better than yourself and your only chances may be a couple of free kicks. Improvements? The journey. As good as it was, 1 year? Really? I signed for a smaller premiership club initially to get experience thinking that I would get a summer transfer the next summer to a bigger club only for the story to end. The mode could easily replace my career if it was done correctly and last 10-15 years
DM – Passing. My god the passing. Fluid just does not do it justice. Even just going back to 16, passing to the correct man was sometimes a hit and miss situation, but the new fluid passing system lets you freely aim a ball into space rather than directing it at a player. The amount of goals I’ve scored from freeing up a run due to the free ball mechanics is phenomenal. Definitely makes the gameplay feel more dynamic and responsive.
TJ – Movement, AI intelligence, new ways to build ultimate teams, a sense of realism about match play, I’m pretty impressed
What would you rate FIFA 17 out of 10? Would you recommend it to people still unsure of purchasing it?
SS – 7 out of 10, still the leader in football games but doesn’t really do enough to warrant a yearly purchase. Laziness or lack of competition is certainly hindering FIFA year on year. Maybe it needs to lose its crown next year in order to come back better than ever
DM – 17 is a quality iteration this year, and I feel that the new The Journey mode is actually the low point. I would say it’s a relatively easy 9/10, as I’ve seen very few bugs thus far, but obviously there are still screams of bullshit at some of the stuff the AI pulls off, not the mention the weird contortions some of the character models pull off.
TJ – It’s an 8 from me. If you’re on the fence and you’re a footy fan, trust me, give it a whack. You’ll enjoy it a lot!