- System: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch
- Developer: EA Vancouver
- Publisher: EA Sports
- Release Date: September 28, 2018
- Pricing: $59.99 (Standard Edition)
- Rating: E
- Genre: Sports
- Players: 1-4
- Official Website: https://www.easports.com/fifa
FIFA 19 | Champions Rise | Official Launch Trailer
Who it Caters to
Like every other FIFA game of this decade, FIFA 19 clearly focuses on FIFA Ultimate Team, the most popular game mode of them all. If you like competing against other players to see who can build the top squad, be it by winning tons of matches or by spending real money to buy dozens of packs, then you'll sooner or later experience first hand every new feature of the game. If you don't want to deal with potential pay2win or you don't consider yourself good enough to enter the FUT scene, then you still have plenty of things to do... although some things are still the same as previous years, only with another color palette.
If you don't like football, then this game clearly isn't for you.
What to Expect
What really shines in FIFA 19 is Ultimate Team, now with a lot of changes. Squad Battles is still there, but now there's also Division Rivals, an online mode that not only gives you sweet weekly rewards but also lets you earn points to qualify to the Weekend League, also known as FUT Champions. If you used to struggle with Daily Knockout Tournaments, now it's easier for you since all you need is to grind 2000 points. Once qualified you can play the Weekend League whenever it suits you better, knowing that monthly rewards are now weekly rewards, and 40-matches marathons are now only 30-matches marathons.
Whatever the case, you can also expect a big shout out to the UEFA Champions League now that FIFA has the official license. You can either pick a team from the current roster or organize your own Champions League to play offline, and still look forward to the brand new CL cards in FUT!
This year we also have new animations to make the gameplay smoother and more accurate, from skill moves to goalkeepers' reactions, something very much needed and always appreciated. However, some other animations still look stiff and unpolished, especially regarding facial expressions.
FIFA 19 menus look beautiful and clean too, and another thing that definitely catches the eye is the UEFA Champions League introduction, a very colorful presentation that plays next to the catchy anthem. The same level of affection went to The Journey, an interactive movie full of awkward, cheesy and cringeworthy moments, but also with a lot of well-crafted scenes.
When it comes to The Journey, the soundtrack takes a dramatic tone thanks to the famous composer Hans Zimmer, and that's when you know FIFA 19 is not joking. How many other games score an Academy Award winner for a secondary game mode?
In-game, there's the addition of a few more chants that make things more immersive during a match, but the regular matches commentary and sound effects are mostly the same. While Alan Smith and Martin Tyler are still on the game, the UEFA Champions League features Derek Rae and former Arsenal player Lee Dixon. Speaking of the most important clubs competition of the world, is there anything that pumps you up more than the UEFA Champions League Anthem?!
Die Meister! Die Besten! Les Grandes Équipes! The Champions!
The first thing you'll see is the revamped Kick-Off mode, now with better statistics regarding your friendly matches and a lot of new possibilities. Rather than sticking to the rules we all know and love, you can also play games where every goal from outside the box counts as 2, or games where you can only score from a volley or a header. In fact, you can also play with friends who don't even know how to play! Just go to "No Rules" and so whatever it takes to take the ball from your opponent and score. If you like regular matches, you can go straight to playing a cup final or simulate the whole UEFA Champions League.
The other recommended mode is obviously The Journey, with Alex Hunter now playing for the world famous Real Madrid while his sister Kim tries her luck in the Women's World Cup and his friend Danny becomes his rival in the UEFA Champions League. There's plenty of drama from the very moment you launch the first game, an epic recreation of Jim Hunter's 100th career goal back in the 60's. This retro style is a nice feat that we wish could last a little longer, giving us the opportunity to play in a muddy pitch, with classic ad-less kits. Gameplay-wise, the predictable story of The Journey becomes more interesting thanks to its 3 main characters, alternating some football games with training mini-games, cutscenes, and cliffhangers.
In terms of cards, there are new prices for special Player Pick Packs, where you get to choose 1 player from 5 random options between a certain range, kind of like a FUT Draft. There are also new shiny and beautiful blue cards for the UEFA Champions League, which you can win thanks to Squad Building Challenges or as weekly rewards, and will give you a nice +1 to every stat. But none of those additions affect the gameplay as much as FIFA 19's most important changes: the significant nerf to players' pace, and the new Timed Finishing mechanics.
FIFA 17 and FIFA 18 felt like a running simulator, and games were frequently won by the one with the fastest players. Now FIFA 19 changed that by making almost every player a tad slower, giving more importance to other stats but also repricing some abandoned cracks like Toni Kroos. On top of that, now every defender is able to catch up against fastest attackers like Aubameyang or Mbappé given the proper context.
Another nerfed thing is the formerly abused low-driven shot, a mechanic that not only is nowhere near as effective than before but now has a slightly more difficult button combination. To compensate that we have Timed Finishing, an incredibly useful new mechanic that's literally a hit or miss for the community. If you have this activated, every time you hit the ball you'll see a bar above the player's head, with 3 things that could happen: if you tap the shooting button again and when the time is right, your shot will be more accurate and powerful; if you tap the shooting button way too early you'll humiliate yourself and miss the target; if you don't do anything, you'll shoot normally and that's it.
Timed Finishing is great for crosses, corner kicks and long-range shots (if you have enough space), but abusing it will make you miss most of your chances since you need perfect timing —and anxiety is your worst enemy. Granted you can turn it off and call it a day, but believe us that mastering this is a must for every aspiring Elite/Gold player.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Since FUT Champions hasn't even started yet, there's always the chance for a patch that changes a few things in regards to gameplay mechanics, but we're confident that it won't break the game... just because EA wouldn't fall twice on the same stone as FIFA 18, right? All we know is that FIFA 19 further stretches the gap between FIFA and PES, and it's only getting started.
- The UEFA Champions League license is a huge addition.
- Division Rivals perfectly complements FUT Champions.
- Is great to finally see La Liga Santander with its real stadiums and most of its players’ faces.
- New Kick-Off modes!
- The gameplay feels much more realistic and less pace-dependent.
- The new Timed Finishing is awesome, but not everyone can get used to it.
- Pro Clubs and Career Mode see no improvements at all.
- Playing with Buenos Aires (Boca Juniors) or Brazil’s fake players feels odd.
- The new Kick-Off modes shouldn’t be offline exclusives.
- How about licensing the Copa Conmebol Libertadores too?
Honey's Final Verdict:
If you like to compete online you should get FIFA 19 for PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, but you can also have a blast playing it on PC. If you don’t care about graphics or lack of online players, you can also grab the Nintendo Switch version and take it on the go!