Parent’s Guide – FIFA 20

Thanks to the folks at EA I’ve been spending some time over the last week or two with the latest installment in the long running FIFA franchise. You may have already seen the review video over on YouTube or Facebook, but keep reading here for an extended look at what makes this years entry tick

The biggest challenge with any sports sim, whether it’s from EA, 2K or any of the myriad other studios is to keep things fresh, and there have been some changes in FIFA 20 this year, as long as you are not playing on the Switch. Sadly while other platforms have seen improvements in a few areas, the Switch version does not implement any of the heavy hitters, and looks to essentially updates squads and kits. I can’t stress enough how much of an impact that this has on the final ratings, which is why during the run down you’ll see a separate rating for the Switch, which is worth paying attention to for owners of Nintendo’s little portable which could.

On other platforms, however, I have to say that the addition of volta football is great, and is one of the things I was really looking forward to this year. With a decent storyline available for it as well as different pitches and modes within it, it’s been quite the journey, even if it has had a few bugs here and there. I’ve spent a few matches during tournaments seemingly playing against my own team, and sadly the lack of variation with character models means that you’ll definitely spot some familiar faces in the other teams.

Cosmetic items in Volta Football are available in waves, for a limited time

Volta does seem to be about style, there are a number of cosmetic changes you can choose here to customize your entire team. This works using Volta coins which are earned in game, and are also unlocked by attaining milestones and certain goles (HA! AGAIN!) within the Volta league and games.

Career mode has had some improvements with managerial customization, press conferences and morale factors, but was marred at launchby some pretty heavyweight issues which really hamper gameplay and immersion. I’m happy to say most of that has been worked on and is now working well, which is good for those picking up the game a little after launch. It’s important not to move goalposts (HA!) too far with balancing, which has been an issue with FIFA titles in the past, and hopefully we should find that things settle down pretty quickly.

Ultimate Team isn’t something that I partake in too much, as I am not a fan of lootboxes implemented in this way, but there have been changes here with new friendlies, new rules and new superstars as well as squad management and building changes. Club customization has also been a welcome change with kits, crests and stadium modifications to really make the club your own.

Even though it’s not really my favourite part of the game, I have spent a decent amount of time within Ultimate Teams, and using the Gold Packs which came with my version of the game (I was lucky enough to recieve the middle ground pack which comes with some items to kickstart your FUT adventure) I’ve been able to build a decent squad. All in all though, as with all previous years, this mode really does seem weighted towards microtransactions, and those paying real cash will defeinitely get the advantage over those unlocking in game.

The number of modes within Fifa seems to increase every year, leading to a fairly cluttered home screen

From a parent’s point of view, FIFA 20 is officially rated by PEGI at 3 and by the ESRB as E for everybody. While this is a pretty low rating I would stress that this still does contain some pretty heavy gambling influences with the Ultimate Team packs and parents should keep an eye on purchase restrictions for those who are easily influenced.

The Run Down

Visuals – Fair: Again not quite as impressed as previous years. The different shouts between regular play and the Volta matches are welcome, but there can be a lot of repetition with commentary

Audio – Fair: Again not quite as impressed as previous years. The different shouts between regular play and the Volta matches are welcome, but there can be a lot of repetition with commentary

Narrative – Good: The story within Career and Volta football has actually been pretty good this year again, and I’ve enjoyed the continued focus on providing this. It’s still fairly new to the annual titles to have any story at all so gets full marks from me

Replay – Good. As expected the fairly huge number of different modes for both on and offline play will have enough to keep you busy here If you’re a football fan

Overall the Pixel Bandits Verdict for FIFA 20 is Above Average. There have been issues with the title, and as much as I am mostly happy with it, I can’t say it’s one you should 100% definitely grab. However the overall the alterations made on most platforms do make it worth picking up, especially if you’re playing online as others will likely be making the migration too.

It must be said though that if you’re playing on Nintendo Switch, I’ve really got no option other than Give it a Miss. The lack of new functionality means you’re definitely better off sticking with Fifa 19, and waiting for it to drop down in price.