Basically, EA Sports activities FC 24 isn't a brand new franchise.
It’s constructed on the bones of what would have been FIFA 24, in order a lot because it’s billed as a brand new period for EA Sports activities soccer, like each yearly replace it’s an iterative step with a couple of showpiece options.
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Nevertheless, with that stated, the brand new Playstyles mechanic is likely one of the freshly badged collection’ most seen and thrilling additions in a very long time – whereas additionally pushing the pendulum additional away from stoic simulation and into the blockbuster realm of sports activities leisure.
In that means, EAFC 24 mirrors a number of the traits we see in actual life soccer. It’s completely plastered with adverts – for Marvel, for Nike, for Instagram – in a hauntingly subliminal means, all flashing background photographs and surreptitious logos that sear themselves into your eyelids. It jogs my memory of the fruit machine zone in a motorway service station.
Then there’s the long-running, unanswered query of “micro”-transation factors, serotonin-spiking random packs and the wealth of pro-player and creator-led content material which normalises spending huge portions of cash to open packs, only for the sake of opening them.
EA Sports activities has additionally mastered the drip feed of every day targets and seasonal targets to maximise the quantity of FOMO you are feeling for taking a time off. Combine that with an intense and thrilling gameplay loop which, when pitched on the proper problem, has a lizard brain-tickling aggressive edge that asks you to play yet another recreation about as politely as Jose Mourninho asks for an opposition participant to be booked on the touchline. The tip result's a soccer recreation that has the potential to be endlessly engrossing and all-consuming.
Do not be a martyr – sorry, Marta. | Picture credit score: EA Sports activities
Mechanically, fresh-out-of-the-box EAFC 24 feels very centered on momentum, with a a lot better emphasis on what a participant’s physique is doing independently of the ball. That is possible all the way down to the revamped Hypermotion V tech the place EA used cameras positioned across the pitch of Champions League video games to seize the sphere as a digital area and grabbed animations from the real-life actions. It’s spectacular and, mixed with a restricted visible refresh (the place gamers who don’t have a correct face-scan appear to look higher normally,) pushes the entire expertise away from feeling samey to only a bit related.
There’s an fascinating metagame within the steadiness between huge, quick, and powerful gamers who can cowl floor extraordinarily rapidly and bully everybody off the ball and technical dribblers who've an extremely tight contact to weasel their means via site visitors like by no means earlier than. This performs into the continued introduction of skill-gap primarily based mechanics, with “precision passes” and “managed dash” becoming a member of timed ending, energy pictures and technical left-stick dribbling. EAFC 24 is continually smashing collectively one-on-one battles and difficult you to make use of one of many methods in your arsenal to snake your via the scrum of athletic our bodies between you and the objective.
Then there’s the Playstyes. These are a collection of primarily footballing superpowers which intention to provide gamers extra persona, even after they’ve obtained related stats. The Energy Shot playstyle permits you to rip off complete howitzers. Fast Step lets your tempo retailers add insult to damage by rocketing away from slowpokes even quicker. And Anticipation lets defenders hold maintain of the ball after a deal with with out it pinging again out to the opposition.
No man's Haaland. | Picture credit score: EA Sports activities
Like FIFA, the EAFC 24 meta received’t be the identical on the finish of its yearly life cycle as initially, and the way staid EA are with giving gamers these bonuses throughout Final Group particular occasions can have a giant position to play in that. However I've some inklings that changes might need to be made. Quick and agile gamers with acceleration playstyles are so explosive that they may simply be capable of roadrunner round all the things. Energy pictures, alternatively, would possibly journey so quick which you can simply wallop them in from anyplace each time you'll be able to carve out an inch.
All collectively it’s a cacophony of data to soak in, digest and react to moment-to-moment. An actual adrenaline rush.
On the Profession Mode entrance, EAFC 24 clears the low bar of performance to be higher than FIFA 23 (I’ve written earlier than about how the participant efficiency rankings have been damaged for me throughout a number of saves to the purpose the place enjoying correctly was inconceivable). However to guage it by itself deserves, I’ve discovered the expertise as compelling because the soccer all over the place else up to now.
It’s nonetheless not as reactive because it could possibly be, or can be in a dream-game state of affairs, so incongruous and repetitive questions imply you’re skipping via press conferences earlier than lengthy, however not the entire background components really feel completely ancillary.
Prolonged, managed, or explosive – like an excellent bowel motion. | Picture credit score: EA Sports activities
Quite than being one other display to simulate via, coaching drills earlier than a match now give chosen gamers a brief Playstyle to utilise within the subsequent recreation. This mixed with barely deeper membership constructing, the place you select a training philosophy like Tiki-taka or Gegenpressing then rent workers to show it to your gamers for a stat enhance, add to your managerial to-do checklist and break up the Profession Mode loop that’s been nearly an identical for some time.
EAFC 24 would possibly go about attaining its targets in a barely totally different strategy to the FIFA collection, but it surely lands on the identical finish outcome. The identical tempting sticker e-book collect-a-thon and absorbing gameplay carousel makes EAFC 24 a digital footballing platform that calls for your consideration and is troublesome to place down. Emulating the signature strikes of your sporting heroes with box-office Playstyles is a spotlight, however there'll all the time be questions on whether or not the mechanic can stand as much as the check of thousands and thousands of gamers probing for overpowered exploits.
Evaluation-in-progress be aware: We’re leaving this as a review-in-progress for now till we’ve had an opportunity to play Final Group towards a greater pattern of actual gamers. We’ll put a correct rating on EAFC 24 shortly!