From great success through to the occasional blunder, Electronic Arts’ iterative annual sports title, FIFA, has enamoured millions of players the world over, time and again. It would come as a shock then, when the worldly franchise and its brand would eventually split off from the studio that, quite literally, successfully converted millions of players to its cause [let alone make billions in revenue in the process]. Shock and awe rippled through the sports simulation community. Suddenly the prospects looked grim. Esports would forever be changed, and in-person gaming events would leave thousands of fans in the digital dirt. Fortunately, this future will not come to pass. Electronic Arts’ eclectic sports division, EA Sports has done it again. The company that brought the world FIFA for nearly three decades, has reinvented its flagship soccer title with a bold new name and a slew of innovative features, in EA Sports FC 24.
EA Sports FC 24 is a game built from the ground up to bring FIFA fans what they have always wanted, whilst keeping dissenters to a minimum. In so doing it provide the same heart-stopping adrenaline and family entertainment as the brand it replaces. Thanks to HyperMotionV, a cutting-edge technology capturing the movements, emotions, and expressions of real players in unprecedented detail, fans will feel more at home than ever with their favourite sports people and teams. According to EA Sports, more than 180 real matches have been captured using volumetric motion capture in order to create realistic animation behaviour for over 19 000 players across more than 700 teams. Whether it is world-favourite Lionel Messi’s dribbling skills, Christiano Ronaldo’s aerial prowess, or – my personal favourite – Megan Rapinoe’s iconic celebrations, players will see and feel every nuance of their performance on the field. With that said, visuals are not all the game is about.
For decades, FIFA has captured the hearts, minds, and controller muscle-memory of fans. Luckily EA Sports FC 24 delivers exactly this, and more. Thanks to HyperMotionV, player dynamics have improved tenfold. Moreover, the game also introduces PlayStyles, a new system optimising the attributes and abilities of each player based on data from Opta, the world’s leading sports analytics provider… and it is a doozy. There are 34 PlayStyles in total, each of which comes with an “enhanced” plus version. For example, Kylian Mbappe’s Speed Dribble PlayStyle gives him an edge over defenders with his explosive acceleration and agility. The plus version enhances this even further. In all honesty it kind of feels like players are activating cheats when choosing and/or upgrading PlayStyles, but in our limited time of play so far, the game has been balanced quite well.
The grand thing about PlayStyles is how it is not limited to players only. Instead, fans can also apply to them. Team Styles, which reflect the “identity and tactics of each club or national team” truly bring out what it means to be a part of your favourite team or club. Liverpool, for instance, has always been about high stakes plays, and thanks to the new Team Styles, these attributes finally get the limelight they deserve. As such, it is easy to see how Liverpool’s high-pressing and fast-paced style directly contradicts Barcelona’s possession-based Team Style. For the first time ever, it truly feels like teams and clubs are unique in more than just the players attached to them. In this way, it truly feels like Team Styles brings out the management aspect of the Team Management game mode, where players need to think about how their opponents behave and how they need to adapt their strategies accordingly.
Speaking of game modes, EA Sports FC 24 brings major changes to popular game modes introduced in FIFA titles, such as Career Mode, Volta Football, and Ultimate Team. Career mode now lets players create their own custom club from scratch by choosing its name, logo, kit, stadium, and even its players. Players can also manage club finances, scout, manage the youth academy, and even sort out media blunders (or wins) – it is truly robust and almost gives Football Manager a run for its money. Volta Football, on the other hand, takes players to the streets and futsal courts of the world. In this mode, players can host quick matches against celebrities like Lewis Hamilton, Dua Lipa, or even Patrick Mahomes, with a custom avatar with their own unique appearance, skills, and kit. Ultimate Team, however, has received the most radical overhaul of them all thanks to the welcome introduction of female players and teams for the first time in EA Sports history. Due to this, players can build mixed-gender squads and earn extra chemistry for pairing players from the same club or country. Players who liked the FUT system need not fret either, since FUT Heroes (iconic players from different eras and leagues) can still be chosen and added to a player’s dream team.
Overall, EA Sports FC 24 feels like much more than the rebranding fans (like us) thought the iconic soccer game franchise required. From first impressions, it does seem as if it goes above and beyond to seemingly stand on its own two feet. Naturally, only time will tell if it can ultimately manage to carve out a space of its own on the podium
Stay tuned for our full review, which will take a proper look at whether this ‘new’ game is the true next leap for EA Sports and Soccer Sim fans have been wishing for, and whether fans should give pause or celebrate its arrival.
Junior Editor at Vamers. From Superman to Ironman; Bill Rizer to Sam Fisher and everything in-between, Edward loves it all. He is a Bachelor of Arts student and English Major specialising in Language and Literature. He is an avid writer and casual social networker with a flare for all things tech related.