FIFA 19 has finally launched to the world and can be played on almost every console – but what should you expect?
The latest FIFA in the football franchise does one thing right, and that is to take care of licensing. The biggest feather in EA Sports' cap in this regard is the official addition of the Champions League. It is now a fully licensed tournament in FIFA 19, and EA wants you to know that from the get-go.
Once you're all set up and ready to play, FIFA 19 kicks off with a fictional Champions League final match between PSG and Juventus. It not only allows gamers to get a feel for the changes in gameplay but also serves as a taster for the fully licensed look at what Champions League football in FIFA 19 will look like.
It certainly delivers in that aspect, with the atmosphere, graphics and commentary all befitting a real-world Champions League game. It also serves to show just where EA's focus is for FIFA 19, and it's on delivering a fully licensed footballing experience.
For any football fan, to play as your favourite team, in their official strip, with players that look like they do in real life, is ultimately the goal for any FIFA game out there. As such, it's exactly what you get in FIFA 19.
For gamers who aren't keen on Ultimate Team, it serves as a nice change of pace. That said it does not quite offer the same satisfying experience to playing the Career Mode for example but shows that EA is able to add a different element to FIFA.
As for the aforementioned Ultimate Team and Career Mode, things are much the same as they were in FIFA 18.
To that end, the menu layouts are virtually carbon copies of their predecessors, with options and buttons getting a slight bit of refinement, as well as a new colour scheme which seems to be designed to evoke the real feel of watching a Champions League.
Consequently, when it comes to navigating and interacting with FIFA 19 you know exactly what you're going to get.
What is worth mentioning though is the pack openings in FUT, with EA Sports now adding percentage odds about what kinds of player cards they can receive. While this may seem like a bid at being more transparent by the developer, it clearly shows just how flawed a system the packs actually are, with the chances of receiving something rare or valuable slim at best.
As such, it serves as a reminder at just how much money gamers will be pouring into FIFA 19’s FUT in order to get those coveted packs and cards.
Speed does not kill. So how about the actual gameplay?
Here too, the overall feeling is familiar, with one notable change.
Speed is no longer the one statistic that sets players apart as it was in previous versions of FIFA. Yes, if you're playing with a particularly fast player, you can get past one or two defenders, but tear away speed is no longer a thing in FIFA 19.
As such defenders can catch up with you quite quickly, which means you need a telling pass, clinical finish and skilful dribbling in order to effect the outcome of a game, basically you need to be a FIFA GOD!
Another nice addition to FIFA 19 is the ability to switch between different tactical setups on the fly, pressing the left or right directional button – on the DualShock 4 controller – to cycle between defensive to ultra-attacking systems.
While this helps when you want to change the tempo of your gameplay, we advise taking a look at which players feature where in the system, as you can sometimes finding attackers moving into otherwise problematic positions on the field.
There's nothing particularly new or noteworthy about FIFA 19, which isn't necessarily a bad thing as you know precisely what you're going to get.
Which is basically a gaming experience that's easy to pick up and play, along with a few more tactical elements for long-time players of the franchise to try out, and FIFA 19 does what's advertised on the box.