EA FC 24 review: More realistic than any other FIFA game
Following EA Sports and FIFA’s public split, all eyes are on the next chapter of the football sim franchise. EA FC 24 is full of fresh features that solve several of the franchise’s long-standing pain points, but can the gameplay keep up with the glamour of the off-field improvements? Let’s find out if EA Sports seized the opportunity to offer an enticing package alongside the shiny new EA FC 24 name.
As the summer transfer window came to a close, and football clubs returned to the pitch, it wasn’t exactly business as usual for EA Sports. Naturally, much of the hard work that went into preparing EA Sports FC 24, the first chapter devoid of the iconic FIFA branding, had already been completed, but the game’s anticipated reveal to an extremely passionate fanbase loomed large.
Expectations for EA FC 24 were high, given the opportunity to shape a new path for the series. With most games released annually, the sports genre isn’t one that often sees major innovation, so does EA FC 24 offer enough off and on-pitch entertainment to keep fans coming back for more?
Need for speed
In the lead-up to the game’s launch, the additions and changes to EA FC 24‘s off-field experience were certainly front and center, but a vast majority of fans spend their time playing matches on the pitch. So, how does EA FC 24’s gameplay fare?
After sinking about a dozen hours into the game, EA FC 24’s gameplay has left me wanting more. There’s no denying that EA FC 24 is the most realistic football game ever made. Visually, the game looks stunning. While its realism can’t be called into question, its entertainment value can.
Creating a hyper-realistic football title is an impressive accomplishment, but football matches are played over 90 minutes and action often comes in waves. This pace doesn’t translate over to a video game all that well, leaving EA FC 24’s gameplay feeling sluggish compared to previous titles.
The fast-paced, arcade-like gameplay of previous FIFA titles is what kept players invested for the game’s entire 12-month cycle. With EA FC 24 defenders feeling like they’ve been dipped in honey, I worry that players will tire of EA FC 24 earlier than ever.
Positioning and anticipation are more important than ever in EA FC 24. As a defender, one false move can easily lead to a goal. Implementing such high stakes makes every one vs. one battle feel like life or death. Wingers and strikers can blow right by defenders with ease, creating an imbalance on the pitch. Given how slow the movement feels in EA FC 24, the player without the ball will lose more duals than ever this year.
Leaving little room for error and no path to recover from a false step has increased the skill gap drastically. While this may please the top 1% of players, less experienced players, and even adept players to an extent might rip out a hair or two in frustration.
Luckily, the devs can always provide changes to the pace of the game via post-launch updates. However, at the moment even the simplest change in direction from an attacker will frustrate experienced defenders in the game. Sliding tackles also feel nerfed this year, as players take to ground at a fraction of the pace they used to.
Quality-of-life changes are this year’s marquee signing
When it comes to quality-of-life improvements and off-field tweaks, EA FC 24 truly shines. It’s clear that EA Sports have used fan feedback to inform some of the most successful changes in years.
For starters, Evolutions adds another layer of control over players’ Ultimate Team squads. The ability to upgrade cards that would have quickly fallen to the wayside in previous years is a welcome addition. Evolutions should lead to more balance within the Ultimate Team meta and diminish the power curve that comes with each promo.
The overhaul of the menu navigation in Ultimate Team is another minor change that makes a noteworthy impact. Being able to swiftly move from one subsection of the menu to another without having to return to the main Ultimate Team menu is a godsend. For example, a player attempting to complete Moments Objectives can quickly flip back and forth from the Objectives tab to the Moments tab to grasp the specific tasks at hand.
Efficiency is the name of the game when not involved in a match, as the new claim all button will save Ultimate Team players a ton of time. EA Sports set out to solve major pain points that have plagued fans for years, and these quality-of-life changes succeed in doing so.
Hat-trick of game modes
The aforementioned pain points aren’t the only ones that EA set out to appease in EA FC 24. Clubs players finally received the highly-requested addition of crossplay. While Clubs gameplay itself is much of the same, the addition of crossplay is sure to please fans of the mode who will benefit from the added accessibility.
Ultimate Team remains the pride and joy of EA Sports, as the microtransaction-fueled giant certainly received the most attention and care from the devs. With the addition of women’s players, squad-building possibilities have grown exponentially. There’s so much to do and plenty for players to grind that it’s borderline overwhelming.
How long players continue to grind given the languid gameplay remains to be seen, but there’s no shortage of tasks to tackle. From completing Objectives and earning Champions rewards, to taking part in Drafts and upgrading cards through the new Evolutions features, there’s plenty to do.
Of course, the mode remains a fundamentally pay-to-win experience. However, long-time fans of Ultimate Team know what they’re in for, and given its popularity, this likely won’t change any time soon.
This review wouldn’t be complete without highlighting Career Mode’s major leap forward as a truly worthwhile EA FC 24 experience alongside the popular Ultimate Team.
There’s simply more depth than ever in EA FC 24 Career Mode. In the past, FIFA players faulted EA for not expanding the mode or providing the care it deserves. Luckily, Career Mode fans can rejoice as the Manager Career offering, in particular, is stellar this year.
The selection of a Tactical Vision, which allows players to impart a football identity to their club, and the ability to hire coaching staff that impact how your squad develops are two successful additions that slot in nicely to the traditional Career Mode offering in EA FC 24. The Manager Career mode journey delivers new features and depth that allow it to feel like a dream merger between an RPG and football sim title.
EA FC 24’s three core game modes offer enough gameplay variety to compensate for what feels like a sluggish on-pitch start for the remodeled franchise.
EA FC 24’s quality-of-life additions will not be lost on longtime players, as any off-the-field navigation is streamlined to a degree that oozes efficiency. You’ll be able to dedicate your gaming hours to earning results on the pitch.
However, the major foul that EA FC 24 commits is cutting down on the fast-paced fun that its predecessors delivered in exchange for hyper-realistic gameplay that fans of the franchise could tire of quickly.
Luckily, new features like Ultimate Team’s Evolutions and the integration of women’s players maintain the mode’s grind-worthy appeal, despite the continued reliance on microtransactions. Meanwhile, a revamped Career Mode with substantial new features, and a Clubs mode that supports crossplay provide the gameplay variety needed to stand alongside the behemoth that is Ultimate Team.
While it may not have been the revolutionary new EA Sports football title that many hoped for, EA FC 24 steadies the ship at the dawn of a new chapter for the franchise.
Reviewed on PlayStation 5