Hands-On Preview: FIFA 17 #EAplay #E32016
The beautiful game of football is back for another season from EA sports with some noticeable changes that are actually a lot better for the game. The first big change is the switch from the Ignite to Frostbite engine, it is noticeably different on a presentation aspect and has some new benefits such as players looking far more realistic and no longer have the horrible glass-eyed look that plagued FIFA 16. The pitch looks a lot greener, might sound silly, but it looks more like a pitch and less like a digital pitch.
In this preview we played a standard 5 and a half minute matches to experience if there were any changes to the gameplay and there is, it’s starting to feel and play a lot better than FIFA 16 already. I am normally quite critical when it comes to playing FIFA demos, I’ve never had a pleasant experience with them, I always find them to be sluggish and never end up reflecting the final product, kind of pointless. However, this time around it with the recent announcements FIFA 17 demo is surprisingly showcasing a lot of noticeable changes to the gameplay. The players react a lot better than they did in FIFA 16. The players are looking for the pass’s waiting to be fed the ball whilst also getting ready to make the runs. The movement is a lot tighter, but the wide-players stay in position.
It’s more of a passing game, which really does reflect what real football is all about. Lobbing the ball up field constantly which is something I hate about FIFA 16 online isn’t the same. The players move towards the ball better making defending better and also receiving better. Depending on who is the receiving player is, will come down how good their control is. As mentioned defenders do sometimes come out of place which is something they will really need to work on, but I think it depends on the player in general if you choose to drag to many defenders over. Holding (RB/R1) will indicate an icon that you are calling for another player to go towards the attacking player. This was present in FIFA 16, but there was no indication and majority of the time didn’t work to well. This time you can focus on controlling your player whilst the “AI” player goes in to shake the opponent of the ball. A nice feature that needed to be improved.
My opponent did manage to get through my defence a few times, but defending is improved, especially the standing tackle. The standing tackle connects a lot better, if a player goes down, but you’ve won the challenge the ref won’t stop play, another issue that is present in FIFA 16 is the amount of fouls that are given when you clearly make a good challenge. The keepers positioning is a lot better. The keeper will slowly move off the goal line, but not too far to try and get into a suitable position, a few times my keeper was caught off guard, but still managed to recover and make some excellent saves. I was playing as Chelsea with Thibaut Courtois in goal and as you know he is a very good keeper with good reactions, so it may differ a fair bit between keepers, but it was nice to see the keepers actually being keepers and not just watching the ball fly by.
Attacking build up play is very intuitive and is something that I feel was missing from FIFA 16 was the emphasis on building up the play to attack. Opponents will be able to apply pressure whilst certain players will be able to hold their ground a lot better than others. Sadly, during play I wasn’t able to get a free kick close enough to the box due to how well the defending is and better connected the challenges were from my opponent. Lastly corners have changed slightly, there is now a target that you can pin point when taking a corner. A nice feature for online play, but bad for offline. Luckily you can disable this. Corners are more precise with this feature and I actually quite like the addition. Offline play however I would personally ban the feature if playing with friends as you will see where each corner is going.
FIFA 17 seems a lot more promising that FIFA 16 did from what I have played so far. The graphical detail on the players is better, their reactions are better and the general feel to gameplay is better. I would like to play the title again and try various different scenarios and free kicks to get a better understanding of the gameplay in a bit more of an in-depth level but from what I have played I actually really liked it. It’s different, but a positive different. Even though the defensive side of things seem better they still need to work on their reactions and players running back into position, it still seems slow.