FIFA 20 11v11 Preview
Lace-up your cleats and hit the pitch, because I’m here to share my hands-on experience with FIFA 20’s traditional 11v11 gameplay rife with fundamental updates that are sure to please longtime franchise and football fans alike. Along with using the imperial system, we call it soccer here in the USA, but I certainly prefer not to alienate the majority of the planet on this one. So, let’s talk football.
Just when I believed I had an eye for detail, FIFA 20 producer Jeff Antwi pointed out the borderline absurdity of the game’s AI from previous years. We’ve all seen the ridiculous glitches that players encounter around the internet, but I was entirely unaware of how frantic the AI was when they didn’t have possession of the ball. If you’ve invested many years into this franchise, you’re undoubtedly aware of the inherent franticness of every match. Subconsciously I could feel the busyness of the pitch, but I never took a moment to analyze what the AI was doing. Jeff pointed out how Players would move about the pitch in a multitude of bizarre ways to keep up with the action. It’s difficult to describe without seeing it, but compared to live-action footage he shared, FIFA’s AI appeared unrealistic.
In FIFA 20, the team made fundamental updates their primary focus, beginning with intelligence. During a match, you’ll immediately notice the significant reduction in player movement that’s much in line with that of their human counterparts. Naturally, it results in a slower experience. I have a habit of sprinting up and down the pitch from beginning to end of a match, but the slower gameplay produces far more 1v1 encounters and opportunities to analyze the field. You still have the option of taking the field by storm, but the calmness of the field encouraged me to take it down a notch. I’m glad I did because I was able to experiment with the other fundamental updates to gameplay.
In addition to a calmer field, there’s the strafe dribble and a variety of updated mechanics like setup touch, controlled tackling, new free kicks, and new penalty kicks. The strafe dribble appears to be more of a visual update rather than one that profoundly impacts gameplay, but players certainly look great when strafing along the edge of the pitch. Setup touch enables you to gently remove the ball from a player to set up a specific pass or shot. It’s tricky to get the hang of, but it makes a world of difference in certain situations. Admittedly, I’m an aggressive defender. I thoroughly enjoy attacking players with no remorse but regularly find it enraging when the ball ends up back in possession of the opposing team following my expertly timed tackles. Controlled tackles alleviate that age-old predicament and assist you in maintaining possession after your ravenous attacks.
Inspired by one of the world’s most prestigious athletes, Lionel Messi, you can now add spins, adjustments, and timed finishers to your free kicks and penalty kicks. When approaching the ball, you can adjust the trajectory of your kick while you move, spin the ball with the right stick to scoop it into a corner of the goal, and press the shot button the second you reach the ball. If timed correctly, your shot is far more successful. I couldn’t manage to properly pull off the new mechanics during my hands-on, but the demonstration of them in action looked excellent.
The developers have also livened up the ball itself. In the past, I hadn’t noticed how flat and glued to the pitch the ball appeared. It now bounces more realistically and features noticeable spin. Lastly, players feature improved dribbling and overall responsiveness to every situation. These updates are merely the tip of the iceberg of FIFA 20’s new features. We have much more to share including our thoughts on FUT, Volta Football, and a developer interview, so stay tuned to COGconnected in the weeks ahead.
***Travel, accommodations, and access to preview event provided by EA***