Review – FIFA 19

After feeling somewhat frustrated with the Switch version of FIFA 18 last year, a version that had less content than the others and was still being sold for 59.99, I decided to go with an Xbox One version of FIFA 19 this time around. A smarter move indeed, as EA still continues to charge more for less with its Switch version of FIFA 19. After being pleasantly surprised with this year’s version of Pro Evolution Soccer, EA’s main sports title and cash cow was facing actual pressure from the competition for the first time in years. This is how they responded to the imminent threat.


You weren’t expecting for a Kaizer Chiefs x Orlando Pirates picture, were you?

Gameplay-wise, FIFA 19 is extremely similar to last year’s outing, so there’s no need to talk about it in much detail, especially if you’ve played FIFA 18. It’s a slower-paced FIFA in comparison to what you’ve been used to, with decent physics and the possibility to think on various set pieces during the game thanks to the less intense pacing. The issues are still here, as free kicks and penalties feature unnecessarily complicated controls.

Another element in the game that’s still pretty much intact is the quality of the in-menu music curation. While I still miss the more eclectic days of FIFA‘s soundtrack, like 2004’s mix of samba, Radiohead and nu metal, this is still functional. Sadly, the Ultimate Team mode is also the same, and by that I mean the same money-grabbing machine as it has always been. As always, I’d recommend sticking to the other modes.


Another year, another Brighton & Hove Albion picture. Come on you Seagulls!!!

What you really want to know is what has been added this time around. Well, the Chinese League, once known as a nonsensical money-spending machine, is now fully licensed and playable. A few new old school icons have been added, as well as some new stadiums. Alex Hunter’s Journey Mode continues with him at La Liga this time around. The Champions League license, formerly a Pro Evolution Soccer staple, is now included in this game. While some may say that this is one heck of an addition, there’s little effect in the game besides the styling of one specific type of scoreboard and the famous Champions League tune being played before some matches. To be fair, I never cared about the Champions League license in PES either.

The main additions, however, are the new crazy modes added to the kickoff section of the game. Remember the old-school SNK football games as well as Red Card 20-03? Remember the absolute lack of rules those games boasted? Well, you can now play matches with no fouls or offsides whatsoever, in a pseudo FIFA Street-ish revival (without the Street part, of course). You can also play a mode in which you can only score goals with volleys, as well as a weird Battle Royale styled mode of sorts, in which you lose a player every time you score a goal. You might be thinking to yourself why were those modes added. I’m actually grateful, as FIFA already had enough realistic football simulation. Some extra dumb fun is never a bad thing.


The facial expressions look robotic, don’t they…

To be honest, if you gave me FIFA 19 and FIFA 18 and put them side by side in a kickoff mode, the only way I’d distinguish one from the other would be by looking who Cristiano Ronaldo is playing for in each game. Compared to its competition, FIFA 19 received much less technical improvements. It’s still a game with a mammoth-sized amount of content and it can provide players with a very good time, but its gameplay isn’t as good as PES 2019‘s in my opinion. Not to mention that the Ultimate Team is still a scam as usual. Either way, you’re fine with whichever footballing game you choose. I just know my choice this year is elsewhere.


Graphics: 8.5

The same as last year: the characters look detailed, the stadiums are well-built, the framerate is solid, but the animations are robotic.

Gameplay: 8.5

Pretty much the same gameplay as last time. The slower movement allows for careful thinking, the physics have been slightly improved, but some aspects like free kicks and penalty controls are still obnoxious.

Sound: 7.5

While EA’s musical curation remains excellent, Martin Tyler’s narration has never sounded so uninspired as in this version…

Fun Factor: 8.0

FIFA 19 trounces its competition when it comes to amount of teams and modes to play, while it doesn’t feature very refined gameplay. Plus, Ultimate Team.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Reviewed on Xbox One.
FIFA 19 is available now on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC and Switch.