Each year Electronic Arts releases a new FIFA game, and each year through subtle refinement the series gets closer to emulating the real thing. Or at least that's how it's supposed to go. Sometimes it's two one-step forward, two-steps back with FIFA, but most of the time, it's improvement across the board each year.
That said, EA has revealed some of the biggest gameplay changes coming with FIFA 19 this September, many of which are wishlist toppers of the FIFA fan community.
EA specifically outlines the following substantial changes: Active Touch System, Dynamic Tactics, Timed Finishing, 50/50 Battles, and Real-Motion Player Technology.
According to EA: the Active Touch system in FIFA 19 revolutionizes what players can do with their ball at their feet. Or in other words, the new system opens up whole new areas of gameplay that have never been explored.
The new way of striking, receiving, and moving with the ball has been improved to be more natural and fluid, allowing closer control, and more personality into every movement.
“Numerous tools and animations have been added to the ball control system to provide more variety in moving the ball. Specifically, there are now multiple means of trapping the ball, such as the “disguise trap,” a feint used to fool defenders into moving the wrong direction with very subtle first touch movement. Get closer to the real world game by using the same moves that pros like Toni Kroos use to create space, send defenders the wrong way, and open up the game for your team.
Similar to the new ways of trapping the ball, a variety of flick animations have also been added to allow for deeper creativity in attack. Players can use their head, chest, knees, and feet to flick the ball, change direction, confuse defenders, and open up space that they can exploit. Just like Kylian Mbappe bamboozles defenders with his bag of tricks, you can do things with the ball in FIFA 19 that you never thought were possible and leave your opponent shaking his head in defeat.
By unlocking so many innovative methods to interact with the ball and injecting a higher level of control into every movement, Active Touch makes FIFA 19 feel more realistic than any other moment in the series’ rich history.”
Taking a page out of the book of Football Manager, FIFA 19 is set to drastically overhaul tactics in-game. These changes won't be for everyone, but they will be for players who love to dive into the gritty tactical details of the game, providing a deeper, more intricate control over how your team plays before and during matches.
Pre-match preparation returns as it was in the last game, but added with Dynamic Tactics, which will allow for multiple game plans that can be switched between and during a match.
Dynamic Tactics will use a range of sliders to tweak the various aspects of your offensive and defensive approaches, with game plans being mapped to the D-Pad so you can quickly change on the fly.
With this system, setting up your team is more important than ever. If you opt for more possessive tactics, you will see your players support the ball handler with safe passing options. If you opt for quicker build-up play, then players will make riskier runs to try and create better, more immediate chances going forward. The key will not only be creating your own tactics, but responding to the tactics of other AI or human teams.
Timed Finishing is an entirely new mechanic that lets players turn any shot into a world-class shot with just one extra, well-timed button tap.
With the feature, timing is important, but the actual basic process of taking a shot doesn't change much. In fact, you can avoid the feature really all-together. But, if you want to make your shot more unstoppable with more power and accuracy, then it's as simple as tapping the “shoot” button a second time after the initial button tap at the right time.
If you tap it too early or too late, it may make your shot actually a little bit worse. Thus, to start off, it would be wise to have FIFA Trainer turned, which will add a colored bar over the player's head with sliders. You will know your second tap is right when the slider hits the green zone in the middle, and a message above that says “Great Timing!” appears.
You can turn the Trainer off whenever, and when you do your shot feedback will come in form of the player indicator triangle, which will glow green whenever a Timed Finish is pulled off successfully.
As you would expect, the more difficult the shot attempt, the harder it will be to time correctly.
One of the biggest issues of quality in the last few FIFA titles has been 50/50 battles. According to EA, it has made improvements in this area by making sure user reactions coupled with player attributes determine the winning of loose balls around the pitch.
Further, teammate intelligence and spatial awareness has been improved, meaning every challenge matters more in the fight for possession.
The big issue with 50/50 battles in FIFA 18 was the game's physics engine would often momentarily break, making for an unrealistic 50/50 challenge. So hopefully this has been remedied.
According to EA, its game-changing animation system has once again gone through a series of refinement to ensure player personality and increased fidelity in movement has been improved upon across the pitch.
More specifically, enhanced animations for tactical shielding, impact balancing, and physical jostles are better than ever, which should allow for the most realistic and player-specific movement to date.
As suggested above, here's to hoping the animations don't routinely break into what appears like severe broken leg and arm injuries to players as they collapse to the ground after a tackle. For a series all about realism, this needs to be ironed out.