FIFA 20: EA Takes Another Step Back

Following a promising release in FIFA 19, Electronic Arts releases another half-baked sports title in FIFA 20.


Electronic Arts

FIFA 20 cover artwork, featuring Liverpool centerback Virgil van Dijk.

Everybody knows that Electronic Arts cranks out three sports games filled with microtransactions every year: Madden, NHL and FIFA. But while NHL 20 brings in new shooting mechanisms, a revamped Franchise Mode, and is considered by many to be one of the best NHL games in recent years, FIFA 20 has taken a massive step back. 

  FIFA 20 was announced in August with a variety of new features that had fans clamoring for the game’s release date of September 24. Volta Football, a reimagined version of a former EA staple in FIFA Street, brought back 3v3 street soccer to the FIFA series. Career Mode, which fans had complained about for years due to a lack of new features, finally received new additions such as customisable managers, player and team morale (the higher the morale, the better the team or player plays), more immersive press conferences, and, perhaps most importantly, dynamic player potential (the better a player plays, the higher his potential is).

  Ultimate Team, EA’s cash cow when it comes to FIFA due to the obscene amount of microtransactions it generates, also got more additions, with more customisation items, season objectives, and more icon cards, with players added including Didier Drogba, Zinedine Zidane, and Andrea Pirlo. 

  It seemed as if FIFA 20 was going to be one of the best soccer, if not sports, games in recent memory. That is, until it was released. 

  FIFA 20 has introduced many new concepts that on paper seem to add to the fun and immersiveness of the game. Yet, the thing is that these concepts have not been executed properly. Career Mode has been criticized for the lack of realism that it’s shown so far. Top clubs like Manchester City and Liverpool can get relegated within the first couple of seasons. Some AI-controlled teams only play their reserves. Players can join a club and have low morale on arrival. It’s gotten so bad that EA has already had to announce patches to fix the game mode, with the two patches already released only fixing Volta and Ultimate Team. 

  Ultimate Team itself has already had some problems too. On October 3, EA announced registration for the Global Series, an Ultimate Team tournament where gamers fight for a spot in the eWorld Cup. Yet some 1,600 registratees had their data leaked by EA themselves, with some participants reportedly seeing other people’s personal information on their sign-up screens. 

  The data leak is another problem EA has had to deal with regarding to FIFA 20’s release. While critics have lauded it as the most realistic and immersive game to date (gameplay refinements like more realistic movement and better AI defending have been fantastically implemented), fans have given the game a whopping 1.1 score on Metacritic, including such reviews as “FIFA 18 v3. The same game. The same graphics. The same gameplay.” If you couldn’t tell, that review was a zero.. In fact, out of the 1,524 user ratings on Metacritic, only 111 are positive compared to 1,380 negative. 

  EA has let FIFA fans down again with the latest release. With user reviews as low as ever and multiple bugs in a beloved mode like Career Mode, EA has lost any goodwill they once previously had.