My biggest question when EA announced it was ending its partnership with FIFA after nearly three decades was, “What comes next?” The bombshell news that the most significant football association in the world was asking for an exorbitant price tag to continue allowing EA to use the branding was unsurprising, given how valuable it is. At the same time, though, the $1.2 billion ask doesn’t come as a surprise given how greedy FIFA’s President Gianni Infantino is. Something had to give, and EA pulled the rug out from FIFA by announcing it would work on its branded soccer title for 2024.
Compare the transition between Konami’s PES series rebranding as eFootball, and you’ll see the two premiere soccer brands are not made from the same cloth. EA has smartly weened players away from its FIFA brand and promoted them to EA Sports FC 24, whereas eFootball has been relegated to minor leagues as players abandon the series.
EA Sports FC 24 is a new era of football
So, how does EA Sports FC 24 fare compared to its predecessor? Surprisingly, thanks to how EA Sports approached this year’s iteration of the beautiful game. I immediately familiarized myself with the controls and jumped into them with ease.
FIFA 23 offered a fast pace of matches that, although fun, in the long run, proved to be excessively chaotic, not to mention the updates increased the pace over the year and turned matches into a chaotic and primarily disappointing game of Gitz.
Of course, EA Sports FC 24 retains the underlying arcade mode. Several returning modes like Ultimate Team are here — at least without considering future patches that may be coming — a far more articulated style of play, where midfield clashes, players’ movements, and the physicality of the ball highlight a specific effort to bring the brand back to being simulated. However, I still had issues with the defensive side, as I had frequent moments where the defenders created sudden holes in the defence.
EA Sports FC 24 has boldly taken the field, aiming to redefine what can be done with a controller. With an unapologetic confidence in their craft, EA has once again ventured into the realm of the beautiful game, leaving no stone unturned.
The Playstyles: Where Stars Shine Bright
EA Sports FC 24 isn’t exactly a FIFA clone; it’s a masterclass replicating the real-world beauty of football. The game introduces a revolutionary feature: Playstyles. These come in two flavours – standard and variations. They’re like a player’s signature moves, showcasing their unique abilities on the pitch. It’s a game-changer, enabling you to adapt your tactics based on your squad’s Playstyles. But here’s the kicker: Playstyle+ is the elite tier, reserved for the cream of the crop. It transforms players into something more than just speedsters; they become true game-changers. You can whip in those perfect crosses or pull off stunning 60-yard passes with them. It’s a spotlight on skills that will ignite your inner football strategist and inspire you to experiment like never before.
HyperMotion V: A Game of Realism
This year’s prominent new feature is HyperMotion V. It’s one of the yearly buzzwords EA Sports has used for FC 24, and it lives up to the hype. Using real-life data it offers an unprecedented level of realism. You can see it in the fluidity players adapt to defenders, taking the ball in their stride. It’s not just a visual spectacle; it’s a game-changer. These improvements in the physical aspects of the game add a tactile dimension that makes you feel like you’re right there on the pitch, battling for the ball, jostling for position, and making space.
With 22 players in a match, replicating every real-life nuance sounds impossible. Yet, FC 24 manages to pull it off brilliantly. This is accomplished with help from AcceleRATE 2.0 and AI Mimic, making each player feel unique. Their running styles and body movements add authenticity, bringing the game closer to a real-life experience. It’s not just about capturing the superstars; it’s about giving every player their identity, and that’s where FC 24 truly shines.
EA Sports FC 24 nails the TV broadcast aesthetic, too. The announcers are easily the best of all produced sports games and showcase how entertaining the announcers are. The dynamic match intros set the atmosphere, and this narrative continues throughout the game. Menus take you behind the scenes, pundits add to the presentation, and even the jerseys react realistically to body movements. Combine all this with crisp lighting, and you get an aesthetic that’s second to none. It’s a visual feast for the football enthusiast.
Ultimate Team: Still the Crown Jewel
Ultimate Team is why many of my friends return each year, and for a time, the thrill swept over me before breaking the habit. While monetization is still present, EA has loaded this mode with content to keep you addicted and entertained. From SBCs to Moments, it’s a treasure trove for fans. And here’s the kicker: women are now part of the Ultimate Team. It’s a game-changer, allowing you to assemble dream teams that span the entire spectrum of the sport. Plus, evolving players through objectives adds depth and diversity to your squad. However, it still feels predatory to me on how reliant real-world money is to beef up your team of all-star players. You either pay your way to the top or grind an absurd amount to earn the coins for packs, and it doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon.
The career mode, once a favourite, now feels a bit convoluted. Sure, there are new systems and additions, but not all enhance the overall experience. Watching games from the touchline may sound cool on paper, but it falls flat in execution. The match-day atmosphere is sorely lacking, and it’s hard to see anything. While offering minor improvements, the career mode could benefit from a more stripped-back and redesigned approach.
EA Sports FC 24 takes a confident stride toward realism and authenticity, introducing game-changing features like Playstyles and HyperMotionV. It’s a game that celebrates the beauty of football and the personalities on the pitch. Its TV-like presentation and a revamped Ultimate Team make it a treat for football gaming enthusiasts. However, the career mode still has some rough edges to smooth out. So, if you want to dive into the virtual football world with confidence, personality, and a dash of humour, EA Sports FC 24 is your ticket to an unforgettable experience.
While I am saddened that the FIFA brand has been scrubbed, an excellent follow-up to one of the longest-running sports games remains in EA Sports FC 24. The new mechanics are enjoyable and smoothly transition players to a new series while honouring its legacy as the premiere football game. I never expected a major renovation of what came before, and this year has enough fundamentals to feel like a safe follow-up. Yet, significant things like adding women to Ultimate Team and HyperMotion V create a far more enticing entry.
[The publisher provided a copy of the game for review purposes.]
Reviewed on: PlayStation 5
Review: EA Sports FC 24
EA Sports FC 24 is a marginal improvement over its FIFA predecessor but still features several gameplay issues that the previous games have continued to have.