It’s that time of the year when football fans rejoice that we get another sports-filled title. This year, things are a little different from previous years due to the conclusion of the contract EA had with FIFA – it’s now rebranded as EA SPORTS FC 24, and the development teams from EA Vancouver and EA Romania have teamed up with EA SPORTS publishing the title.
Before we slide too far into the review I would like to mention how sad I was to see that both Australian International teams did not make it into this year’s title. It was quite upsetting not seeing The Socceroos or The Matildas, but that didn’t take away from the game too much, and EA has added a nice little touch for anyone who plays the game before the first of November 2023 – you will be awarded an FC Founder, as well as the chance to unlock some benefits with a Founder Badge and Founder Kit. These look pretty cool, and they’re something a little different that can be used. “Once a Founder, Always a Founder”
Volta Football brings the art of street football and futsal, and it’s broken down into three game modes; Volta Arcade, Volta Squads, and Volta Battles. These all support cross-play, which is a great inclusion in the series, and you can create a custom player. Each game you play unlocks XP, helping you progress through the season, as well as unlocking vanity items and perk points to help boost your player’s performance. I spent the most time on this game mode, both offline and online, as it’s a quicker feeling game – they don’t feel as drawn out as your usual games of football.
Ultimate Team is back and better than ever, and for the first time, you can improve your favourite player with Ultimate Team Evolutions. As you complete a selection of objectives, you increase the player’s skill level, and in turn, get better stats. The best part about Ultimate Teams is the fact you get those OG pack openings, with women’s players finally being added, making it the biggest Ultimate Team experience to date, and I’d just like to let everyone know the first card I pulled was our one and only Sam Kerr.
If you’d rather push pens behind the desk than run around the pitch, you have the option of playing “Manager Career.” This is a new mode added to EA SPORTS FC 24 and lets you run things how you want, such as hiring coaching staff to work on certain things with your squad, and while this game mode did feel a little slow when compared to being on the pitch, it does offer some unique experiences. Some of the analytics went over my head, but they will show you where your squad needs improvement and what you should do to improve the problems.
If you decide to play as a coach, you have the option of running team and individual drills, but it doesn’t stop there. There’s also the chance to use the Play as Player camera, becoming the center of attention as you lead your team to victory, or adjust pre-game warm-ups so that your team is going into the game with 100% accuracy. Should you happen to win the cup, you can honour stand-out individuals during awards ceremonies, and even celebrate with your team and adoring fans during a trophy parade.
The developers added a new feature called HypermotionV Technology which helps the experience to look insanely real. I mostly noticed this during replays after I scored a goal, where it displayed all of the analytics, like how fast the ball was moving, the angle of attack, and all the stats you could need, helping to break down the gameplay and making you feel like a complete badass. Part of this was created with the full-team volumetric motion to capture all 22 players on the field to create thousands of true-to-life animations so that each and every player in the game moves as a team, just as they would in the real sport, and AI True Flight Ball Physics works to replicate how the ball moves across the ground and in the air, further adding another level of animation and experience compared to previous titles.
If I can help it, MKAU Gaming will be the next professional club on EA SPORTS FC 24. Clubs are back again, starting from the bottom and working your way up the league. You have a fixed number of games you need to compete in and win before you can climb up to the next league, and you earn a reputation, fans, and trophies. At the end of the season, and depending on how high up the ladder your club finishes in the league, the more cool things you can claim at the end, but like I said, MKAU Gaming will be the top team soon enough, so you’ll have to settle for second.
If you are chasing a bit more of a chilled experience just kicking the ball against some AI on whatever difficulty you choose, then “Kick Off” is great for you. It’s broken down into several different modes, which are Classic Match, House Rules, Volta Football, UEFA Championships League, UEFA Women’s Champions League, CONMEBOL Libertadores, Cup Final, Home & Away, and Best of Series, so whatever you want to play, the option is there. If I’m testing new tricks or just want to kick back and chill, Classic Match is the best game mode. You can select from a list of stadiums, allowing you to play wherever you want, so naturally, I selected the biggest.
I sound a little like a broken record when it comes to online gaming. I can play and win against the AI on World Class, the second highest difficulty, but as soon as I go online, which is called “Online Friendlies,” I get smashed. It’s like I’m a rookie, and it’s definitely an eye-opening experience. While it’s a little demoralising, I’m still trying to figure out how they put all those tricks together so that I can compete.
Football has always been one of those games where the controls are basic, but you’ll need to master them to get more advanced. When you first launch the game, you have the option of using an on-screen trainer that will guide you through how to pass and shoot for the goal, or basics in defending, like slides or ball steals. If you are new to the series, you will need to spend some time mastering this because as soon as you go online, you will have people doing heel flicks, juggling, or doing those sick bicycle kick goals. Once you have mastered the basic controls, it’s good to look into the “Skill Tricks” to see what combinations you need to use to do those fancy moves. You can also go back to the settings to double-check controls, as well as return to the training academy if you want to look at more of the basics of football.
The first football game I played was FIFA 06, and needless to say, the graphics have come a long way since then. Everything from the character models to the stadiums and even the details in the menu UIs was meticulously crafted, and the attention to small details was great to see.
As an example, if you went in for a slide tackle and the field was a little wet it would leave the slide mark in the grass, or when the referee has to spray paint the grass for that cheeky penalty goal, these would be there for the remainder of the game. The one thing I was most excited about with this title is that the audience didn’t look like the 2D afterthought that they have been for as long as I can remember.
One of the biggest additions to EA SPORTS FC 24 was the SAPIEN Technology which adds another level of realism to the game, boosting small details like the player’s kits rippling when you are moving up the field, and by using the Frostbite Engine, everything from the lighting to details in the stadiums comes to life, and dynamic match introductions that boost your excitement before you even step into the game.
The crowd absolutely erupts in EA SPORTS FC 24, and it’s so immersive. It’s become something you look forward to each game. As you pass the ball up the field, the crowd gets louder and louder, and it hypes you up further and further, but if that is not enough, the AI-powered commentary team is also getting increasingly more excited. It feels like you are watching a live game over on Fox Sports and it draws you further in, almost making you forget that you’re in control, but it doesn’t just stop with the cheering and excitement. If you shoot for a goal but you hit a crossbar, the heartbreaking thud is punctuated by booing from the crowd and disappointment from the commentators. I’ll forever be surprised by how much more immersive the experience is than the last. The game is ALIVE.
If you are new to football games, or you’re returning from the FIFA series, you will be blown away by the attention to detail, the immersive experience, and the sports action packed into this title. There is something for everyone, regardless of whether you’re playing from the A-League to the Premier League, or just kicking a ball around on the futsal court. For any football fans out there, this is the most realistic experience you’ll find.
- Fantastic Gameplay
- Immersive Sounds
- Beautiful Graphics
- The Australian International squads being missing from EA Sports FC 24