EA Sports FC 24 Is Pushing Me Away Already

Highlights

  • The author has not played FIFA early for the first time in years, and this has allowed them to gain perspective on the game.
  • The focus of FIFA seems to be on Ultimate Team, which the author does not understand or find appealing.
  • The author is unsure about the new gameplay updates and features in FIFA 24, but still plans to buy the game despite not being able to find anyone who can explain why they would like it.


THEGAMER VIDEO OF THE DAY

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

This is the first time in about five years that I’ve not played FIFA (or EA’s annual football game, given the name change) early for review or other coverage. TheGamer’s review will be coming soon, but it’s not going to be from me as I’m still yet to get my hands on it. It’s technically kinda sorta out now, as part of the unnecessary trend of getting games one week ‘early’ if you preorder, but from the outside, it’s only reminding me why these games have lost their shine.

The new gameplay updates seem solid. I played the beta a few months ago, and it was enjoyable enough then. Not ‘spend £20 for an extra week’ enjoyable, but few games are. This isn’t born of frustration from getting it late (on time) this year – there are plenty of games where the review or early access period has only heightened my interest. I had to wait a month for Baldur’s Gate 3, and that’s sitting pretty as my Game of the Year so far.

Related: EA Sports FC 24 Has Ultimate Team’s Biggest Upgrade And Downgrade Ever

Instead, it’s that not playing EASports FC early has allowed me to gain some perspective. I feel a little bit like the auld lad in the bookies who sits and watches the dogs with a plastic cup of lukewarm coffee while everyone around him uses their cards to bet on the virtuals, sinks money into the electric slots, or just stays at home and builds accas from the Moldovan leagues on their app. I’m a coal miner in a ghost town. My way of life is dead.

Darwin nunez griddy in EA Sports FC 24's Founders Evolution.

Literally every single thing I have heard about EA Sports FC is connected to Ultimate Team. When player ratings were revealed, it was via Ultimate Team cards. Every bit of promotion linking up with real players or fan interaction is based around Ultimate Team cards. Every clip of the game or commentary from content creators has been built around packs and SBCs and other accoutrements from Ultimate Team. EA Sports FC 24, like the FIFAs before it, is just an Ultimate Team game.

I’ve never understood it. I’m a veteran of the Xbox Live dongle ban from the very first wave of Ultimate Team, but in the years after that, I was strictly freemium, and dabbled less and less. I don’t see the appeal in either grinding or paying so much extra money into an already expensive game just to unlock players who already exist in the game for free. If I want to play as Messi or Mbappe I can just play as Argentina or PSG. I have never understood why paying so much cash year on year just for it to be wiped out next year is even vaguely tantalising.

It might come from a lack of appetite in other online arenas – most of my games are single player titles, so the battle pass grind mentality is alien to me. I play FIFA through regular online matches, and I’m good enough to win more than I lose. But despite there being a million clips from the game online already, I have no idea what online mode is like away from Ultimate Team. And everyone is so miserable too – why is everyone so angry?

Aside from my limited experience with the beta, I have no knowledge of anything fresh in the gameplay at all. I don’t know if Career Mode is different, or if there are any additions around creating a club or other game modes besides. I can assume pace is important, as it always has been, but how is tackling? Are crosses worth it? Can you shoot from range? Has EA finally caught up to using a trequartista just as the art form dies out in favour of mezzalas and inverted full back systems? All I know is what numbers exist on what cards and that Jude Bellingham is rated too low. Nothing on how he plays, just that his numbers are wrong.

A football pitch lit up and surrounded by stands full of fans in EA Sports FC 24.

Year in, year out I play Career Mode. Usually, this starts with my own team, Newcastle UTD, but given I signed Joao Pedro, James Maddison, and Moussa Diaby, only for us to go for and then miss out on all of them in real life, I might be cursed. I spend a couple of seasons with the Toon then head out to the continent, and eventually get bored and start another save elsewhere, sometimes as a custom team. I’d love to know what awaits me in this new game (that seems the same as the old game), but despite the pinnacle of a sports game surely being taking your own team to win the lot, nobody wants to talk about it when Ultimate Team is in town.

I’m still going to get EA Sports FC 24, because it’s difficult to imagine a world where I wouldn’t, but I’m not playing the same game as everyone else. It feels like I’m in on a secret, one of a select club who knows you can buy the game once and then play it for free for a year, no other investment needed. I used to feel a little foolish, paying full price for the roster update and minor tune up each year. Now I know I’m not the biggest sucker. No one has been able to tell me what I’d like about EA Sports FC 24, but I’m still gonna buy it anyway, so I guess I’m not too smart after all.

Next: The Video Game Strike Explained, And Why Actors Need Our Support

Leave a Comment