So far the gameplay seems slower than in 19, with the difference between quick and sluggish players more noticeable than in the past couple of years. Passing is tough to get used to, and goalkeepers seem to work better this year, aside from when defending crosses. Players also can’t spam the same skill moves over and over again, as they could last year.
Still, any gameplay changes must come with a degree of caution; constant patches shortly after the release of both 18 and 19 altered user experiences significantly, with AI-assisted defending made far too powerful, and the gap between skilled and unskilled players closing as a result.
The plethora of game modes and reward streams made it easier than ever before for players in FIFA 19 to accumulate the top players in the world into their teams, and that seems to be the case again in 20.
The objective system has been completely overhauled, and players can now work their way towards various extra players, packs of cards and other bonuses simply by playing a set number of games across each mode. Unfortunately, if you don’t want to spend any extra cash on microtransactions, you will find yourself completely outmatched in the first few weeks of online competition, as some will continue to funnel thousands of real dollars into FIFA in an attempt to unlock their favourite players.
The ‘House Rules’ feature which was added last year was a welcome addition, and is now thankfully available online, with several new sets of stipulations added. Mystery Ball mode is particularly fun. Every time the ball leaves play, the possessing team will receive a random boost to either passing, shooting, dribbling or pace; and sometimes all four at once.
Mercifully, the most tedious aspect of Ultimate Team — having to give your players virtual contracts or fitness boosts after a certain number of games — doesn’t apply to friendly games with your friends. It shouldn’t be in the game at all, but this is better than nothing.
It’s another year without any noticeable developments to either Pro Clubs or Career Mode, which is sure to further rankle fans that were already feeling left out, including NBA superstar Joel Embiid.
Overall, if you play online, you simply have to purchase the new release each year despite the game not really changing much between FIFA 17 and now. But if you play offline and have held out for a few years, Volta is definitely enough to justify dipping back into the FIFA universe.
FIFA 20 is out now for PlayStation 4 (reviewed), PC, Switch and Xbox One.
Matt Bungard is a journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald.