For years, EA brought us FIFA, but now that is a thing of the past! Along with the new name, EA Sports FC 24, this will be the start of a new era for EA Sports Football games. However, will this new name bring the refresh that many fans are hoping for, or is the game underneath the same as its predecessor?
Game Name: EA Sports FC 24
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S (reviewed), PC, Switch
Publisher(s): EA Sports
Developer(s): EA Vancouver, EA Romania
Release Date: 22nd (Ultimate Edition) and 29th September (Full Release)
Off The Pitch
Before you even get onto the pitch, you will immediately notice some changes. Firstly, a completely overhauled menu system. Gone is the title-based menu from previous FIFA’s, FC sees a return to a vertical menu. We’ve had this in previous games going back over a decade, and I am glad to see it return. It’s much cleaner and easier to navigate. That said, it may take a few play sessions to get used for veteran FIFA players. It’s a more simplistic design overall, which is sure to help any newcomers find what they need more easily. Getting into your favourite modes quicker than ever, thanks to this new menu design, is a massive improvement for me.
On the subject of modes, this is where things may be a little disappointing. What we have on offer here in FC 24 is almost exactly the same as FIFA 23. I was slightly disappointed with this since I was hoping that the rebrand this year may have allowed for something new. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and what we are left with are modes we’ve played for years now, with some tweaks to try and freshen things up a bit. Some of these tweaks will be more welcome and successful than others, depending on which modes you play.
Manager Career Mode
For example, Manager Career Mode has seen the introduction of training plans, coaches, and tactical visions. That’s right individual training to keep fitness and sharpness is gone, replacing it with the more simplified, less time-consuming training plans. This allows you to choose what your players need to focus on in training sharpness or fitness as seen below:
This system allows you to more easily keep your entire squad in peak condition. I like it, even if it means I’m technically playing less. I didn’t enjoy having to play training drills to a certain grade with each new save. Training Plans work hand in hand with tactical visions and coaches. This year you have to hire coaches for different areas of your team. They will have star ratings for Goalkeeping, Defence, Midfield, and Attack. The higher their rating, the more effective they will be in whichever area you assign them to, resulting in more improved stats for your players.
It is important to remember that each coach will also specialise in different tactical visions, these are rated from bronze to gold, and they also affect the number of boosts that your players will receive from the coaches. So if you are playing a counter-attacking tactical vision, you may not want to hire a kick-and-rush coach. However, coaches can improve their expertise on a tactical vision as the team plays it and get results. When all is said and done, I really like these changes to the manager career it adds a level of control over a team that wasn’t previously there. It just isn’t the full overhaul that the mode has really needed for years.
Player Career Mode
Similarly, player career does see one change, the introduction of agents. As in real life, agents are there to help you as a player. In FC 24, agents will give you an idea of what you need to achieve in order to get your contract renewed at a club or even to get your dream move. It’s a small change, which mostly helps give a feeling of more constant progression. Rather than just playing matches, you’re always working towards something.
Outside of this, the mode is largely the same, with the personality system from FIFA 23 returning, albeit including playstyles this time. More on those when we get to gameplay!
Volta Makes Its Return
Other returning modes include Volta, the FIFA Street-inspired mode that’s been available for a few years now. It’s not really one for me, and it didn’t seem to have anything new this year. However, I’m looking forward to trying another returning mode, Pro Clubs. Sadly, I wasn’t able to get any games in during the review process as there wasn’t anyone available to play online. Look forward to this review being updated once the game has more people available to play the mode.
The Ultimate Team?
Undoubtedly the biggest mode is that of Ultimate Team, the trading card-inspired mode that allows you to build your own team. This year, the content within the mode is largely the same in terms of playability. You have Rivals, Draft, Champions, Friendlies, etc. All the ways you could play matches last year are present again here, but the mode does see a few changes, which makes it more possible to build the Ultimate Team.
Firstly, the inclusion of the best women’s players from the best women’s leagues in the world. Finally, we can really build our dream teams! You can choose to build an all-women’s team with the likes of Mary Earps, Alisha Lehmann, and Vivianne Miedema if you want. Personally, I’m aiming to build a team mixing the best male and female players, but you can, of course, still go for an all-male team if you’d like to.
The second change is the introduction of Evolutions. This year you can improve cards by selecting a card you want to evolve in the evolutions menu and then completing the objectives while playing with that card. These can range from winning certain types of matches to performing a specific action with that player. Personally, I love this change because it allows me to keep my favourite players relevant in my team for longer.
Most evolutions are completely free to use but keep in mind that they appear to be one-time use and only give you a certain number of days to complete the challenges. After this, the evolutions menu should refresh, giving you new options. Being mostly free to use Evolutions should be a good way to combat the pay-to-win nature of Ultimate Team. Although, like the rest of the mode, Evolutions don’t completely avoid micro-transactions. Currently, there is one evolution path that requires either a lot of in-game coins or FC Points, which cost real money. Time will tell if this feature gets further polluted by micro-transactions, but as it stands, it seems like a really meaningful addition to a much-loved mode.
On The Pitch
On the pitch, you will see and feel a difference. Though visuals don’t receive the same complete overhaul that the menus got, everything does look cleaner and sharper. A plethora of new animations captured using EA’s Hypermotion V technology means that the game looks and feels more realistic than ever before. These animations, of course, have a significant impact on gameplay, allowing you to pull off passes and shots that weren’t previously in the game. The same goes for defending animations; more ways to win the ball back and stop a goal is always a good thing. Hypermotion V allows EA to capture animation data directly from real-world matches and put it into the game. So let’s hope we see even more animations added over the life of FC 24.
New animations are always great, but the biggest gameplay change is PlayStyles. These are effectively revamped from the previous trait system but implemented in a way that makes each player feel more unique. It also brings extra authenticity to the gameplay since each player, at least among the top divisions, plays more like themselves. When I get the ball with Mo Salah and I cut inside for a finesse shot, it feels and looks like Mo is taking that shot, something he often does in Liverpool matches. Virgil Van Dijk is an aerial powerhouse in real life, more so than most, and that is now reflected more accurately in the game, thanks to PlayStyles.
These changes lead to a game that feels more authentic to the real-world sport than ever before. Passing, in particular, has never felt as good as it does in FC 24. Unfortunately, things aren’t yet perfect! Defensive AI and Goalkeepers seem like they need massive improvement. Goalkeepers never seem to catch the ball, and sometimes defenders that you aren’t controlling yourself will just give up and stand still. My hope is that these issues will be patched out on day one when we hit full release on September 29th.
During matches, performance on Xbox Series X was flawless. Outside of matches, particularly in Manager Career Mode, I encountered more visual bugs and issues than I ever have in an EA Football game. From the wrong club badge appearing in certain menus to players wearing the wrong kit in a transfer cutscene or being completely invisible. It was really distracting and frustrating as it took away the otherwise great presentation.
Is EA FC 24 worth buying?
Overall I really enjoy playing FC 24, it is mostly the same game as FIFA 23 in terms of available content. This is disappointing. Even if the modes see some meaningful tweaks and additions at their core, they remain the same. On the field, play feels great when you have the ball; passing, shooting, and tackling feel better than ever. PlayStyles are a nice addition but often seem overpowered. When you aren’t in control, things aren’t as good as the AI can and, as I’ve experienced, will let you down. Ultimately, smart tweaks on and off the field lead to a refreshed but not revolutionised EA Football game that remains fun to play but needs improving to really be great.
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EA FC 24 Review - Same Game, Different Name
A Good Game That Needs Improvement
FC 24 is a familiar game that once again focuses on evolution over revolution. It makes some smart tweaks and additions to existing modes but they still feel mostly the same. The game looks and feels better than ever but when you aren’t in control the AI often lets you down.
- Clean and Simple Menu Design
- New Animations
- Women’s Football in Ultimate Team
- Coaches, Training Plans and Tactical Visions
- Evolutions in Ultimate Team
- Same Modes We’ve Had For Years
- Visual Bugs In Menus and Cutscenes
- Defensive AI and Goalkeepers
- EA FC 24 Review - Same Game, Different Name