FIFA 20 Demo: Reactions to the Latest Generation are Mixed
With the summer transfer deadline in the rearview mirror and club rosters finalized, that means that the dawn of a new year of FIFA is just around the corner.
While fans will still have to wait until September 24 to get their hands on the full version of FIFA 20, the demo is available early, and it gives players just a small taste of what's to come this year. While the standard demo fare rears its head, like a limited assortment of teams to actually play as, the big news is the ability to try the new street soccer VOLTA mode.
After spending some time with the demo, the news is mixed for fans of the series.
Full Side Play Stars
Although VOLTA might have stolen headlines since the announcement of the new feature, the core of any FIFA game will always be its ability to create a realistic and fun simulation when it comes to full-side of world-class soccer, and FIFA 20 lives up to the series' lofty standards.
FIFA has long been the standard-bearer for EA's various sports simulations, and while each new iteration has been loaded with buzz words and big talk, it's fair to say there has generally been an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach to the game's mechanics.
With FIFA 20, that is still the clear operating premise. While the game doesn't feel exactly like its predecessor, and elite-level players may remain upset about the increased variance in chained skill maneuvers, if you've played a recent edition of FIFA, you'll likely find that you're right back in the swing of things in short order.
If you're new to the series or haven't played in a few years, don't worry about your skills. The game's default trainer overlay provides visual cues for suggested actions and the button or stick combinations to perform them, so you can hit the ground running.
While the new features aren't revolutionary, they're not invisible either, and at the end of the day, what you're left with is another very strong performance from the FIFA team.
VOLTA Disappoints... For Now
Before getting into my hands-on experience with the new mode, it's important to remember that a limited demo with only one-offs is far from the full picture of a game. With that large caveat out there, however, the early look is a big let down.
While the early talk of the new mode was appealing, with the game taking a realistic approach to small-sided games, what's actually delivered so far doesn't quite live up to expectations.
The game leans into the flair and style of street ball, with standard passes and lobs occasionally being delivered in show-stopping, over-the-top manners, but the mode lacks the fluidity you'd hope for with a proper streetball option. Although highly skilled players may have more luck using flair and style to their advantage, new payers may find themselves playing the same game only cramped, ironically finding that the game, in turn, feels more bogged down than a standard match.
That's not to say there isn't promise in the mode, though. Just by the very nature of changing the dynamics of the game it does provide a fun alternative to standard play. Three-a-side on a tiny pitch is a vastly different experience, as is trying to tuck the ball into the game's small, keeper-less goals.
The first time my player rocketed a shot off a side wall then hammered in her own rebound for a self-pass goal was genuinely exhilarating, and the ability to have coed teams may seem small, but only if you've never been unable to squad up with your friends because your Pro is the wrong gender.
There are sprouts of how VOLTA may yet deliver on the promise of its first press release. Unless more is done to make the mode run smoother and the full options expand the world of VOLTA enough, however, it will remain a fun occasional diversion more than an expansive mode worth pouring hours into.
As far as demos go, this is a promising showing from EA. There's every reason to believe that the standard favorites, from pro campaigns to FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT), will be as great as ever.
Although VOLTA failed to blow the doors off in demo form, it may well shine once players have access to the full array of options. If you're considering picking up FIFA 20, put on your game face and give the demo a spin.
While you wait for the game to arrive, be sure to check out our article on everything we know about the game, which includes everything from flair and career mode to pre-order information, trailers, and gameplay.
FIFA 20 is set to release on September 27 for the PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. It will be included in Origin Access and EA Access.