FIFA 17 DEMO: Gameplay Review

Published 09/18/2016, 6:06 PM EDT


Well guys FIFA 17 is out and trending and has gone to new lengths to reinvigorate  the gameplay . The FIFA team continues to amuse us with every FIFA game release.Every year the game dynamics , graphics , gameplay gets one step closer to the REALITY.

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So what’s new in this version? Well our team played some hours of the just released demo version, and here is how it looks.

First thing first — the gameplay.

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EA has always had one goal when they design the gameplay and that is it should be as close to reality as possible.

Well, EA hasn’t disappointed us this time as well.

The most notable difference in FIFA 17 is the attacking. Let it be the build up or the shooting, there is a huge difference as compared to FIFA 16. Let’s break it to you, one by one.

Have you ever shouted on the striker for not making a run while you have the ball in the midfield? FINALLY, EA has fixed that. The off the ball movements are much more visible and frequent. The AI is much better in understanding the situations around them. The players make fake runs to take a defender out of positions and create spaces. FIFA has termed it as constant spatial analysis.

You can now also call a player for support if you will crowded out in the opponent’s half. This is a huge welcome, as now you can hold the ball up and wait for the help rather than just running into defenders. Press R1 on your PlayStation and RB on your XBOX to call a player for support.

If you have played FIFA 16, you may have noticed how through balls were underpowered — specially the air through balls. Guess what, through balls are back. Now you can send a air-through ball to an attacker making run, and in most cases, it will find the target.

A new feature added by EA this time around is the THREADED THROUGH BALL. Curved. Precise. Into space, well that’s how EA describes it. In our experience in the game, we found that threaded through balls were effective in two situations, one when your forward is making a run through a crowded defense and is about to cross the last defender, and second when you have a player making an overlapping run in a wide position.

It’s a great feature and will definitely make the attacking play a lot more fun. However, one must be careful while using this technique, as it is easier to get addicted to, but if your forward has just started the run, you are most likely to lose the ball. Also, the threaded through ball works best with a player whose passing attribute is in higher 80s a.k.a your play makers. Press R1 + triangle on your PlayStations or RB+Y on your XBOX for a threaded through pass.

Another feature that by our own admission we couldn’t test much was the driven goal kicks. EA says it’s a way to start a quick counter attack. Although we couldn’t use it, the AI did use it against us.

It’s safe to say that FIFA 17 has an amazing set of options when it comes to building the play up, allowing us to have more control over the build up and score beautiful team goals.

EA has once again tweaked the physics of collisions and physical interactions between players. Body strength comes into the picture in both defending as well as attacking.

Now you can hold of an attacker to get to the ball by using the new push back tech. This is especially important when you want to control the ball and buy time for a teammate to make a run or get into a supporting position.

Another thing that we noticed is the much improved collision physics. Now the players don’t senselessly run into each other, rather there are across-body tackles and 50/50 battles in order to get the ball.

EA introduced the new protecting the ball technique to hold up the ball in FIFA 16. But rather than helping in the attacking play, it was used by the players as a way to waste time, as it was incredibly hard to get the ball back. Thankfully, that gets a major update this time as now players have to control the direction of the ball as well.

EA is terming it as 360° shield dribble. Now you feel more control over the dribbling as well, and can use it as an excellent way to hold up the ball and protect against a defender until help arrives. Another thumbs up from our side.

In usual dribbling, the movements are much more quicker and sharper, making it easier to dribble past opponents. Specially the players like Hazard(with dribbling stats of 90+) are very agile and can easily beat a defender only by use of the left stick.

One thing which we didn’t like was overpowered pace. EA reduced the pace advantage drastically in FIFA 16, which meant that running with same player over a long distance, no matter how fast, a defender will eventually catch up. This feature made the game a lot more realistic and based on passing.

However, it’s not the case in FIFA 17 anymore, at least in the DEMO. If you have a player with decent pace(88+), it’s likely that a center back will not be able to catch up to you, once you get past him. This also makes the analog sprint a powerful tool in FIFA 17, which is a little ironical given the fact EA added so many features to make the build up better.

Last but another major change is the first touch. It’s much easier to control the ball now, specially with a highly rated player. Even if it’s a long ball over the top, top strikers find it easier to chest it down or even control it with their feet. Driven passes might sometimes get away from you, but as compared to the previous version, first touch is much easier to control.

Another EA game, and another change in the shooting dynamics. Like always EA has once again changed the way you shoot the ball, but this time it’s a big one.

Finesse shots now don’t work from every position. A regular FIFA 16 player would know that once inside the box, a finesse shot generally will end up in the top corner. That simply doesn’t happen in this version. A finesse shot will generally result in a shot with not a lot of power but placement. They were grounded in most of the occasions. Also, finesse shots work better with players with high finishing and shooting stats. Finesse is much less powerful in FIFA 17  and if the goal is to make the game realistic, that does makes sense.

A new introduction is the driven finish. This mechanism lets you keep the ball low in n any situation – finesse, volley, or when simply slotting it home. This will take some time to get used to, but when you do, you will realize it’s the best technique in one on one situations with the keeper, specially when the distance between the striker and the keeper is less. We did try to use it from long distance but were unable to do so(as we said, it’s a little hard to get used to).

The heading also gets an update. Now the crosses are more accurate and EA has given us the freedom to control our header. Taking a leaf out of the reality, now one can hit a downward header, making it harder for the keeper. This worked really well when we tested and surely is a nice tweak by the creators.

Another point worth mentioning is the long distance shoots. It’s much harder to score from distance. The diagonal shots towards goal still works, but defenders are now much more smarter in blocking it and power has to be precise. Also, the distance shot works well with players with higher distance shoot stats, unlike FIFA 16, where it worked with anybody(we did score couple of screamers with Ibrahimovic). We also noticed that the long shots work better from a central positions.

Next comes the single biggest change in FIFA 17, the set pieces. EA brands it as set piece rewrite. Well, it’s safe to say that it’s not an exaggeration.

Starting with the direct free-kicks, the player has all the control over how to approach it. You can customize your run-up which in turns affect the spin on the ball. For example, if you want to hit a knuckleball free kick, you may want to stand just in front of the ball, but if you want to bend the ball around the wall, you can change your starting position to little left or right of the ball.

Though we found it a little hard to get used to, we just loved the new system. It gives you a lot more control and is far better than the previous system, where it was pretty easy to score. We will also like to mention the change in the camera angle, where the the bird’s view later rather than as soon as you hit the ball, giving the free kicks, a great feel.

Coming to penalties, it’s another great change by EA. The composure bar is gone, and just like the free kicks, here also you can control the run up and hit the ball exactly where you want. In the beginning, it does feel a little tough, but after getting a hang of it, it felt much more realistic and more importantly does require a lot of nerves.

Corners and indirect free kicks also have a complete different feel to it. You can exactly decide where to whip the ball to, with a yellow marker. Though we didn’t really score from the corners, we did find it a tad better than previous system.

Lastly, the throw-ins. A not so significant but a welcome change. Now you can move a little bit on the sidelines rather than being static at one position while taking the throw. Also, you can dummy or fake a throw to confuse the opponent. So no more frustrating “throwing the ball away”? Maybe.

Next we talk about the defending and goalkeeping.

Since there have been no new introductions to the defending techniques, we had to rely on the previous tricks only.

But, there have been some changes worth mentioning. The jockey button is much more powerful and useful, and one of the biggest tools you can use while defending.

Another major change is that now you have to tackle to get the ball. In FIFA 16, you can just hold your position and let the opponents run into you. FIFA 17 eliminates that advantage.

Also, the teammate contain button is much more effective and responsive. EA has done a fantastic job in the off the ball movements of the AI and same is the case here.

The goalkeeper is now smarter, and the movements are much more realistic. Now the one hand punches don’t go very far. The keeper also cannot throw the ball past the halfway line, which was a change we liked. We also noticed that goalkeepers now are mistake prone, specially when you put appropriate pressure. However, this might be a bug.

GRAPHICS AND FEEL

The new Frostbite engine is FANTASTIC. The graphics are insane. The players look almost real. The crowd and the stadium are much more prominent and gives a pretty good feel of the atmosphere.

It’s also the first time you see managers on the touch line and it’s a nice change to see the likes of Mourinho, Guardiola, Conte and others reacting to the situation.

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The players reaction to yellow cards, fouls and goals a tad better. Overall, Frostbite engine has improved the game.

VERDICT

The main philosophy behind the FIFA 17 is clearly giving the user more control over the play. In our experience with the demo, it seems like EA did a good job. Apart from minor bugs, the game was amazing to play. The new attacking techniques look amazing, and once the user gets the hang of it, the game promises plenty of goals.

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FIFA 17 totally meets our expectation and the bar setup by the previous versions.

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Aviral Srivastava

112 articles

Pursuing Computer Science Engineering from Bangalore Institute of Technology. Avid sports fan, specially football. A lifelong United supporter.

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