No longer under the FIFA umbrella, EA Sports FC 24 is the first in a new era of soccer video games from EA Sports. Can the franchise still keep its immense hold on the sports gaming world, or will the lack of a FIFA license hold it back from being the best out there?
Fans of the hit FIFA franchise will be relieved to know that EA Sports FC 24 does not try to reinvent the wheel. The same core game modes like manager and player career mode, Ultimate Team, and regular kickoff modes all remain and on the surface are the same as previous versions. There are some tweaks to each, but none that change the core of what makes those modes special.
Both the manager and player career modes have been given some new ways to take more control over their career. Manager mode introduces significantly more control over how players can mold their team. There is now the ability to hire coaches and establish a tactical direction that those coaches can help develop. It isn’t the most in-depth mechanic possible, but it does add a much-appreciated layer to a mode that has remained stale over the years. There is a lot more that EA Sports FC can do to add depth and bring this mode in line with something similar to the Football Manager franchise, but the steps taken this year are a nice start.
In the player career mode, players now have more of a say in where they go with their careers and what their individual goals are. There is a new “target team” option that gives players a team they want to end up with. A much more advanced player agent mechanic helps show if your goals are the best option or not, a new twist on the long-running mode. Setting and fulfilling objectives is key to establishing yourself as a successful player, and while this mode is also not as in-depth as it could be it is a significant step up over previous iterations.
The most popular mode in EA Sports FC 24 is Ultimate Team and it also has the most drastic changes over previous years. Ultimate Team allows players to earn player cards that are put together in a team to create the ultimate dream team of players. Packs can be bought for a chance to earn players, the biggest money-maker for EA Sports FC 24, or the players can be bought individually for in-game coins or earned by completing objectives.
While that whole loop remains the same, what makes EA Sports FC 24 Ultimate Team so drastically different is the inclusion of female players in the mode. It is the first time the men’s and women’s players have been able to play together in the series and makes a massive difference. The more “meta” players in EA Sports FC 24 are the small and agile ones, making many of the new female cards better than even higher-rated men’s counterparts. It isn’t a choice EA Sports FC 24 made or any sort of deliberate aim to try to even out the men’s and women’s games, it is just the natural inclusion of the female players and their physicality and playstyles happen to be the most effective for now.
It’s nice to see how seamlessly the female players are integrated into the previously male-dominated mode. On the field, they feel no different than their male counterparts and fit very well in the overall flow of things. Some general gameplay balance tweaks may change their effectiveness in the future, as these titles often go through many under-the-hood chances, but for now, the combination of men’s and women’s players in Ultimate Team is a resounding success.
Also new to Ultimate Team is player evolutions. Evolutions are objective-based goals that help upgrade some of the base Ultimate Team cards. There are some really useful evolutions that can drastically improve lower-rated players and aren’t too difficult to complete either. It would be nice to see some more depth and options added to evolutions in the future, although they are off to a great start conceptually.
Beyond changes to the different game modes, EA Sports FC 24 promises new gameplay animations and an even more realistic feel thanks to their new HyperMotionV and PlayStyles. Instead of using canned motion capture, EA Sports FC 24 uses real-life data and video to create the most realistic gameplay experience yet. The change is noticeable right from the start, but it still needs some tweaking. Some of the motions still feel a bit odd and can be overpowered at times. Goalkeeping specifically suffers greatly and too many easy goals are allowed while the new systems find their footing, but that is expected to improve as the game is balanced over time.
EA Sports FC 24 shows the franchise has no intention of slowing down without the FIFA license. New tweaks to popular game modes and a brand new player animation system help bring the franchise into a new era. There is still some room for improvement, but the current package is more than enough for soccer fans to enjoy.
EA Sports FC 24 is available now on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
EA Sports FC 24
EA Sports FC 24 shows the franchise has no intention of slowing down without the FIFA license. New tweaks to popular game modes and a brand new player animation system help bring the franchise into a new era.