FIFA 19 [Review] / NBA 2K19 [Gamescast]: World Star.
Geekdom Gamescast listeners! We have a special bonus for you. Seeing how September had an onslaught of hits your peeps Myke & Moody had to cover on the last show — Spider-Man, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Destiny 2: Forsaken, etc. — (which you can listen to here, if you haven’t) we decided to separate our NBA 2K19 review segment. Yeah, unlike most video game podcasters– we like our sportsball. If you’re on the fence about either 2K19 or FIFA 19, you’ll want to peep the special pod as we break down both sports sequels’ new additions, mode improvements and advance in gameplay mechanics…
You can also download the NBA 2K19/FIFA 19 Gamescast HERE (or right-click this link and use “Save Link As” to download to your computer).
But that’s not all…
Funny enough, I was rewarded a review code for FIFA 19 just a couple days after recording the show. Late but no complaint! Having not played the series the past 2-years, thus missing out on Alex Hunter’s famed “Journey”, I was curious. This year’s World Cup had me urging for some video game soccer, and the FIFA 19 demo (which I break down in the tailend of the Gamescast just above) hit all the right spots, giving futbol diehards a tease of the new UEFA Champions League Mode; but only that– a tease. The first thing I did with the retail copy was hit the new league addition hard, taking coverboy Cristiano Ronaldo (who, IRL, suffered a recent red card and won’t be gearing up for today’s Champions League contest against the Young Boys) and Juventus all the way to the trophy. It was pretty glorious, having several rivetting, heart-stopping competitive contests with major clubs such as Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and FC Barcelona until fully getting the handle of hurtin’ the A.I. on Semi-Pro. By the end, FIFA 16‘s coverboy Messi and his Real Madrid had no chance.
I’ve always enjoyed the way EA’s FIFA series feels, and this one has made tremendous strides since the last time I took the pitch. The field pacing feels natural, players, stronger and more physical than previous installments, also express more emotion during the game and not solely through cutscenes. My biggest issue with actual gameplay is how similar all of my A.I. opponents felt; it’s as if every team in every mode had the same strategy, only some with bigger/lesser tier talents. It would be great if clubs emulated their play style as in real life, but, hey, maybe that’s for FIFA 20. In addition to Champions League, EA also snatched the Europa League license. Alongside traditional FIFA mouthpieces Martin Tyler and Alan Smith, League specific commentators Derek Rae and Lee Dixon are a nice new addition. The presentation also varies per league and per mode, ranging from traditional EA FIFA to Sky Sports-esque. It’s ultra-pleasing.
As usual, FIFA 19 continues their Pro Club, Career Mode and FUT (FIFA Ultimate Team) modes, but, new League inclusions to these modes aside, not much here has changed. That’s a bummer for diehards looking to evolve with modes they’ve been playing annually for years, but likely won’t be a big deal to the casual player. Due to time restraints (and receiving the review copy late), I only further tested the third season of The Journey. I love it! Playing FIFA‘s story mode makes me wonder why I didn’t grab the game on the cheap the last couple Black Friday’s; the acting, animation and script are all admirable for a sportsball title, and I’m sincerely thankful for the recaps that caught me up to speed. Playing as three different, yet related, characters — GTA V style — is pretty fantastic; and EA even gives you a recommended path, in case you desire to take on Kim Hunter or Danny Williams’ subplots instead. Giving the ability to alter appearance and change wardrobe (both on the field and off) is a major plus, as well.
If you, like yours truly, haven’t picked up a soccer game in a while and curious how the series has progressed, you’ll enjoy and appreciate FIFA 19‘s improved on-field authenticity and new Champions League inclusion. 4.25/5