So, here we go again. Another year. Another Season. Another FIFA. It’s a regular fixture these days in the yearly calendar, especially on the already established bases of the Playstation, Xbox and PC platforms. However, for the Nintendo Switch, it’s still a relatively new experience; especially with the ability to play on the go. Last year’s release gave us Switch owners a pretty solid experience in the world of FIFA and although it didn’t quite match up to its bigger brethren, the novelty of playing FIFA in the variety of ways that the Switch allows, was a welcome one. Each year, Electronic Arts present us with a new title and updated rosters, sometimes with some sort of overhaul or addition, other times they merely give us re-hashes of old titles with the only change being the yearly update in the title. So with FIFA 19 now seeing a release on the Switch, is it an old wolf in the same clothing, or have EA built on what they started last year?
Upon loading and playing, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that nothing much has changed here. Using the same ignite engine as last year, everything still largely remains the same, at least in terms of how the game looks. There are some minor glimpses of polish in player animations, looks and ball physics, but overall, there’s nothing here that instantly stands out; even the commentators still ramble on about the same old things and the menus remain largely untouched. However, the action on the pitch is still as entertaining as it ever was and, for a device that allows you to play FIFA on the go, still retains that footballing experience that we have all grown to love. Rosters have been updated, as well as kits, which is something that you would normally expect anyway.
As with last years version of the game, there’s no Journey component, but in all honesty, it’s not really a necessary inclusion. Career mode and Ultimate Team make a welcome return, but again, nothing has been substantially improved on here and basically offers you the same experience as FIFA 18. In terms of building on the original, or bringing us Switch owners something substantially different from last year, it’s not looking too good is it? However, there have been a couple of new inclusions and tweaks, which although not entirely convincing in justifying an upgrade, do present the definitive version of emulating club football. The biggest selling point has to be the addition of the Champion’s League, Europa Cup and Super League competitions. By obtaining the licence for Europe’s premier cup competition, EA can now finally give us the whole package when it comes to emulating the full club season.
It can’t be denied that the whole experience now delivers a richer feel to the proceedings. Being able to play, manage and take your team to highest tiers possible is a rewarding inclusion; even Ultimate Team has the option to participate within the cream of European football. It certainly does add to the overall gameplay of FIFA 19, but on the Switch, is it really enough? In my view it is, but only just. As well as now presenting us with the Champions League, this switch version of the game does contain a few other new additions; though they don’t really match the grandeur of its biggest lure. Kick Off mode now includes House Rules, allowing you to add some extra features to the customisation of matches; a feature that particularly stands out when playing in local mutliplayer.
In short, there are five new rules which alters the way you play the game. Survival Mode sees you losing a player with every goal you score, Long Range doubles your score with each goal scored from outside the box, No Rules is a free-for-all scrap with no offsides, fouls or bookings, First to…allows you to set custom rules with how to achieve victory and Headers & Volleys only allows goals that are scored off the head or through a volley; although free-kicks and penalties still stand. There are also a number of other options such as Best of Series that determines a winner over a set number of matches and Home & Away which offers two legs, as well as Cup Finals, which emulates playing within the final of a number of cup competitions. I wouldn’t say that there’s anything significant here, but all the same, they do offer something different and are extremely fun to play.
The ability to play with friends over an online connection has also been added, something that was sorely missed from last year’s game and is sure to be an inclusion that pleases many Switch owning fans of FIFA; offering a five-match, trackable series of games to determine the overall winner. But as far as anything else being new to this year’s game, apart from a couple of extra leagues and presentational values, there really isn’t much else. Obviously, when compared to the same game on the other platforms, this Switch version still falls woefully short, which in my book is pretty inexcusable. There’s no Squad Battles or FUT Champions events in ultimate team, creating a much flatter experience for what is, arguably, FIFA’s biggest mode. Sure, there are still cup competitions and leagues, both online and off, but with only a limited amount of options with which to play, it does make the whole ultimate team experience more of a slog that its bigger brethren.
Although aesthetically, the game doesn’t contain anything that stands out as being particularly new or different from last year’s game, the inclusion of a couple of gameplay tweaks have made it into this Switch version. The new Timed Finishing mechanic is here, allowing you produce a more powerful and refined shot with a perfectly timed second press of the shoot button, but to be honest with you, it doesn’t really add much to the game. There’s also a new method of executing a goal kick, but again it doesn’t really add anything new, in fact, I’d go as far as to say that it’s more a step back than forwards.
Overall, FIFA 19 for the Switch can only be best described as a game of two halves. Fortunately, it isn’t just a re-hash of last year’s game with a new title, but then again, its new inclusions and additions aren’t really enough to produce an exciting and new game. The biggest question that surrounds this version of the game has to be, is there enough to warrant an upgrade from last year’s offering? At the end of the day, that’s your choice, depending on whether you need updated rosters, kits and stats, or if you really want the most definitive emulation of the full club football season. However, if you want my opinion, then I’d say that is enough here, but only just. There is enough here to keep me playing throughout this season, but come next year, it will be very interesting to see what direction EA take with FIFA on the Switch. That one will be the decider in whether EA score a home goal or finally give Switch owners the premier league of football that they so richly deserve.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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FIFA 19 Review
Gameplay - 7/10
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Replay Value - 7/10
User Review( votes)
Although not a complete re-hash of last year’s title, FIFA 19 on the Nintendo Switch is simply a game of two halves.