EA Sports FC 24 Review (PS5) – As someone who has played every entry of FIFA from its inception, it’s surreal to now refer to the franchise as FC 24. A change in name for a decades old, legendary franchise is a significant change in and of itself, that will certainly take some getting used to.
FC 24 marks a new era, and with that is an opportunity for EA’s football simulator to make significant changes to not only its name, but to the gameplay, and what we expect from the annualised franchise.
EA Sports FC 24 Review (PS5) – The More Things Change The More They Stay The Same
Breaking The Lines
It is often said that each new iteration of FIFA that the game largely remains the same, year in, year out. The same issues and exploits tend to hobble on; into the following years entry, without many significant changes to the gameplay itself.
That criticism will be made more apparent because it feels like we should be entering a new era for the football sim. However, whilst the gameplay will be very familiar to fans, with its simulator-first style approach, there are some noticeable differences that give FC 24 a different feel, and a fresh coat of paint.
The new batch of animations and skill moves are visually very impressive. Seeing individual players mannerisms captured in great detail, with accuracy is awesome. It’s perhaps the most eye catching and distinct evolution the series has increasingly made over the years.
FC 24’s Hyper-Motion 2 system and its physics system can collide in ways that make for frustrating results, especially when it comes to definitively winning the ball off of your opponent. Seeing your defensive structure and discipline crumble due to a random ricochet or player stuck in animation can be highly aggravating.
It feels like lateral passing is back in a big way. “Sweating it” as it is known, or simply passing sideways, is not only an optimal way to score goals again, it now also works as a way to effectively break the lines all too often. Combining this with players who boast high dribbling stats can make for a frustrating time when defending.
With all that being said, performing skill moves successfully, beating your man, scoring a screamer, or combining intricate passes for a total football-like pattern of play feels great, and that’s the closest many of us will come to replicating the beautiful game.
On the face of it, the most apparent change is in FC 24’s money printing, flagship mode, Ultimate Team. It’s difficult to not see across social media that female players are now available in the same pool as the male players in Ultimate Team, and as a result have comparable stats.
Whilst at first this might be jarring for players, it’s hard to argue that the inclusion of these players won’t help popularise them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve discovered a wonder kid, an obscure talent, or found new favourite players on previous FIFA games, or become more consciously aware of them, when watching the sport itself.
Credit where credit is due, as this goes a long way into bringing awareness and fans to the women’s game. Unfortunately the mode itself does still feel like a battle of who has the deepest pockets, rather than one of skill.
The evolution mechanic is interesting. This mechanic lets you build your current, perhaps more mediocre player cards into world class talents by completing challenges, which is a great idea, but not allowing them to be traded on its market brings it just shy of a meaningful change.
It remains fun to build a fantasy team of current greats, legends of the game, and now female players, but sadly without a truly viable in-game market and economy, the best and fastest way to achieve that is through buying packs.
A New Era For Clubs
Whilst the most apparent differences appear to be in the mixed-gender teams in ultimate team, I think the most drastic changes can be found in FC 24’s Club mode, formerly known as Pro Clubs.
Let me start by saying this mode has long since been my go to when it comes to EA’s football simulator. Some years I have nearly exclusively played just this mode, and the recipe had gotten stale. Working through divisions with nothing to work towards beyond silverware and levelling up your own player was derivative.
Thankfully, they’ve slightly changed the way you build your player with new play style, and play style+ slots to customise your player to a more exact spec that you would like. Having different builds in different positions, or just variations of the same positions specialising in different aspects of your game, feels more meaningful as a result.
On top of that, they’ve changed the league structure by halving the divisions from ten to five, and doing away with relegation, with everyone working toward placing as high as possible to compete against each other for silverware.
A change mostly welcomed as the previous structure felt repetitive, and most teams could be found in the in the depths on the lower divisions. However, relegation is a key part of football and removing that feels angled towards skill based matchmaking, rather than staying true to the fundamentals of the beautiful game.
Starting a new club and working your way up again, use to be a way to avoid the ludicrously long queue times. With the inclusion of cross play, I’m hopeful those days are behind us. Not to mention, part of the clubs rework is building up the club itself.
Gaining fans by winning games, promotion, and cups will see you increase your popularity level which will see you unlock cosmetics for your club. Its definitely nice to have a prize track of sorts to work towards, and I’m hoping this is just the beginning.
Pro clubs as it was once known, has needed some attention, and hopefully we get more with each iteration. For example; CPU generated players need distinct builds, traits, and archetypes would go a long way for those of us who don’t have a full XI of friends to field a game with.
It’s A Short Career
When it comes to FC 24’s career mode, the series’ longest serving mode, it remains largely the same. Managing your favourite team and leading them to glory that they might not experience in reality is fun for a while, but it can get dull rather quickly these days.
The novelty of setting up scouting networks, or negotiating with clubs over transfers and players with wages and bonuses, etc. wears off pretty quickly. You will quickly find yourself delegating these tasks.
Career mode needs some love and attention, as it pales in comparison to something with depth, such as Football Manager. Over the years FIFA has increasingly become a social experience, but they could wade into the football manager simulator market, with their longest serving game mode.
On the other hand, FC 24’s most modern game mode; Volta, beyond some aesthetic alterations, also feels completely unchanged. Volta remains a halfway house between its current football simulator, and the iconic FIFA Street. The potential for both modes is high, and hopefully in this new era, they will get the improvements they deserve.
Even after EA’s divorce with FIFA, the authenticity across the board is unrivalled. Player likeness, most leagues, teams, and even player mannerisms as mentioned above, FC 24 feels more authentic than ever before. If that was ever a concern, it can safely be put to bed.
Not only the most visually impressive entry into the series, but the audio is at its best too. Hitting the net, the punch behind a well driven pass, a top class save, and crowd chants all sound the best they ever have, adding to an already impressive level of realism.
I have to give a shoutout to the OST, as they have nailed the song choices, that always seem to successfully capture the culture of football and the diversity of the sport every year.
Inversely, the commentators can feel a bit dull and unexcited, which often works against the exciting football being played. It might be time for new voices in the commentary box. I can’t be the only one who wants to hear the artistry that is Peter Drury’s commentary when I’m playing FC 24, or at least whatever noises it is that Gary Neville makes.
I unfortunately have to report that FC 24 is quite buggy in its current state. I have run into various glitches where the game freezes up, forcing me back to the home screen, mislabeled celebrations not corresponding with their animations, or constantly changing my players name from each game to the next, and more. Hopefully these bugs will be patched with a day one update.
EA’s FC 24 has enough subtle differences to make for a solid iteration in the annualised franchise, but doesn’t entirely make the more drastic changes we might have expected to come with the name change. Divorcing itself from FIFA does set EA’s FC for a very interesting future, and FC 24 is a good starting point.
EA Sports FC 24 is available now on PS5.
Review code kindly provided by publisher.