It’s that time of the year again where the domestic leagues are in full bloom and footy fans are clamoring for the newest edition of FIFA — errrrr EA Sports FC 24. With a complete rebrand, EA has tantalized us with tidbits and insights as to what will be coming, but now that EA FC 24 has released we get to sit down, have a kick-about, and see what’s really improved since we last saw this FIFA.
As a reminder, all reviews are based on default gameplay so no adjustments to sliders are factored in.
EA Sports FC 24 Review
What I Like
Tactical Visions & Coach Management In Career Mode
If there’s a bright spot in EA Sports FC 24 it’s these new additions, Playstyles, and Tactical Visions. If you’re unfamiliar with Tactical Visions, it’s a fairly simple concept where you, acting as the manager within career mode, set the ideology by which your team will play. There are seven options to choose from:
- Standard – A balanced approach to a match.
- Wing Play – Using the full width of the pitch with overlapping fullbacks
- Pick-up – Possession-based. Lots of passing and chances to play the ball to attackers running in behind the defensive line.
- Counter-Attack – Defensive style with a focus on fast attacking once the ball is regained.
- Gegenpressing – The team tries to win the ball back in the opponent’s half as quickly as possible.
- Kick and Rush – Utilizes the strength of players. Allows players to move the ball forward quickly to the strikers behind the defenders.
- Park the Bus – Heavy focus on defending. Designed to throttle any attacking opportunities before attempting to move forward.
Personally I’m more of a Wing Play manager, but luckily you’re not married to a particular style as you can change it on the fly as you see fit. It doesn’t stop there though seeing as though you can tell your scouts to go out and find you players that fit into your style. This is a noble approach that many real-life clubs could benefit from, cough cough Chelsea. Once you find your sweet spot, it’s up to you to find staff that mirror your approach.
These coaches that comprise your staff end up playing a huge role in how your players develop and come together, especially as you start diving deeper into Training Plans. I applaud EA here for striking a nice balance in requiring just the right amount of effort to provide some depth while also not being too overbearing.
What I Don’t Like
Player movement and responsiveness have long been EA’s issue when it comes to this franchise, and unfortunately EA FC 24 suffers from the same ol’ issues. Player movement, whether it be in attack or defense, suffers from a lack of foot-planting. I’ve been very critical of HyperMotion since its introduction, and rightfully so because the technology can’t even get the basic locomotion fundamentals correct as players glide across the pitch, swivel their hips unnaturally, and perform movements that should have been stamped out ages ago. And this is all for the sake of responsiveness when it comes to button input. In normal years, this issue primarily plagues the attackers, but there’s just something about defending and how players jockey that looks very unsettling as well.
Until EA slows the game down some and rethinks their approach to locomotion, this series will continue to look stunning at a standstill but quickly fall apart once the ball is kicked.
Defending & Goalkeepers
Since the move a few years ago to manual defending, the defensive side of the beautiful game has turned into an ugly nightmare. Not only are your AI teammates once again worthless when it comes to the basics of defending (tracking runners, marking attackers vs space, etc.), the actual tackling mechanic has been changed on default from “Tactical” to “Advanced” defending, which is intended to give you more freedom in the tackle (shoulder barge/charge vs. standing tackle).
While I appreciate more freedom in my choice of tackle, there’s just too much input delay on the actual tackle button to mitigate the super-agile attackers. I know the difficulty in trying to cram 90 minutes of real-life action into a 10-20 minute match, but the deficient defending principles in EA FC 24 lead to the inflated score lines, especially on the higher difficulty levels where the AI is much more lethal in front of goal.
Lastly, when speaking of the defense I have to bring up how overpowered the knock-on flick is for attackers and the inability for any defender to keep up with the attacker. With the emphasis on sprint types and player acceleration models, I’m sure we’ll see some sort of balancing enacted by way of a future patch.
As your last line of defense — and one that is primarily controlled by the AI — goalkeepers suffer from the same issues that plagued them in last year’s iteration. Once again they are terrible at stopping shots at their near post as they flap around aimlessly on shots that should be easily parried out of harm’s way.
To compound the issue, shots hit directly at them find the back of the net way too frequently. Nothing is more frustrating than thinking your keeper has an easy save only to see them try their best to move out of the way. When it comes to keepers, there’s always that idea in the back of my head that goals are not natural and are actually pre-determined the minute they leave the attacker’s boot. On numerous occasions I’ve seen keepers go into some sort of post-save reaction animation when the ball is still in play.
Attacking AI & Lack Of Midfield Play
Pinch me if you’ve heard this before but once again the attacking AI in this series suffers from a lack of variety in the way they play. It’s almost as if Erik ten Hag was in control of every CPU team because the attacks are highly predictable: simply get the ball up the pitch as fast as possible, bypassing the midfield to either look for a through ball in behind (taking advantage of the poor AI) or getting the ball out wide where the wide players will dribble to the byline, turn around, dribble back to the byline, and then cut a pass back while never once even thinking about sending in an air cross.
In a normal match of football, if you win the midfield battle your chances of taking something from the match increase, but in EA Sports FC 24 the lack of any presence in the midfield is disheartening. Defensively, they are simply bodies on the screen happy to be part of the team. They don’t engage attackers. They don’t track runners. They don’t even like to defend within their own box where it seems like some sort of force-field prevents them from entering the box at times. Just watch Moises Caicedo (#25 in blue on Chelsea) here completely ignore the run made by Inter Milan’s Nico Barella:
Bugs, Bugs, Bugs
It’s always perfectly reasonable to expect a few bugs here and there when the new FIFA/EA Sports FC drops, but this year the amount of bugs is highly concerning. Everything from Pro Clubs drop-in matchmaking being dodgy to career mode negotiation oddities seem to rear their ugly heads this year. I’m also not even factoring in the head-scratching issue with the substitute bench only goes seven deep despite the bench limit being expanded for a few years now. The bugs just seem endless this yearand I’m not just referring to the visual ones.
It’s almost as if the only noticeable difference between FIFA 23 and EA Sports FC 24 is the actual name change. While everything away from the pitch mostly shines (apart from the aforementioned bugs), the action on the pitch does its best to remind us that EA is not serious about making a football simulation. Instead, EA just wants to monetize their cash cow. If there’s one thing we know, it’s that EA will patch this game to smithereens, but this year’s game is going to have the slider makers working overtime to squeeze something out of EA Sports FC 24.