Times Digital Download: FIFA 19
November 8, 2018 | 2:52 PM
by Gautam Viswanathan

It’s weird how FIFA games that have next year’s date release this year, but honestly, that seldom matters to gamers who play FIFA. Because compared to the great gameplay you can enjoy with the world’s biggest footballing game, this is but a teeny, tiny aberration. EA Sports FIFA 19 is available to now download on computers and consoles, and can now be bought in stores as well.

Having now gained a reputation for some of the best games in the world, such as Mass Effect, Need for Speed, Dragon Age and several of the Star Wars games, EA Sports have once again brought in a raft of changes to what is now arguably the world’s leading football simulation game. If it wasn’t before, it certainly is now.

For one, for the first time since the game’s inception, the UEFA Champions League and Europa League are now officially a part of the game, replacing the watered-down European Champions Cup and Euro League that served has placeholders in previous titles. It’s the same with the UEFA European Championships, which take place every year, as well as the UEFA Super Cup, the annual one-off game that takes place at the start of every season between the Champions League and Europa League winners.

The orchestral music that heralds the start of every Champions League match – you know the one, the chant which gives you goose pimples and makes your hair stand on end – an integral part of what makes the tournament one of the world’s best, is also a part and parcel of FIFA 19, and adds a whole other level to the game, which elevates it to a level that simply wasn’t there previously. The team of Derek Rae and the legendary former Arsenal fullback Lee Dixon now provide commentary for all European matches in the tournament, providing a fresh perspective, as well as a welcome break, from the expert team of regular commentators Martin Tyler and Alan Smith.

The entire physics of the game has also been given an overhaul, after EA received complaints about the previous version of the game being too simple, even at its highest level – Legendary – and another tier of difficulty has now been added above that. In addition, player morale and form plays a huge part in how a game pans out. A poor first touch, for example, taken midway through an attacking build-up, can not only scupper your move, but can put you in a rather awkward position of reclaiming possession because you’ve now lost the ball.

In addition, how you connect with the ball could determine whether a shot that you hope finds the back of the net, actually makes its way past the goalkeeper, or flies off his boot into a delirious audience. Similarly, putting pressure on a player who is about to cross the ball could make him lose his cool, making his mental strength just as or even more important than physical ability or technical skills.

There’s also a bit more for gamers who buy FIFA to play Career Mode. In fact, a passion of those who play the game is to take a team from obscurity and earn the right to play among the best. England’s League Two, because of the number of tiers you need to climb up, is best for this, but the German 3rd Liga, which made its first appearance in FIFA 18, is also back. If you are looking to scout quality players, whether unheralded or universally known, you can now check out the Chinese Super League, which is also part of the game.

Several new teams have also been included in the Rest of the World clutch of teams. With the Russian league no longer a part of the game, CSKA Moscow, Lokomotiv Moscow and Dynamo Moscow are all present. Joining them are Ukrainian teams Dynamo Kiev and Shakhtar Donetsk, as well as Czech teams Sparta and Slavia Prague, and Viktoria Plzen.

FIFA 19 is definitely an improvement on past titles in the series – whatever part of the game you choose to pursue – and is definitely worth a buy this weekend. Or any other – [email protected]

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