One of the big new changes that comes to FIFA 17 is EA’s adoption of the Battlefield series’ Frostbite engine to bring a new level of physics-based gameplay to the pitch. While the Ignite engine that was initially implemented in FIFA 14 had upped the pace and fluidity of the action on the pitch, Frostbite will bring far more.
With the new Journey game mode (which we’ll talk more about later), you’ll be spending a lot more time off the pitch in FIFA 17’s new story mode. Frostbite makes the most of this and adds a ton of extra detail into dressing rooms, stadiums, and offices. Of course, most of the fun to be had comes when controlling your players on the pitch, and Frostbite makes FIFA 17 more realistic than before with authentic, true-to-life action, in the form of emotion and personalities from players. It’s also used to help power the new active intelligence system and set-piece plays too, but more on that shortly.
The Journey is FIFA 17’s biggest and boldest new addition to the series. Aiming to put players into the life of an up and coming prodigy both on and off the pitch, The Journey is far more in-depth than the series’ old Be a Pro mode.
The Journey sees players assume the role of Alex Hunter at any club in the Premier League as he aims to make his mark in the Premier League. Just as the old Be a Pro mode allowed you to control just one player on their quest to become the biggest and best player of all time, The Journey provides you with the option of controlling Hunter, or the rest of the team, if you prefer to have full control of the reigns.
Both your decisions on and off the pitch will affect your relationship with your manager and fellow teammates. What you say in post-match interviews, in the dressing room, or your tactical decisions on the pitch could help or hinder you in the future. The Journey is the first time that the FIFA series has truly delved into a fleshed-out story mode, with major player choices and interactions.
New Legends Added
While this won’t apply for PlayStation soccer fans, FIFA 17 adds a number of new players to the Legends roster. Available to use in Ultimate Team, Legends are the very best players of all time brought back to life and available for you to add into your Ultimate Team.
They’re incredibly rare players and will more than likely require you to open a heck of a lot of packs in Ultimate Team to get one, but boy will they make a difference to your team. If you want to check out all 10 of the new additions in FIFA 17’s Legends complete with stats, you can check them out here.
Rosters and Ratings
A bit of a given, but with every new title that releases, EA spends countless hours updating each squad’s rosters, bringing through the new young talent that has emerged through their youth programs, and removing the now-retired players. Transfers and players who have gone on loan since the release of the previous year’s game are also made.
What many fans will be more interested about, however, is the new ratings for players both in terms of the normal game mode, and the incredibly popular Ultimate Team mode. Finding the right players with the correct attributes to match your style of play in Ultimate Team can make a huge difference when taking on your opponents. It’s also recently been revealed that Messi is no longer the highest-rated player in the game, as Cristiano Ronaldo takes top spot.
Active Intelligence System
Have you ever found yourself desperately making a last-minute run down the pitch, chased by your opposition with no support from your AI teammates only to get tackled and see that win slip away from your fingertips? Yeah, you’re not alone, but FIFA 17 aims to resolve this issue with the Active Intelligence System.
This fancy name essentially means that players will have better spacial awareness when they’re off the ball. They’ll make better runs, track back more effectively when defending, and move, read, and react to the flow of the game in a more natural manner. You’ll now have the option to set a player off on a fake or stunt run, or call for the ball when supporting one of the AI players in an attack.
Soccer is a physical sport and often sees players battling it out for possession and the right position on the pitch. While these often felt a little robotic in previous titles in the series, FIFA 17 aims to resolve this with an overhaul on physical play. The new Pushback Tech allows for a greater level of control in trapping, dribbling, physics, and defending.
Player interactions no longer look oddly similar regardless of the complete contrast of events, you now have full 360-degree shielding options to fend off your opponents be it a defensive or offensive situation, and reactions look just as life-like as they do when watching the live action on your TV.
New Attacking Possibilities
There were already a number of options and abilities you could build up an attack in FIFA, but there were still some techniques that the stars were making that hadn’t quite transferred over to their virtual counterparts.
FIFA 17 opens up a new range of possibilities, providing players with options to volley, finesse, or slot the ball home with a driven finish, or head the ball downwards. In terms of buildup play, you now have the ability to thread a through ball with precision and curve, allowing your buildup to play out just as it did in your mind.
Set-pieces are one of the most important and influential aspects of a game… when they’re done right, that is. FIFA 17 has completely rewritten the way that Free Kicks, Penalties, Corners, and Throw-Ins now work, allowing for more control and precision when executing each.
Penalties now allow you to control your run up, allowing you to keep the keeper guessing until the very last minute and allowing you to pinpoint where you want the ball to go. Corner kicks have been redesigned to allow you to cross the ball in with precision, and take control of a player in the box to perfect their run and finish. Direct free kicks, much like penalties, give the player complete freedom in your run up meaning you can hit the ball with the outside of the foot, or go for an all-out power shot to beat the wall. Finally, throw-ins now give you the option to fake throw, and deliver the ball quickly to your teammate, preventing these set-pieces from being so easy to read by your opponent.
It’s a big change to get used to in FIFA 17 from the previous titles, but a welcome one when you begin to learn the ropes.
FIFA 17 actually has a few different release dates depending on where you are and whether or not you have an EA Access subscription. For those of you who are an EA Access subscriber, you can actually start playing the full game right now as part of the 10-hour trial offered by EA’s service.
If you’re not an Access subscriber you don’t have much longer to wait. If you’re a North American resident, FIFA 17 will release tomorrow, Sept. 27, meanwhile, the rest of the world will have to wait until Sept. 29 to head back out onto the pitch.