FIFA is EA Sport’s most successful franchise on Xbox One. Each year brings a new football season, bringing with it another iteration of the globally adored football game, FIFA. FIFA 17 looks to be one of the more ambitious instalments, with a new game engine and a new story mode called The Journey being the headliners.

FIFA 17 launches on the 27th September in North America, and 29th September everywhere else. Xbox One users who have taken advantage of EA Access will be able to play the game earlier, however. But what’s it all about and what can we expect from FIFA 17?

The Journey

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The Journey is EA Sport’s newest game mode. You play as Alex Hunter, an up and coming football star. You can pick from any Premier League club to play for, however in all of the trailers we have seen so far Alex Hunter has always been playing for the Red Devils, Manchester United.

We don’t know exactly how deep the story aspect of the game mode will go, however it is said to have taken inspiration from games such as Mass Effect. There are a large number of cut-scenes and decisions to be made by young Alex Hunter, as he rises up through the ranks of the youth team, breaks into the first XI and hopefully earns a call up to the national team!

Another new feature of The Journey is the ability to partake in press conferences, presumably before and after big games. The answers you give to the press will influence your status amongst fans, teammates, and your manager. These are massively dynamic scenarios and are a welcome change to the linear Manager Mode press conferences which have been stagnant and stale for a few years now.

Frostbite Engine

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The Frostbite Engine is the latest game engine from EA. Star Wars: Battlefront runs on Frostbite 3.0, and that has some of the smoothest visuals of any game this generation.

The Frostbite engine upgrade for FIFA 17, along with EA Sport’s dedication to providing authentic game faces for every player in the Premier League, will provide some really authentic visuals. EA Sports have said that “Frostbite delivers heightened realism for characters on and off the pitch.” Now, whether that’s a reference to The Journey and the decisions you make off the pitch, or whether they’re talking about managers, we don’t know, we’ll have to wait and see.

Authentic Managers

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Long gone are the days of generic managers standing on the sidelines with their hands in their pockets. For the first time, managers will be authentic and in the game for FIFA 17. You’ll be able to see the raw emotions displayed by Mourinho, Klopp, Wenger, and Guardiola on the sidelines of FIFA 17.

We’re hoping that these transfer over to regular Career mode and the ever-popular Ultimate Team, not making them exclusive to The Journey.

Ultimate Team

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FIFA’s most popular game mode. We can expect EA to continue milking the micro-transaction cow for as long as there is FIFA from now on. FIFA 17 will be no different with seemingly more and more development time and focus spent on Ultimate Team compared to any other mode in the past few years. Legends will maintain their Xbox exclusivity meaning you can only find the highest quality players from days gone by on Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Set Piece Rewrites

This announcement was probably my least favourite. I pride myself on my Free Kick prowess, and I feel that this rewrite will mean I won’t be as deadly from set pieces as before. However, I might be wrong. FIFA 17 revitalises an old feature and brings back the crosshair system for the longer range indirect free kicks. You will also have complete control over your player’s positioning on the run up to throw ins, free kicks, and penalties, meaning you now have more options than ever before to keep your opponent guessing and really own every moment.

Active Intelligence System

With each FIFA comes another gimmicky way to say they’ve improved the A.I. and FIFA 17 is no different! The “Active Intelligence System” will ensure that your players are making better runs and creating more space than ever before…in theory.

In the past, FIFA hasn’t exactly played anywhere near true to life. FIFA 17 boasts new animations for player runs and having studied Marco Reus’ runs and attacking positioning, attacking options in FIFA 17 should be much more realistic and authentic.

Physical Play Overhaul

EA Sports have been busy analysing and studying the very best footballers in world football…and Eden Hazard. All jokes aside it looks like this could be a very positive addition to the FIFA world, as currently the physical side of the game, the hold up play and defending in general is in a bit of a bad spot.

The pushback technology that they’ve added seems to solve the problem of losing the ball  before you’ve even received the pass, something which has plagued FIFA for a long, long time.

FIFA 17 seems to be one of the most innovative iterations in years, and all of the above is confirmed to be in FIFA 17. There are several other features and upgrades that we are hoping for, namely some more attention, love, and care for some of the lesser played modes such as Career Mode and Pro Clubs, but that remains to be seen.

FIFA 17 is available early on Xbox One with EA Access, and we can’t wait to get back out onto the pitch.

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