As FIFA 18 is drawing to a close, FIFA 19 is now just around the corner – promising gamers the best in realistic and exciting footballing action on our consoles. As an avid FIFA player I always look forward to the month’s preceding release date as new, exciting and potentially revolutionary features are announced. With that in mind, here are 7 of the most exciting new features coming to FIFA 19.
1. Active Touch
It’s the 90th minute. Your team are 2-1 down going into the closing stages of the game and you are pushing forward with everything left in the tank to try and clinch that last minute equaliser. You have the best in footballing talent on the pitch, but even Cristiano Ronaldo is susceptible to a FIFA fan’s worst nightmare – awful touches!
At any point in an intense match of FIFA your players can occasionally seem to lose all skill and fumble a touch, scrambling to get the ball under their control, and the next thing you know your opponent has a firm grip on possession. Active Touch is here to change the way your players react to taking touches of the ball, hopefully ensuring that you effectively traverse the pitch with the ball at your feet.
In essence, Active Touch is a flashy name for a pretty simple, but effective, system that EA are keen to educate us on. Whenever your player receives the ball or takes another touch, you will have the opportunity to add a bit of flair or creativity into your play, leaving defenders in your wake and opening up more chances, especially in the attacking third. Body feints, fake shots, flicks, traps and more are all included under the wide Active Touch umbrella, so now we should be able to use our creative minds in a more beneficial way on the pitch.
Of course, not any old bloke playing for Carlisle United can pull off the more advanced manoeuvres: you’ll need someone of the Neymar or Kevin de Bruyne ilk for that. But Active Touch will certainly come in useful wherever and whenever you need to open up the pitch and push on for another goal.
2. Timed Finishing
Another new gameplay feature that EA Sports showed off soon after FIFA 19 was announced is Timed Finishing, something that if used correctly can revolutionise the way players shoot from all areas of the pitch. What it lacks in a suave name it definitely makes up for in importance, especially if you are someone who likes nothing more than a sweetly hit shot on goal.
Most effective when attempted from long range, Timed Finishing requires you to press the shot button as usual, and then again when the player attempting the shot makes contact with the ball. Timing this to perfection will result in your player hitting the ball as sweet as a nut, but fail and the chances are the ball will end up in Row Z. Take the risk and perform well, and you’ll be hitting the back of the net more times than you expect. But as with many things in FIFA mastering Timed Finishing will require practice and patience. An indication of whether you have been successful in your shot is the triangle above your player flashing green, but if you decide to use the Trainer to help, a useful bar will show up also.
Timed Finishing is most useful when taking on an audacious shot that has a high chance of missing the target – there isn’t much need for it in place of a simple shot from short range – but the harder the shot the higher the margin for error. Of course this just helps to score better goals – and who doesn’t want that?!
3. Dynamic Tactics
We can’t all be Pep Guardiola – but we can certainly try!
Dynamic Tactics will see your team dynamically change depending on how you wish your team to play. The idea of being ultra defensive or ultra attacking is a familiar one in FIFA, but now a quick flick of the d-pad will change your formation, player roles and build-up play in whatever way you see fit.
Before entering a game, delving into the custom tactics of your team will open up a wealth of options regarding player roles, overall formation and player positioning for defensive and offensive situations. Having a game plan for different occasions will be key in playing at your best against different types of opponent, as everybody plays differently and it is up to you to counter opposition play-styles. If your opponent seems to be overloading the midfield with players you may want to switch to your ‘defensive’ tactic, and have your 4 at the back formation turn into a 5 at the back to ensure your opponent does not easily get through your defense and go through on goal. Or vice-versa: your opponent could be sitting back and soaking up pressure, so you may wish to switch to an ‘ultra-attacking’ tactic where your full backs attempt to overlap your wingers and create extra attacking opportunities.
The opportunity to really get stuck in to the fine details of tactics in FIFA 19 is there, but simpler tactics, such as ‘Pressure on Heavy Touch’, can be implemented to your advantage also.
4. New FUT Cards
With every new installment into the FIFA franchise comes a new version of the most popular mode, FIFA Ultimate Team. FIFA 19 is of course no different, and with the UEFA Champions League and Europa League licences being added to the game, brand new FUT cards of players taking part in these real-world competitions have been included, possibly in an in-form type deal. This will be where a player performing well in one of these competitions will receive an upgraded card with unique designs relating to the Champions League or Europa League.
As well as this, gamers will have the opportunity to unlock Ones to Watch cards – special cards for players that have transferred in the most recent transfer window and will be automatically improved if you own one based on their real-life performances. At present only three have been announced; Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus, Leon Goretzka of Bayern Munich and Thomas Lemar of Atletico Madrid, but many more will be available come release date. As with previous FIFA titles, these cards will most likely only be in packs for a short while, and then they will be improved as the respective players perform on the real-world stage.
Lastly, and by no means least, some new Prime Icons have been recently revealed to be part of the FIFA 19 lineup. For anyone who doesn’t know, Icons are some of FIFA’s best cards, as they bring legendary players from throughout history. In FIFA 18 the Icons came in three cards resembling three stages throughout their career, and the Prime Icon was the best of these stages, and chances are FIFA 19 will continue this, with newly added Icons including the tricky centre-forward Johan Cruyff, midfield maestros Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard and the Real Madrid legend that is Raúl.
More cards will hopefully mean more chance of playing with the best players, so bring it on!
5. FUT Division Rivals
Division Rivals takes the division-based idea of Online Seasons and adds more incentives to keep players hooked and continually playing online matches with their Ultimate Team. As you play and win matches, your Skill Rating will increase, improving your rank within whichever of the 10 divisions you are currently in. Progress enough and your overall division will increase, as the end goal is to reach Rank 1 of Division 1, similar to how the end goal of Online Seasons was to win Division 1.
The incentives in question come in the form of packs or coins that are achieved as you complete each week of Division Rivals, and can be chosen from 3 options that are given to you. A better division and rank equals better rewards which in turn equals better players – it’s easy to see why Division Rivals can be addictive and effective in keeping players striving towards the next tier of rewards.
If the promise of packs and coins isn’t enough, then earning enough points will unlock access to the FUT Champions Weekend League – a new set of matches that really sees who is the best across FUT. This ‘token’ to enter the Weekend League can be redeemed for whichever weekend suits you, and playing matches here also unlocks even more rewards and readmission into another Weekend League.
In an attempt to breathe new life into the old formula of FUT Online, FUT Division Rivals is taking the place of Online Seasons and, in my opinion, it could work well if EA listen to previous criticism and make it easier for players to reap its rewards, whilst challenging the most hardcore of FIFA fans.
6. FUT Player Pick
Back me up here FUT players… there is no worse feeling in all of FUT than grinding coins for ages (or spending real money) in order to purchase a certain pack, and then being let down with mediocre players that are just not worth your time and effort! Well, it seems that the FUT Player Pick is here to take a lot of the luck of packs out of the equation – and as the name suggests it lets you pick the one player you want from a group given to you.
These special Player Pick opportunities will only come in packs from Squad Builder Challenges or regular packs bought via coins or FIFA points, but will give players a group of 2-5 different cards and allows them to pick one player to add to their club. If you are in the market for a new goalkeeper but are not needing an attacking midfielder, for example, then hopefully a goalie will come up in your Player Pick so your efforts aren’t wasted on players that you don’t want. Player Picks are a new way of adding excitement into packs, and I see few disadvantages to what will be a great new feature if executed fairly and regularly.
7. New Kick-off Match Types
For a quick match on FIFA, our go to mode has been Kick-Off. Nice and simple, Kick-Off mode just sees you and a friend, or AI opponent, battling it out with teams from across the world in a standard football match. But sometimes even beating your mate gets a bit dull – so usually conditions are put in place. First to three goals, only scoring with a header or volley, only scoring from outside the box etc., and now FIFA 19 caters for these condition-based matchups with House Rules matches. These include the conditions already mentioned, as well as Survival Mode, where every time you score you lose a random outfield player, and a No Rules affair where bookings and even offside calls are redundant, making for a hectic 90 minutes.
As well as House Rules, Kick-Off will also include a Best of Series mini-tournament, two-legged Home & Away offering and a variety of Cup Finals to play through in all their authenticity, such as the Champions League and FA Cup finals. Talking about the Champions League, as with the World Cup in FIFA 18, you can play through the whole of the competition in its entirety, as well as introduce your own teams into the tournament. Southampton Football Club winning the Champions League? Now this really is the game of the year!
Stat Tracking is also a major part of Kick-Off mode, and everything from amount of wins to a heatmap of where exactly you score on the net can be tracked. Head-to-head statistics between two people can also be tracked, so you can keep a record of exactly how many Cup Finals you have won against somebody, for example. Tracked statistics can even be looked into in terms of which tactics work best, so you can continue to use certain set-ups against certain opponents.
Phew! That certainly is a whole lot to look forward to in FIFA 19 – especially regarding in-depth tactics which should be highly anticipated by many. And this is all without noting the return of Alex Hunter in The Journey, FUT Squad Building Challenges, improved 50/50 tackles and much more that FIFA 19 has to offer. Keep the date saved – 28th September 2018 is when we finally get our hands on the most realistic football title out there!
Are there any new and exciting features that we have failed to mention? What feature are you most looking forward to trying out when FIFA 19 finally releases? Let us know in the comments below and on all our usual social media channels.