FIFA 17 ReviewPrice:
PC, PS4, Xbox One
I've played a lot of sports games in the last month. It's common in the summertime; a month or so of sporting fun that doesn't require me to actually go outside. Usually, this is code for 'I played PES a lot' but this year I had a bit of a surprise: FIFA's actually got a lot going for it this year. Let's talk a bit more about that.
There's no denying the quality that oozes out of FIFA 17's pores. The presentation is silky smooth, animations look the part. Every single player, every single kit. It all looks crisp and wonderful. The commentators are actually pretty good, and the television-style presentation works for me. It's definitely the best looking football game I've ever played, and there's no hyperbole here. It's running on DICE's Frostbite engine, and it's the newest version. I had some worries that with FIFA's new engine the game would suffer in the short term while the game found its feet, but if it had any troubles in the looks department behind the scenes, it doesn't show in play.
When it comes to features, too, FIFA 17 is best in show. Ultimate Team remains a big draw; I'll never understand how EA managed to recapture the magic of buying Panini sticker books in digital format, but I still get a kick out of it. The exhibition and online modes are fairly by the numbers, but all the teams and players are licensed and so are a good chunk of the stadiums. What's not to like? Then there are various training drills that play out during the loading screen and helped me get to grips with the game.
Then there's The Journey. The Journey is… well, have you ever heard of a football game with a story mode? It's The Journey that's fascinated me about FIFA 17, and it's the biggest reason to recommend the game.
The story of Alex Hunter does the impossible. Not only does FIFA 17 have a story mode, but it's a damn good one. You play Alex Hunter from the very start, taking control of him for a game-winning penalty in an under-11s cup final match watched by a half-interested gaggle of parents on Clapham Common. After this, you'll play through a season in Alex's boots, and through the game you'll learn more about him; Alex's grandad was a football superstar, Alex's dad was a footballer with a career struck short by injury. So many people's hopes and dreams rest on your shoulders, and throughout the campaign you'll go through heartbreak, hot-blooded rows and, excellently, get tweeted at by a bunch of adoring fans, cynical reporters and even your dear old mum.