FIFA 17 Out Today, Lets You Try The New Journey Mode

There’s a FIFA 17 demo available for download. It includes twelve teams to play in friendly matches, but also a taste of the game’s new ‘Journey’ mode. This is where you take control of a single young footballer and try to guide them to stardom, complete with Mass Effect-style dialogue wheel during cutscenes. I’ve had a play.

To be clear, the Journey mode really appeals to me. 2K’s NBA series has long wrapped cutscene-told story around basketball games while charting the rise of a young player, and I’m happy to see FIFA try the same. I’m even happier still that there’s dialogue choices. In the demo, you get to talk with your friend and fellow youngster in the dressing room, the assistant manager (or coach? He looks like an egg) on the touchline and the press after the match. It’s not clear what the consequences are of your decisions, but different lines of dialogue rate differently on a “fiery” or “cool” meter, while comments during the post-match press interview alternately won me favour with “followers” and with the manager.

To be even clearer, this has all the potential in the world to be terrible. EA have tried wrapping plot around their plotless games before – Need For Speed, repeatedly, for example – with usually disastrous results. Footballers also do not always make the most sympathetic characters, especially in the Premier League where even people who have never kicked a ball during an actual game make more in a month than I do in a year. I’d almost prefer if the game started you out not as a player on the periphery of a superclub, but at a Championship team or non-league minnow.

The demo gives a mixed impression, as the “fiery” lines of dialogue might better be labelled “prick”. They also only prompted different responses from other characters in one instance, and in that case it didn’t matter anyway.

As for the match itself, it pits Manchester United against Chelsea, and you can either control United as a team or main character Alex Hunter on his lonesome. I opted for the latter and spent the first sixty minutes of the match on the bench, with the hour related via a brief cutscene showing goals. With the score 1-1 you’re brought on with a few optional targets: achieve a personal match rating of 7.0 or above, score a goal, and win the game. I accomplished all three, because I’m great.

(Aside: Alex Hunter feels like the most generic name in the world, yet I can find only a few instances of it in other games, movies or books.)

After your press interview – which had janky animation glitches and a line of dialogue which skipped partway – the demo is over. I imagine what happens next is Mourinho never gives you another chance in the first team or eventually you’re sent out on loan to Stoke.

Elsewhere the teams you can play as in the demo are Manchested United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Juventus, Inter, Paris Saint-Germain, Olympique Lyonnais, Seattle Sounders, Tigres U.A.N.L. (MX) and Gamba Osaka. The download is a little over 7GB and available from Origin.

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16 Comments

  1. Gothnak says:

    I found that Fifa has always struggled from difficulty levels that either mean i win 5-0 at 2 stars, scrape 1-0 wins at 3 stars and lose 3-1 at 4 stars. It is pretty much irrelevant who the teams or players are.

    I played Fifa 15 Ultimate team where some leagues had AI teams of differing star ratings and for the first time i actually played against 4 star teams trying to hold out for a draw which was great fun, but the league was quite lacking personality.

    Does the latest incarnation have anything that might attract me? I never want to play multiplayer as i’ll just get trashed by teams full of Ronaldo and Messi which i don’t care for. The Management mode always stuck the difficultly at a static star rating which meant every match was a walkover, 1-0 win or a struggle for any points, none of which were much fun.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Captain Narol says:

    The journey matters more than the destination !

    Can you scan other teams for unknown players ?

    I can’t play football games anymore, the ball is always the same (ie round) and their procedural generation is a joke….

  3. Premium User Badge

    Syt says:

    Given the current state of affairs, I’m reluctant to spend money on anything that has “FIFA” (or any other major sports organization) imprinted on it.

  4. GenialityOfEvil says:

    The F1 games tried this a few years ago. It has to be more than just a bunch of dialogue trees that get forgotten 10 minutes later, if it’s going to work.

  5. Laini says:

    The Journey mode could be interesting but it’s a shame the dialogue choices don’t seem to matter, at least in the very small bit you get in the demo.
    Plus some of the mocap and acting is poor.

    The per match targets seem like a logical progression of the very generic career ones like “Score 20 goals” or “Have a pass completion ration better than 75%” or whatever.

    I really hope they haven’t completely neglected Career mode to focus fully on the Journey. I imagine they have though ¬_¬

    The actual football is all right I guess, nothing major aside from tweaks to free kicks and penalties (free kicks and corners I’m not a fan of, new penalty system is neat).
    In a friendly match I instantly heard a lot of the same lines from previous games.
    It sounds like most of the new stuff will be for The Journey, which is usually how it goes in the WWE games.
    Same generic boring lines from six games ago for most matches and then some pretty good custom stuff for the story mode. It’s a shame.

  6. anHorse says:

    Fifa’s weird

    It’s the game of the sport I love above all others, it’s perfectly solid and yet it’s way less fun to actually play than the games of sports I have no interest in watching like basketball.

    Dunno what it actually is but Fifa fails to capture some integral part of football’s appeal

    • GenialityOfEvil says:

      Maybe they’ll make a first person mode next year, what with all the VR whatnots and whosits.

    • Faldrath says:

      My pet theory about foot-to-ball games is that they fail as simulations of the sport – they’re mostly highlight reel simulations. In other sports games, you can play a match for its real length and come up with a somewhat realistic (although this obviously depends on the difficulty level) score – be it ball-to-basket, bat-to-ball-to-glove, stick-to-puck, even cars-wot-race-in-weird-polygons.

      In foot-to-ball? If you played for 90 minutes, the score would be 32-25 or something. That’s why those games don’t really work for me either, unless they’re purely arcade. And the “simulations” try to fill up the gap with ridiculous tricky moves that just make the game a chore to learn.

  7. Erithtotl says:

    I skipped FIFA last year for the first time in awhile. So much of the effort goes into the Ultimate Team money engine. The single player modes have been largely ignored in recent versions. While this new option sounds interesting, if the full manager career mode hasn’t been improved at all (with things like, say, lasting beyond 10 years) I’ll probably skip this year too.

  8. dsch says:

    Another FIFA demo where they make you (slowly) click through the new features every time. Worse, they make you sit through the “Journey” trailer after the Journey section of the demo. What is the point of that except to piss people off? You’re obviously interested if you’re playing the demo, FFS.

  9. aircool says:

    I picked up FIFA 16 earlier this year as I wanted something that I could stream to my Nvidia Shield TV. I was surprised at how much I liked it, even though I only played ‘be a pro’.

    I’ll see how this one goes and probably pick it up when it’s on sale.

  10. Zankman says:

    Not a fan of this entire “Story Mode” crap, just like with NBA… Needless crap that takes away focus from the actually important content.

    Recent FIFA’s haven’t been that great with gameplay…

  11. sg1969 says:

    Hold on, it’s out today? Amazon says 29th… or did you mean the demo?

  12. buttermancan says:

    I downloaded this yesterday hoping that somehow the new engine would’ve forced the developers to make significant changes to the gameplay. Unfortunately we get mininmal upgrades adding very little to the experience. I will not be buying it this year. Embarrassingly I owned every FIFA from 09 to 15. I really enjoyed 09,14 & 15 but whilst playing FIFA 15 over 80 hours I came to the realization that you never feel in control of your team. It’s designed in a way to frustrate and punish you with scripted events that are out of your control. It’s a little better when playing online with others but these scripted events still occur.
    Plus – in my opinion the controls over your players have become worse and it feels like I don’t have as much control over their actions as I should.
    I get so frustrated when an attacker clearly has more agility, acceleration and overall speed than the defenders yet the latter always finds a way to catch up.

    As for the story mode, I didn’t even try it out. I played a few friendly matches and then uninstalled it. However – if the game does it for you then the story mode is worth checking out as I really enjoyed the story mode in Fight Night Champion. Now that’s a great game. Why do EA shaft us PC gamers by not releasing that fantastic game on PC

  13. Slander says:

    This isn’t the first time EA Sports has done a story mode, though it’s certainly the first time they’ve included choices during the cutscenes. 2011’s Fight Night Champion was very good. No PC release, sadly.

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