By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor)
If you are a football fan but never had the money to buy one of the many FIFA games then you are in luck, EA has made one that is completely free to play and it is available right now. Even if you are in doubt, FIFA World is a game worth trying for every FIFA fan, it is currently in beta and I took my time to find out what exactly makes this game different from the other FIFA titles that launch each year.
If you are familiar with the FIFA games and have played any in the last couple of years you must be familiar with the ‘Ultimate Team’ concept. In this game modus you will be able to manage your own team with your own star players. In this game where chemistry takes a huge role, you have to find the perfect eleven players that fit well together and know how to play well together. While typically the buy to play FIFA games offer more, FIFA World drills into this special game mode, giving it all its love. Now when I say this mode is special, I mean it’s the most successful game mode that a game franchise has ever launched. The forthcoming of this mode has greatly improved the FIFA series and it has brought in more players than ever before, and to me it is not a real surprise that they are trying to make a free to play online variant of this. Let me explain how you get to work in this Ultimate Team mode.
When you start out with your dream team for the first time you are given players that are on the bottom of the ladder. The lowest of professionals, and there are only a few names you might’ve heard of, as even a hardcore football fan like myself has yet to find a familiar bronze player. On the bright side, your starter players typically have moderate chemistry, proving you a lick of teamwork to overcome their skill shortcomings. You will have to upgrade this team step by step, and upgrade to silver players and afterwards to golden players, turning your team into a collection of starters from around the world. But before you start throwing around money you should be taught the basics of FIFA Ultimate Team.
When you are making a team you should know the few limitations that require your team to work well together. When you make a team you should always have players that have a link together, basically chemistry works in a rather interesting way. If the linked players are in the same league that they originally play in, they will have a good link together and their chemistry will rise. If they are from the same country you will notice the same chemistry boost, and between the two sources, you’re able to max out your chemistry link rating at 10. A team capped at 10 rating with work together at their fullest potential, helping each other out in significant ways. If your chemistry rating drops below 9, you will start to notice a lack of dedication from your players, and need to put some serious effort in to win. Besides this you also want the players to have the right manager by their side, one that gives them that extra motivation to try their hardest. Having strong chemistry and a well-liked manager will help speed your rise to upgrading to a golden team.
When I had finally found the most optimal formation and players, I went straight away to find a match against another player. Since I started playing when most players were new, I was still playing against other bronze players. To alleviate power creep hampering the new player experience though, matches between teams of greatly differentiated skill will offer handicaps to lower the golden team down to your level. At times I felt like my lesser players even outperformed the golden players, but I haven’t experimented enough to truly comment on how balanced this handicap feature is. When I got into the game both the graphics and player movement gave me a bit of a nostalgic feeling. The game feels exactly like last year’s FIFA game, the one where I honestly had the most fun in. Despite the normal FIFA franchise improving and changing each year, FIFA 13 and now FIFA World were in my eyes perhaps the best FIFA ever. Despite the few annoying bugs that can be found back in FIFA World as well, the player movement and dribbling were truly the best in the series, but it does feel like the graphics are a bit lower than they originally were. Not that I’m complaining since the game is both free and designed to accommodate any level of PC from toaster to super computer.
When you are done with each match, you are given coins that you can spend on a few things. Unfortunately the coins have always been the most important factor in FIFA Ultimate Team. You will always need coins, even if you already have the best possible team. All the players will have contracts. When a contract ends, you have to negotiate a new agreement to keep them on the team. Each card or object in this game is also divided in bronze to gold cards, so you will be able to buy contracts for each type on the market. On the market that is fully player driven, you will be able to sell and buy almost everything. Here you will find players that people got out of player packs, contracts, formation cards and healing cards. And the latter is really important for when one of your players has an injury and you do not have a temporary replacement for him.
I am a huge fan of the FIFA series and to see EA make the leap from console to full-fledged PC MMO was truly surprising as well as impressive. I think it was one of their best moves that they have made in the past few years and since it is only a version behind their current top selling FIFA, they can really bring in a wide range of players that haven’t joined the FIFA craze. When you are planning to play FIFA I would definitely recommend you to try this with a gamepad, but a keyboard is also a workable solution. FIFA World is all about the Ultimate Team feature that we have seen in the last three to four FIFA’s, and it is the most promising feature of the series. Since the game is still in beta I am sure we will see great improvements over the next few months. Here’s hoping they continue to follow in the footsteps of the yearly FIFA titles, trickling down the best features to the free version.