FIFA has evolved from a video-game to a lifestyle; one with weekly updated rosters, and just the most delicious soundtrack year after year. One of your friends or your boyfriends plays FIFA for sure and there’s nothing like emulating the most celebrated sport and moments with the flick of your thumbs.
I play FIFA myself. Extensively. I started with the Road to World Cup 98, bought every FIFA since. Even the very necessary Euro and World Cup expansion packs that I paid with real actual money! FIFA became the stronghold for ego, and you gotta have kept playing it so you remained a better player than that friend you hate losing to.
FIFA 17 came out, obviously the best FIFA game that has ever been out, second to only (hopefully) FIFA 18. I love getting up on Release Day mornings, with the sweet scent of Christmassy tinsel in the air, but amidst all the celebrations from every self-respecting man to be participating in the event that is the new FIFA game, I had a friend who just didn’t care.
Nary a care for football. Nary a care for video games.
Just your Average Joe (helps that his name really is Joe), and I convinced forced blackmailed him into reviewing FIFA 17 with me.
-FIFA 17 loads up, Frostbite’s trailer comes up-
Joe: What’s Frostbite?
Raun: Yeah it’s the new addition to FIFA 17, some hi-tech thing with additional components that help with the configuring and rendering of stuff like audio, animation, cinematics, scripting, artificial intelligence, physics, destruction, and all that stuff.
Joe: Oh. Nice.
Raun: So it was basically used in the other games like Battlefield and a million and two things are happening in a first-person shooter game, and still maintains smooth gameplay.
Joe: I’ve actually never played soccer in real life.
Raun: It’s football.
-We select the Kick-Off mode-
Raun: Pick a team – I’m gonna be Arsenal.
Joe: Which team does Messi play for?
Joe: Barcelona then.
-Matchday intro scene begins-
Raun: That’s The Emirates Stadium, in London. It’s Arsenal’s home ground.
Joe: Nice. Is this live?
Raun: No, no, this is all gameplay graphics. They captured it with like a thousand cameras in actual life.
Joe: Is that Messi? Tattooed up and blonde-haired! Is he in a crisis?
Raun: I’d say so! But yes, FIFA keeps up with all these frills.
Joe: Neymar and Suarez look real; I remember seeing them on my TV before.
-Arsène Wenger shows up in a cut-scene-
Joe: Who’s this clown?
Raun: Arsenal’s manager, Arsène Wenger. You’re the clown.
Joe: Wow they got all the managers these days?
Raun: Just the Premier League managers.
Joe: Oh. What if one gets sacked and replaced in real life?
Raun: We’ll find out.
-fans chants’ blare through the speakers-
Joe: I don’t know if I deserve all this attention.
Joe: How do I get into a fight?
Raun: You don’t.
Joe: Soccer’s complicating! These people aren’t doing what I want them to!
Raun: It’s “complicated”. Also, it’s “football.”
-25 minutes into the game, I’m leading 2-0.
Raun: Enjoying it?
Joe: The vibrations of the controller are very immersive; it really hurts when you tackle me. I’m actually starting to think soccer isn’t so bad.
Joe: The game’s pretty. It’s very shimmery, the detail is unreal, to think you can watch a drop of sweat trickle on Messi’s face in a video game. Right down to each blade of the grass. I should be feeling down for losing that badly but I’m actually really enjoying the experience.
-we pause at half-time, I’m up 4-0. We switch control sides at half-time, so now I’m down 4-0
Raun: You feel that extra spring in your players’ step now that you’re up 4-0? The footsteps feel lighter and the fans really spur you on, no?
Raun: It’s some A.I. improvement mumbo-jumbo FIFA are always working on every year. They’ve essentially taught a computer to play and be better than you at football. It’s amazing when you take a second to think about it. Insane.
-full time. I couldn’t quite overcome the deficit, so the final score – 5-3.
Raun: So, what do you think?
Joe: It’s a great game; they’ve done well to make it very life-like. Except the referees look like a cosmetic-surgery gone too well, and it’s amusing how they pull out the yellow cards from inside their chests.
Raun: Yeah well you’ll always need a buffer to separate reality from virtual life.
Joe: It looks like a massive production, though; their soundtrack is very enticing, and the presentation really brings you into the game. I think I am starting to like soccer.
Raun: It’s FOOTBALL!