I would like to start this off by informing the unaware or casual fans that EA Sports FC 24 is the new name for the FIFA series. I’ve seen one too many comments on socials with people thinking that this is a completely different game and will not have all the league licenses. This is incorrect! All league license deals with the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, and so on are done with EA.
The one major mode that is not in FC 24 is the FIFA World Cup. However, you can still create custom tournaments and add all your favorite international teams and name it World Cup. Honestly, the only major issue regarding the name change is trying to stop calling it FIFA or Ultimate Team FUT. So now that we have this cleared up, let’s get into the review.
I can count on one hand how many games I constantly play throughout the year and now FC 24 (formerly FIFA) is one of them. I love the beautiful game and for better or worse, always look forward to next year’s release. FC 24 not only introduces a new name but also a large number of never-before-seen features in the series which in many cases changes key game modes forever.
But first, let’s talk about the new game menu layout. Gone are the large tile buttons to navigate through. Upon boot up, you will see the clean menu list on the left side of the screen with the remaining screen real-estate showing a player such as Haaland performing his iconic “Haaland kick”. Scroll up / down to select your mode of choice. Want to play UEFA Champions Clubs, league, Ultimate Team, Player career, Manager Career, Volta, and more are all listed in the streamlined list.
Every time you boot up FC 24, the last mode you played will be placed at the top for quick re-entry. While on the topic of new menu layouts, Ultimate Team (UT) also received a new navigation layout. We now have a top-of-the-screen ribbon that can be navigated via the LB and RB buttons or by holding the left trigger which will display a dropdown list of the modes in the ribbon. The new menu layouts are sleek and produce a better visual experience with more real estate for other key information pertaining to the selected mode.
Manager Career has moved to the next level in team management. You can now add a full coaching staff to help improve player performance. Do you have a ST who’s great with shooting but lacking in pace? Look to hire some coaches who specialize in player fitness. We now have training plans, pre-match reports, and match-ready training. I found the pre-match reports the most helpful since they give me a good overview of my next opponent so I can come up with a new strategy of play. Maybe the other team has a star player that I know will blow past my CBs. Well, I can set up a play to have my LB OR RB double up on him or man mark. They added some new scenes to display some of the off-pitch activities which is a nice touch.
Now player career has never been a mode I spent much time in, especially since I’m a 24/ 7 UT player. I truly miss the Alex Hunter Journey career mode which concluded in FIFA 19. I enjoyed the story/drama elements that mode offered and it’s a shame that we haven’t seen this mode return. Player Career tries to incorporate some of those off-pitch moments via text dialogue messages among other characters, but it’s nowhere near the level of The Journey.
You will need to complete objectives during matches in order to improve your player. Failure to complete key objectives could impact your on-field playtime or even lead to a transfer. You have an agent now to help with making career choices such as requesting a wage increase or looking to move to a new club in the transfer window. This can definitely be a grind as the challenges become more challenging.
Ultimate Team by far has received the most improvements in FC 24 and rightfully so since it’s the most popular game mode in the franchise. We now have intergender squad building with the inclusion of some of the top women’s leagues such as UEFA Women’s Champions League, the Barclays Women’s Super League, National Women’s Soccer League, the D1 Arkema, Google Pixel Frauen-Bundesliga and Liga F. Women players can be obtained in the same ways as the men such as packs, completing objectives and purchased in the transfer market.
The chemistry system works the same with club/nation/league but this now also applies to women. For example, English forward Alessia Russo from Arsenal W.F.C. will have great chemistry with EPL Arsenal CDM Rice who is also English. The point is that all the women players are on par with the men in UT and can integrate nicely into any new squad. And just like the men we will get TOTW, ICONs, and other women cards. I’m glad this integration occurred, especially since it was first done in EA Sports NHL 23 HUT and in my review, I said this feature needs to find its way into UT.
The next big feature is Evolutions. Now this is a feature long-time FUT players like myself have been asking for years. Evolutions allows you to upgrade a player’s stats which in turn will upgrade his or her overall card rating. At launch, we have a few Evolutions all of which have their own card requirements. For example, Evolution – Pacey Protector could be the following:
- Overall Max. 80
- Positions CB
- Pace Max. 65
- Passing Max. 75
- Defending Max. 84
- Physicality Max. 84
- Overall +2
- Pace +15
- Passing +6
- Physicality +5
- Defending +3
The challenges so far are fairly easy, such as playing & winning a couple of squad battles on at least semi-pro or playing Division rivals. Once completed your card will receive a permanent upgrade. This is great for taking lower-level cards of some of your favorite players and bumping them up so they can play among your top-tier cards.
Now there is a tradeoff, the cards you evolve become untradeable, and if you quick sell they will give you 0 coins. I am personally fine with this trade-off as I love the fact I can bump up some of my personal favorite players who typically rank low on the UT scale. Also, once you start an evolution this card cannot be quickly sold or used in an SBC until it’s complete or time runs out. Yes, it appears these Evolutions have an expiration date. This Pacey Protector expires in 37 days. I’ve seen another say it expires in 13 days.
Now there is one Evolution that has caused some controversy. It’s called the Relentless Winger
- Overall Max. 79
- Positions LW
- Alt Pos. Max. 2
- Pace Max. 91
- Shooting Max. 79
- Dribbling Max. 82
- Physicality Max. 79
- New Pos. RW
- PlayStyle Relentless
- Overall +6
- Pace +4
- Passing +7
- Shooting +7
- Dribbling +7
If all challenges are completed, you will have turned your 79 card into an 85. The issue with this one is before you can perform these challenges you will have to either use 50k con earned from playing and completing objectives or 1k UT points which is about $9. So, I see both sides of the argument with some cool with it since 50k is actually pretty low, and for daily players, this can be earned relatively quickly, especially if you sell players on the transfer market.
On the other hand, 1K is a bit steep in my opinion. Maybe if it was for a 90+ upgrade, I could see the justification for the purchase. As you can see, this Evolution ends in 13 days of this writing. So I have a feeling all these prices along with what type of upgrades we will receive will change over time.
I have no doubt this Evolutions section will grow over time with a variety of different upgrade options along with pricing. Honestly, the possibilities are endless on what type of upgrades and card types we can see in the future. There is also a 2-part evolution called Golden Glow Up (1&2) that after completing will turn your 64 bronze to an inform 80+ card. Again, think of the possibilities. I think this is an absolute game-changer for UT and will quickly become a UT community favorite.
FC 24 has also made some quality-of-life improvements, such as now allowing you and a friend to team up and play squad battles and division rivals. This means you can earn XP and coins and are no longer stuck playing friendlies. You can also press in on the left stick to claim all rewards from completed objectives, however, you still have to go to each section and press in on the left stick. You can’t just click it once and claim all rewards from all categories. Hopefully in an update, this can be adjusted.
There are also some community-requested changes such as no longer needing to have a position modifier card to switch a player’s position. For example, changing from RW to RM, etc. Now we can simply place the card and it will automatically use the correct position title if that player can also play the position as a secondary. We also now have a 2nd commentary team in Guy Mowbray and Sue Smith. Derek Rae and Stewart Robson are fine but it’s about time we freshen things up in this department. Now if only we can get player league cards, similar to manager league cards which allow you to switch the managers league would be amazing to have for players (fingers crossed)
The addition of 34 playStyles which are unique skill boosts some players may have is an interesting idea but I’m not completely sold on their effectiveness, for example could I find a silver rare player with a PowerShot playstyle that allows the player to score goals from 30 yards out 8 out of 10 times against Liverpool’s Alisson or Manchester City’s Ederson? They say its to reflect the player’s real-world abilities and I’m sure there are some lower-graded players that possess 1 of the 34 PlayStyles right?
I highly recommend checking out the new training ground to practice set pieces and try to master some of these new insane skills and moves like the drag-back turn. Hold LB and press back on the right stick or the orbit dribble which allows you to pivot around the ball without touching it. This can be performed by holding the LB & LT together while moving the left stick around.
I’m not going to deny it. I’ve spent an unhealthy amount of time playing this franchise and all these new additions to UT are just going to keep me engulfed as I build new squads and upgrade as many players as possible. EA Sports FC 24 will be remembered as a key release in the franchise not just for the name change but for the other major additions such as the integration of women’s leagues in UT and the ability to upgrade player cards in evolution.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of EA Sports FC 24 for the Xbox Series X provided by EA Sports.