A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that FIFA 20 is the latest installment in the long running soccer franchise for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. The game builds on the content of the previous year's game, while also including a new street soccer mode for players that don't always want to play in arenas. There's no inappropriate content within the game, although the unmoderated gameplay during online matches could expose players to inappropriate content. Players will find product and company logos are on characters, as well as ads posted on billboards along the sidelines of the pitch. The game also comes in three separate modes, with each one providing unique content, and while players can play to earn credits for the Ultimate Team, they can also pay real money for new gear, athletes, and items.
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What's it about?
FIFA 20 is the latest installment in the long running soccer franchise where players can take to the pitch to play soccer with football clubs from around the world. There are dozens of leagues, hundreds of clubs, and thousands of players available in this year's game. Now, there's a larger focus on action on the pitch, including enhanced ball physics, as well as a focus between attacking players and defenders dueling for position. This year also sees an emphasis on a character's speed and sprinting ability when it comes to cutting off players or jockeying for position with the ball. Instead of the story driven "The Journey" mode, this year's game includes a new mode called Volta Football. Here, players create a male or female football player nicknamed "Revvy," and takes them to "futsal" or street courts in cities around the world as they try to take on rival squads and recruit players to make a super squad before challenging for a championship. The always popular Ultimate Team returns as well, with a ton of additional content, including a new group of star athletes from today's game and throughout history to anchor and improve your squads. Ultimate Team also adds new seasonal goals that can be completed for unique bonus items, including stadium decorations, kits, celebrations, and more. There's also a new mode, FUT Friendlies, which adds new casual ways to play, such as mystery ball power ups or king of the hill sections that multiply the score of each goal.
Is it any good?
Revamped gameplay, the inclusion of street soccer, and casual Ultimate Team breathe new life into this year's chapter of the popular soccer sim. FIFA 20 has upgraded its gameplay thanks to a new focus on the ball. This year, speedier players that can outrun other athletes will get an advantage when they're fighting for position. That means they won't be run down or caught by defenders as easily as previous year's games, so well-timed crosses to your sprinters can be an even deadlier combination for offense. This is coupled with brand new ball physics, so passes that get deflected will react naturally instead of moving in pre-scripted ways. It adds unpredictability, makes jockeying for headers and passes fresh and exciting, and brings the action on the pitch closer to the real game. Along with the updated pitch play, a large addition this year is Volta Football, which casts players as an upcoming street soccer star trying to build a squad and recruit players from around the world. The fast-paced action on rooftops, gyms, and on converted basketball courts just feels addictive. You can't help but get a rush when you bounce a pass off a fence, strike a quick goal between an opponent's legs, and flip off a wall into a victory pose. It's probably the closest thing we'll see to getting a new FIFA Street anytime soon, and the fact that the mode expands into larger online leagues and player defined competitions will keep you coming back for hours. Unfortunately, the story of Volta is limited, predictable, and nowhere as engaging or deep as the expansive "Journey" storyline from the past three years. But that can be overlooked for Volta's play, which gives a charge to the franchise.
Ultimate Team receives new updates as well, with new iconic players and new arcade-like modes called FUT Friendlies. These modes are perfect for casual players because the inclusion of power ups, player swaps, or goal multipliers puts a fun spin on team competition. Ultimate Team also showcases EA's take at seasonal play with unique gear and items that players can earn with play or pay for during a certain period of days. This feels wisely managed and a natural way to get content, because you have clear goals and info on what you earn by playing matches and gaining levels. The only other weak spot in this year's game is the fact that the career modes for managers and created players feel a bit stale and underwhelming. Apart from some additional video sequences for press conferences, these modes just feel bland compared to the rest of the game, and almost like the same content for the past few years. But if you can overlook the stale content for Volta and Ultimate Team, you'll find that FIFA 20 is a ton of fun on and off the pitch.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about consumerism in FIFA 20, which is full of branding, including logos, billboards, and broadcast graphics. Is it OK that the publisher makes money from gamers and advertisers, too? Is product placement harmful?
Is it worth it to buy an annual sports game? If the developers release a free downloadable update to account for changing team rosters, do you really need to buy one every year? Can you skip a year or two, or do the new features and better graphics justify the purchase?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.