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.