FIFA 20 makes a breakthrough that FIFA hasn't made in years
For the first time in a long time, there is something properly new and fun to celebrate in a new FIFA game.
Every year, a common criticism of the new FIFA game is that it's way too similar to the one released the year before.
Often, the biggest change to the game is just transfers that were made during the summer, which makes it kind of difficult to justify its €65+ price tag.
But for the first time in a long time, the latest addition in the FIFA franchise actually has something that would make even the biggest cynic want to buy the game.
We are of course talking about the introduction of Volta, probably the closest thing we will ever get to the return of the iconic FIFA Street.
It's important to note that it's not quite FIFA Street. There are fouls, the tricks are less extravagant, you don't get any points for doing a class bit of skill, and there are no Gamebreakers. That last one is particularly tough to take.
But it's still really fun. You can choose between 3v3, 4v4 or 5v5 games, with the 3v3 being this writer's game of choice.
There's something very fun about having one defender, one midfielder and one striker (or three massive centre backs if you're a maniac) lining out and giving it a bash. No keepers, dirty goalmouth scrambles. It's brilliant.
Delicious flicks, sweet, sweet volleys and last-ditch goal line blocks. They really nailed exactly what they were going for here - a street football game that isn't completely nuts. Whether they should have gone all out and embraced the madness that made the original game such a success is up for you to decide.
Volta also marks the first time men and women can share a pitch in a FIFA game too.
As we said, it doesn't match the original FIFA Street, but nothing ever could. The pitch locations, however? 10/10.
The narrative story mode has moved on from The Journey with Alex Hunter to the story of a streetball player named Revy. Putting up with his bickering team-mates and a seemingly never-ending series of setbacks, Revy puts his skills to the test until he's at the very top.
It doesn't pack the same punch that The Journey did, story wise, but the gameplay is definitely more enjoyable because it's BLOODY STREET FOOTBALL.
As well as the story mode, there is an online Volta League if you want to put your skills to the test against fellow players around the world.
But we reckon the most fun you'll have playing Volta is with your mates.
There are also further developments in the world of Ultimate Team, benefitting both the die-hard players and those who don't have the time to treat their Ultimate Team like a full-time job.
Daily rewards are still a thing, rewarding the Ultimate Team stans, but there has also been a conscious effort made to make the game's most popular mode appeal to the more casual player.
Seasons (playing against strangers online) has remained almost entirely untouched, in a case of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it', as it remains the game's most no-nonsense format.
Career Mode has also been left to its own devices - barring a few minor changes - which could upset those who have found that this particular mode has grown stale.
And although the game has definitely evolved and improved from last year, it doesn't mean that it's without its flaws.
The gameplay still leaves quite a lot to be desired.
Developers attempted to fix a number of last year's problems, one of which being that defenders were far more likely to win the ball from an attacker in most situations.
This year they've tried to stack the odds in the favour of the attacker, which is obviously way more fun. We want goals. Loads of them.
As well as that, there has been an effort to create a system where the defending is far less automated, so the player has more to do themselves.
You have to time your tackles better, which does make defending more difficult as a result, but adds to the game overall.
But it still has a tendency to feel far too unrealistic.
We're not saying that we want the game to be exactly like Premier League football, but when you have small things like players refusing to make an obvious run, or goalkeepers watching a ball slowly trickle over the line, it can start to feel quite frustrating.
Set-pieces also faced a massive overhaul this year.
Free-kicks are completely different, with players able to put a number of different types of spin on the ball now. It's not as easy to score a free-kick, but that's probably a good thing.
And when it pays off, it feels so good. Like you've earned it. And really, how many of us are scoring free-kicks in real life?
It also feels a little bit lazy that changes made to goal kicks in the professional game aren't reflected here. It's obviously not a major issue, but it seems like something that, however small, would have once again added to the realism.
The change was only announced at the start of the summer, but there was still plenty of time for the good folk at EA to have incorporated it into the game.
All in all, FIFA 20 is a fun game. You'll love playing Volta, and the fact that it is attempting to make changes off the back of fan feedback is a good thing.
They may not have hit the nail on the head just yet and we do expect many complaints about something or another, but that's to be expected with such a behemoth of a video game and one played by so many the world over.
If you take FIFA 20 for what it is - a video game doing its best to replicate real-life football, while still making it fun - the game does its job, and it does it better than anyone else.