EA Sports' "FIFA 19” has finally broken me: a spite-fueled essay

TechNews Writer
Mon Mar 04, 2019

This article is no longer a constructive criticism towards Electronics Arts (EA) Sports' "FIFA 19” like I had originally intended. It’s me admitting that this game has chipped away at my sanity little by little, and it finally succeeded in breaking me down.

I give up. “FIFA 19” is not a game you can sit down after a day of work or school and kick back with to play a virtual version of your favorite sport. No, it is a glorified, virtual trading card game with bug-infested game play, unbalanced/unfair mechanics, and a development team with the capability of monkeys with keyboards.

“FIFA 19” has the problem that it tries to be a competitive game, when it so clearly isn’t, and it ruins the gameplay experience on all ends. They keep a “randomness” element in the game because “in real life, football is random,” but that’s simply not compatible when trying to upkeep a competitive pro scene. Games like “Overwatch” and “Dota 2” succeed at being eSports because players know everything they need to know regarding percentages, updates, future plans, and so on. “FIFA 19” doesn’t have transparency from EA like that. What do stats like “Composure” mean? What’s the difference between having an 80 “Finishing” stat versus an 85 “Finishing” stat? Is it likelihood of scoring inside the 16 yard box? Is it even farther than that? Does finishing affect the “Long Shot” stat? What do the “Weak Foot” star ratings even mean? And so on and so forth. These super simple concepts that everyone should know are shrouded in so much mystery it seems that the developers at EA don’t even have a clue what they mean themselves. It’s absolutely ridiculous when someone who has maxed out stats can still miss open nets because of some unknown force.

“FIFA 19” launched with promise, but fell flat nearly instantly. It introduced “Timed Finishing,” which was supposed to be a mechanic to increase the skill gap between players. Not even a week later, the mechanic was proved to be completely bugged as it resulted in goals that had a 100 percent conversion rate if shot correctly with ANY player, regardless of stats. It was ludicrous when Kostas Manolas (who boasts a woeful 18 shooting stat) was able to hit the same shots as Cristiano Ronaldo (who has 93 shooting). Even more so, when upon release, there was a bug that randomly caused your player to shoot with their non-dominant foot, even if you clearly set up the goal for their dominant foot, producing a slow rolling ball that the opposition could easily save. And who could forget when EA accidentally buffed bicycle kicks before release to ridiculous levels? They were unstoppable, and much like the “Timed Finishing” fiasco (which was “fixed” nearly 5 months into the game’s lifespan by the way), they were able to be converted by any player in the game. What about the position switch bug where your players would randomly switch positions in the middle of the game? Your attackers would become defenders and vice-versa with no way to fix it, causing you to either play with Lionel Messi as your center-back, or forfeiting the game. It must have been embarrassing for EA when it cost pro players tournaments when the bug has shown up while the finals of their tournaments were being broadcasted to hundreds of thousands of viewers on Twitch TV, and after two patches claiming to have “fixed” it, it is still as present as ever.

Oh, and should we forget the numerous amount of times that their weekend competition has been shut down due to “server problems” (which are an absolute joke by the way; I have 1000 megabyte download speed and 100 megabyte upload speed, and I STILL have input delay)? Lest we not forget about the absolutely horrible way they have handled legend player cards by making them nearly unattainable for the majority of the player base, due to needing a high payment of in-game currency within 30 days of the legend player challenge popping up (which wasn’t the case in "FIFA 18," as these challenges stuck around all year long), and then the absolute blatant cash grab that was “Prime Icon Moments," where they released even rarer cards on top of the already unobtainable cards. Oh, did I mention that the only way to get ahead in this game is if you shell out hundreds upon hundred of dollars for a chance, yes only a chance, at packing some good players? Some packs cost up to $25 dollars each, and they’re not even guaranteed to have anything good inside it! If I were to list all the problems in this game, I’d probably take up an entire page of this issue, so I’ll leave it at that.

And even outside of all these problems, it’s simply not fun to play. It makes me angry, aggressive, and depressed. Something a video game should never do. Playing "FIFA 19" for as much as I did, for the little enjoyment I received in return, made me realize that this wasn’t a hobby anymore. This was an addiction. An addiction to the glowing lights and fireworks that you got when opening packs for top tier players. I sat and suffered every weekend since September just to get rewarded with a slap to the face every Thursday morning, when rewards from the weekend competition were released. I would sit in the menus for hours, not even playing the actual game, just grinding out “player upgrade” challenges for a chance of packing rare players. I was starting to put aside homework, my studies, and even my friends so I could spend more time on a game that didn’t even make me happy.

They say there is no such thing as wasted time, but man, if there was, this is it.



Appears in
2019 - Spring - Issue 6