FIFA 19 has its first big gameplay patch - and it makes a significant change to the game.
Bicycle kicks are significantly nerfed, which is very much a good thing. FIFA 19 has been roundly criticised for the prevalence of bicycle kicks and volleys - and the ridiculous success players can have with them. FIFA 19 is a game littered with overhead kicks from corners, flicks for volleys and even volley crosses for volley goals. You end up with stuff like this a bit too often:
Now, FIFA 19 should be more soccer than Shaolin Soccer after its next patch (out now on PC and soon on console).
According to the patch notes, EA has tackled volleys where the player fully leaves the ground during the kick, such as a bicycle kick.
It turns out, some players were incorrectly taking these kicks without meeting the agility attribute requirements to do them contextually.
"To further explain the above, these types of kicks can happen, in appropriate situations, for players who have an Agility attribute of 80 or higher, or who have the Flair Trait, without the player having to hold down the Flair Shot button," EA said.
EA admitted these kicks were happening in unrealistic situations, such as when the kicking player was bunched up with other players. EA also admitted sometimes the animations for these kicks were happening too fast for some players with higher Agility attributes.
Now, these kicks are more likely to be impacted by error, resulting in potentially less accuracy, speed and spin, which is very much a good thing.
EA said this change will be more noticeable in situations where executing one of these kicks would be very hard, and less noticeable in situations where executing one of these kicks would be easier. I take that to mean, we won't see so many ridiculous, unrealistic overhead kicks in the game. All good stuff.
Meanwhile, the patch makes welcome improvements to the goalkeepers, which have had issues dealing with a ball by their feet. Keepers would sometimes not pick up the ball when it was close to them, leading to some frustrating goals. Keepers would sometimes trap the ball outside of the box, despite an attacker being near them, instead of clearing the ball. Again, pretty frustrating. And sometimes keepers wouldn't pick up the ball after knocking it down with a tip down save.
Tied up in this is a bug with Pro Clubs or Co-op Seasons mode I've seen highlighted online, that occurs when two human-controlled players are on a team. This bug sees the opponent's defenders not responding to an attacker running behind the defensive line during a goal kick, leaving the attacker to have a clear run on goal. The update should sort this out.
All in all, the patch makes positive changes to FIFA 19, which has been under the cosh from its community since launch for having gameplay issues (AI defending in particular needs a look). It's early days of course, but the hope is improvements will keep on coming throughout the rest of the year.
The patch notes are in full over at the FIFA forum.