EA has released a new patch for FIFA 19, and it makes some significant changes to gameplay.
The patch is out now on the PC version of the game, and coming soon to the console versions.
The headline change is to finesse shots, which most players agreed were particularly overpowered this year.
The patch nerfs the effectiveness of first-time finesse shots where the incoming ball is coming from behind the shooting player, between 135 and 225 degrees, where zero degrees is the direction the player is facing, or, as it's more affectionately known by the FIFA community, the 180 no-scope finesse shot.
These kicks are now more likely to be impacted by error, EA said, resulting in potentially less accuracy, ball speed and ball spin. The most significant impact will be seen when the incoming ball angle is 180 degrees, EA added.
This change is welcome indeed. Finesse shots were so powerful in FIFA 19, that one of the running jokes within the community was you'd be better off running out of the penalty area when on a one-on-one with the keeper to try a finesse shot instead.
Speaking of one-on-ones, the patch gives them a buff in the sense that it reduces the impact of defensive pressure on a shooting player when it is coming from behind the shooting player. But the patch buffs defending in that it increases the impact of defensive pressure on the shooting player when it is coming from in front of the shooting player. So, one-on-ones where you're fending off a challenge from behind should be easier, but it will be harder when you're challenged from the front. This should also help manual defending where you're trying to tackle from the front.
Elsewhere, the patch reduces the error on near post open shots (where the attacking player is under no defensive pressure and is not off balance) and make it easier for attackers to hold off a defender who approaches from the side (the effect of this change will scale based on the strength of the attacking player, with stronger players seeing the greatest effect from this change, AKA, stronger shielding for strong players).
Other tweaks are subtle. Here's an interesting one: when playing in an online match, you'll now see the timed finishing indicators for your opponent. This should hopefully demystify opponent shots that rocket into the top corner out of nowhere.
The goalkeepers, too, have been given some TLC to help prevent them from making silly errors (the goalkeepers in FIFA 19 have a habit of making silly errors).
There are some great changes to the visual side of the game, too. The update adds 48 new player and two new manager "starheads", as they're called (the list in full is over at EA's website). Get a load of Gareth Bale's lovely new hairline.
And here's Diego Costa's gorgeous mug:
And look! Spurs star Son Heung-min looks a lot more like Son Heung-min now:
And there are some cracking bug fixes. The Cockerel displayed in Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is now correctly looking to the east. And you know how you'd see player models up close in the background after exiting a match (you'd sometimes get an eyeful of a crotch)? The patch scrubs that out, too.
All in all, a good patch (check out the patch notes here). There's still work to be done on the AI defending side of things, but FIFA 19 is heading in the right direction in terms of gameplay, at least.