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FIFA 19 tips, controls, guide and new features explained

All our guides and tips for FIFA 19 in one place.

FIFA 19 is officially here, and with it comes a series of tweaks, changes, and the odd new feature, too.

Here on our main FIFA 19 guide hub page, we'll take you through all of FIFA 19's new features, plus provide plenty of general FIFA 19 tips for players of all levels, and gather together links to all of our more detailed guides to specific parts of the game.

We'll also run through any new FIFA 19 controls and anything else you need to know, too.

On this page:

FIFA 19 guide - all of our specific FIFA guides in one place

Below is the collection of our in-depth guides for FIFA 19. Watch this space as time goes by, as well be continuously adding plenty more guides once we spend more time with the game.

Player Ratings and Stats:

Gameplay and Controls:

FUT / Ultimate Team:

The Journey: Hunter Returns

FIFA 19 tips

Those fairly minor new features aside, FIFA 19 still differs subtly from prior versions in a number of ways, with a slightly different feel to gameplay, tweaks to the UI, and more.

For returning fans who've been playing FIFA 18 right up until 19's launch, or newcomers who've been away from the game for a while, there's plenty to bear in mind, so here are a few general tips to get you back in the game as quickly as possible:

FIFA 19 tips:

  • Vary your passing - FIFA is becoming more and more a case of space-management - that was already true last year in FIFA 17 - by which we mean the practice of drawing the opponent out of position and creating space for you to progress. Mastering the art of opening up the pitch for yourself is becoming more and more essential, and the best way to do so is with varied passing: a couple short, simple balls into feet at the back, followed by a big switch with the driven pass (R1/RB + Pass), driven lob (R1/RB + Lobbed Pass), standard long ball or maybe even a swanky threaded through ball (R1/RB + Through Ball) will swiftly open up the pitch for you. Keep an eye on your rader for those off-screen Paul Scholes wonderballs!
  • Practice your skill moves - We know, practising skills in FIFA is arduous work, but it'll pay off for you big time in the long run. Turn the difficulty right down and play several games against the computer for the best way to practice against opposition players. We recommend mastering the dummy shot (quickly tap Shoot then Pass buttons) for beginners, before moving onto the more complex stuff. It works wonders against 'headless chicken' ball chasers (like us) who you'll find online, although the computer's inhuman reactions are a little too good to be fooled at higher levels.
  • Pace is weak again - Surprise surprise, pace is a contentious issue once more. This year sprinting feels dead slow, with most defending players able to gradually catch up to sprinting forwards, especially if there's any kind of opporunity for them to use their strength to slow the attacker down. It's still extremely helpful, of course, but don't expect easy solutions from packing your team with sprinters.
  • Tackling is out, 'containing' is in - Tackling is arguably the hardest it's been in FIFA 19 - and we thought it was already super tough in 18. While the AI will apparently be able to tackle you from just about any angle they see fit, controlling tackling manually out here in the human world is much harder. It takes a moment for your player to start their standing tackle, while slide tackle's are as weak as they were last year - and the new Hard Tackle is almost totally pointless unless you intentionally want to clatter someone behind for a foul.
  • Interceptions are inconsistent - We're noticing a real range of interception quality from all kinds of players. Some will block almost anything, whilst others with great defensive stats will get randomly nutmegged without you having many ways to stop it. The main thing to bear in mind here is the fact that 'jockeying' your opponents - holding L2 while moving the defender - puts them in a far better position for pulling off interceptions, as they're more 'set' and ready to react.
  • Finesse Shots are back - There's always one type of shot that's in vogue every year, and this time it seems to be Finess Shots - but more specifically, Finesse Shots from range. Cut inside from the wing onto a player's stronger foot and you've got a great chance of pulling off an absolute beauty of a curler into the far top corner.

FIFA 19 new modes and changes - Kick Off Mode changes and more

There's another pretty whopping range of changes coming to FIFA 19 this year, with three real headliners: the new "Active Touch System" for how you control the ball, a new Timed Finishing system for how you take your shots, and a new Kick Off mode that brings a massive (and long overdue) quality-of-life improvement over the original. Let's run through them.

New Kick Off Mode explained

Kick Off is still Kick Off, but now there are a range of improvements coming to make it a bit more flexible and enjoyable for regular players. Here's a quick list of what's new:

  • You can now play the Champions League final if you want - still with teams of your choice, but with the commentary, setting and all the usual pazzazz of the final itself (they're making the most of that license). You can also play the Europa League, FA Cup and other finals, too.
  • House Rules mode now lets you customise the rules - this actually contains several game modes in itself. Survival Mode is the strange new addition that sees you lose a player from the pitch every time you score a goal, with the first to five goals winning. You can turn off the ref in "No Rules", get double points for scoring from outside the box in "Long Range", only score with headers or volleys in... Headers and Volleys, or set a condition for the game ending when someone reaches a set number of goals in "First to..." mode.
  • Best of Series lets you play a series with a set number of games, with the winner determined by games won in the series (so best of three, best of five etc.).
  • Home and Away lets you play a two-legged match, with Away Goals counting as a rule.
  • Stats are now tracked - a great new addition for regular couch co-op players (like us here at Eurogamer), stat tracking means that everything from Possession to Fouls is tracked along the way in your history of games against a given opponent. So you can bin that scrap of paper you kept score on every year and bore right down to Goal Difference in deciding who the better player really is.
  • Stat tracking is done via a new Kick-Off Name that you set up the first time you do it - it works slightly differently on different platforms (basically, on PC and Xbox One you need to be Friends with someone to track your head to head stats, whereas on PS4 it looks like you don't). You can then sign into this name wherever you are, although it's not clear if it works cross-platform or if that just means you can sign into your Kick-Off Name on your mate's PS4 as well as your own, for instance.

On the topic of stat-tracking, here's a quick list of all the stats that it tracks, because it's pretty cool!

  • Wins / Losses / Draws
  • Win Percentage
  • Goals Scored / Conceded / Goal Difference
  • Goals Scored from Inside / Outside the box / Penalties / Free Kicks
  • Goal Net Heatmap (so where in the goal you scored)
  • Shots / On Target / On Target Percentage
  • Average Possession / Possession in Areas of the Pitch
  • Average Pass Completion
  • Past 5 match results
  • Most Two-Legged / Best of 3 / Best of 5 wins
  • Fastest Goal Scored
  • Biggest Win

FIFA 20 ratings and the top 100 players are here! Plus there's details on the FIFA 20 full release date, the FIFA 20 Ones to Watch OTW players list so far, and a full FIFA 20 Icons list, too. Otherwise, head back to our main FIFA 19 tips, controls and guide hub for much more on FIFA 19 in one place, including a full FIFA 19 The Journey: Champions walkthrough of objectives, decisions and rewards, lists of all Five Star Skillers, all FIFA 19 FUT Icons in the game, a list of the best FIFA 19 players in the top 100 FIFA player ratings list, plus the best goalkeepers, best defenders, best midfielders, best wingers, and best strikers, and dedicated, in-depth explainers on FIFA 19 Chemistry and Chemistry Styles, too. There's also a list of FIFA 19 potential wonderkids and best young players, how to take set pieces like free kicks and penalties, and finally a list of all FIFA 19 OTW cards, too.

FIFA 19 Gameplay - Kick-Off Mode - House Rules, Stat Tracking, Survival ModeWatch on YouTube

Other FIFA 19 gameplay changes like Timed Finishing, Active Touch System and more

As we mentioned just above, the Active Touch System and Timed Finishing are two of the other major changes to gameplay that we'll see in FIFA 19, as well as a new "Dynamic Tactics" system that we'll hopefully see more of as well, too.

Active Touch System explained

One of our resident FIFA experts Wesley Yin-Poole tried his hand at FIFA 19 and described the Active Touch System as FIFA essentially having "new animations for pretty much everything". Basically, as well as looking pretty, a change to the way your first touch is animated means that you have much more control over the ball itself.

FIFA 19 | New Gameplay Features | Active Touch SystemWatch on YouTube

You can now spin the ball on your first touch, use diving headers for passing, use a disguised first touch, Toni Kroos style, to send players the wrong way, and even flick the ball up with your first touch - great for that Headers and Volleys mode in Kick Off...

Basically, there's a much wider range of contextual animations and deliberate first touch uses that are coming to FIFA 19 so, if you master them, you should have far more control over the game.

Timed Finishing explained

Last year's FIFA brought in the 'double tap' shot, where you hold down the Shoot button to power up a shot and then, if you want to, tap it again to turn it into a low drilled shot.

That, frankly, became pretty overpowered once people got used to it, and so the new Timed Finishing mechanic looks like a way to combine that specific shot type with a general approach to shooting. Now, you shoot the same as normal but a well-timed second tap of the Shoot button will basically add a boost of power and accuracy to a shot. Mistime it, and the shot will actually be a little worse.

You can see the bar here for helping you get the timing right, but it's only visible with the FIFA Trainer turned on.

Think of it like reloading in Gears of War: you can do it normally - and normal shots should work just as well as usual - but if you want to gamble you can go for that sweet-spot timing of a second tap and get the glory (and presumed increase in chance of scoring, obviously) if it goes well. The "bar" for juding timing is visible with the FIFA Trainer switched on, and with it off you'll just see a green glow around the triangular selected player icon if you pull it off successfully.

Dynamic Tactics explained

This is basically a tuning to the way pre-match preparation works. Like Quick Subs in the previous FIFA, in FIFA 19 you can now set a few pre-assigned tactics in advance, that you can switch to in the middle of a match using the D-Pad on your controller.

FIFA 19 | New Gameplay Features | Dynamic TacticsWatch on YouTube

It's great for the real tinkerers out there, and likewise a sligtly more simplified display of your tactical setup will hopefully make it more accessible for those who usually shy away from all the suit-and-tie manager stuff in average games.

According to EA Sports this will also feel more impactful in the game itself, and your team "will execute your approach in an obvious manner" on the pitch. They've apparently been "balanced perfectly so that every approach has an effective counter-tactic" and so identifying what tactic your opponent's using and what one works well against it will become a crucial skill. I like the sound of that in theory but... we'll wait and see how it works out in practice!

FUT Division Rivals and changes to Ultimate Team explained

Ultimate Team remains largely the same again here in FIFA 19, but there's one pretty notable change: Divisions Rivals.

This mode essentially replaces Online Seasons in Ultimate Team. It's not enormously different, but the main thing to note is that you'll now be placed - after some placement matches - in a Division according to your Skill Rating. Essentially, MMR (Match Making Rating - a staple of competitive gaming) is coming to FIFA 19, and once you reach a certain score you'll get bumped up or down a division.

You also now earn rewards for your performance in Divisions Rivals each week, as you get a rank - from 1 to 5 - at the end of each week for how well you've done. It's not clear how that's evaluated, or how many games you'll have to actually play to do well, but if you hit the higher ranks you'll get some pretty decent rewards, like Premium Player Packs.

Finally, you also earn points for your performance in Divisions Rivals, and when you have enough you can choose to spend those on access to that week's Weekend League (the hardcore, 40-game mode played out over just one weekend). The good news is you can now effectively 'bank' those points and spend them when you know you'll have the whole weekend free from responsibilities, like feeding and washing yourself.

Finally, if you're a real FUTHead you can peruse our gallery and table of all currently-announced FIFA 19 FUT Icons and their respective stats, ahead of the game's launch. Enjoy!

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