The FIFA 19 demo came out yesterday, and while I'm still getting to grips with it, I'm having a fun time.
It's early days, but my initial impressions of FIFA 19 based on the demo are that it feels zippier, the new timed shooting mechanic has made scoring goals more rewarding, and the ball feels less laser-guided than in previous versions.
What I'd like to do now though is point to a few new features FIFA 19 has that I didn't know about - certainly some I wasn't expecting - as well as highlight some I did know about but reckon may fly under the radar. It turns out FIFA 19 has quite a few cool new features that combine to give the game a better quality of life feel, and they're well worth trying out.
First up, you can now press one button (circle on PlayStation 4) to have your goalscorer perform a random celebration. This is a fantastic addition for a number of reasons, chief among them it should mix things up when you're playing online. I don't know about you, but I'm sick of seeing the same troll celebration whenever I concede a goal playing FIFA online. Hopefully the draw of being able to trigger a random celebration will be too hard to resist for most.
Speaking of celebrations, another cool new feature is you're able to skip the celebration and go straight to kick off after scoring a goal. To do this you press both bumpers and triggers (L1 + L2 + R1 + R2 on PS4) at the same time. The game goes to kick off instantaneously, which is fantastic if you're in a rush or you just don't fancy doing a celebration. Nice!
Another nice addition for FIFA 19 is the game now has an indicator that tells you which player you'll switch to if you press the switch player button. This appears above the player's head. It's a feature nicked from PES, but a welcome one all the same. (You can turn this off in settings, by the way.)
There are loads of new animations in FIFA 19, and it'll be a while before I see them all. But already I've noticed players reach for balls a lot more - for balls they would not have got to in FIFA 18. The new active touch system lets you flick the ball as you receive it, and there are some nice new animations for that, too.
One video doing the rounds in the FIFA community shows a player getting smacked in the face by a shot before being blasted in the balls by another shot. The unlucky victim has animations for each hit. FIFA 18 had an animation for being hit in the balls by the ball, but I don't remember seeing one this exaggerated. And I don't remember seeing an animation for being blasted in the face before, either.
As for shooting, the new timed shooting mechanic means the low driven shot - the scourge of FIFA 18 - now has a different input command (L1 + R1 plus shoot), so if you're missing that cheese, now you know how to do it. Speaking of the new timed shooting mechanic, you can turn it off if you don't like it (it's currently the subject of much debate, although I appreciate the risk / reward nature of the thing). Elsewhere, you won't see the timing bar unless you have the trainer turned on. I always play with the trainer turned off (I can't stand the thing!).
Stats tracking is in the demo, although it's not cloud based, so head-to-head records expire after a game session ends. Still, if you're playing the demo local multiplayer, the game will track the results of player one versus player two, which is nice.
And finally, the demo has the new advantage settings feature, which lets you set the level of the AI teammates for each team, and set the starting score. So, if you want to play at a disadvantage or an advantage against your local multiplayer opponent, you can set that up.