Despite a delightful new story mode, FIFA 17 falls short where it matters - on the pitch.


Digital FoundryBattlefield 1 and FIFA 17: Frostbite shines on PS4 Pro

EA's cutting-edge engine delivers impressive upgrades on both titles.

FIFA 17 review

Two points dropped.

FeatureEA's Peter Moore: I'm not sure video game press conferences have a future

As for its own gamescom event? "I think some people were confused."

Key events

EA reckons 40% of console game sales will be downloads by the end of 2017

It's no secret the video game industry is trending towards digital, with an increasing percentage of console game sales coming from downloads each year.

But for EA, that trend is moving faster than it predicted.

In a financial call last night, EA predicted the industry will end 2017 probably above 40 per cent for full-game downloads. If correct, it means we're hurtling towards that magical 50 per cent milestone.

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It's fair to say that most people who read this will have at least an idea of what an eSport is. Whether you're actively tuning in to watch competitions, will take a look at an eSport event if it comes on or are actively uninterested in it all, you're likely to know the basics of what an eSport is and that the industry is hyped about its prospects.

YouTuber pleads guilty to FIFA gambling charges

UPDATE: Craig "Nepenthez" Douglas forced to pay £91k in fines and costs.

UPDATE 12.05pm: The UK Gambling Commission, which helped bring this case to court, has now weighed in with its own words on YouTuber Craig "Nepenthez" Douglas' sentencing:

Battlefield 1 and FIFA 17: Frostbite shines on PS4 Pro

Digital FoundryBattlefield 1 and FIFA 17: Frostbite shines on PS4 Pro

EA's cutting-edge engine delivers impressive upgrades on both titles.

DICE's Frostbite engine now powers a great majority of Electronic Arts' internally developed game - a state-of-the-art piece of technology that has strongly delivered cutting-edge experiences on key franchises including Battlefield, FIFA, Need for Speed and the upcoming Mass Effect. With some of the sharpest rendering engineers in the business working on the technology, we expected big improvements bearing in mind Pro's big GPU boost. By and large, we haven't been left down.

We'll begin with the 'easy one'. FIFA 17's PlayStation 4 Pro upgrade is impressive - not especially so in terms of visual features, but certainly for its prodigious increase to base resolution. The 1080p framebuffer from the standard PlayStation 4 version gets an uncompromised lift to native 4K - no upscaling, no checkerboarding, no temporal super-sampling. The end result is that an already clean and crisp title receives an even great boost to visual clarity.

However, FIFA's ineffectual anti-aliasing solution remains in effect at 4K. Edge and specular shimmer at 1080p is reduced owing to the higher pixel density, but it's still visible owing to the high contrast aesthetic. We did most of our testing on a 40-inch Samsung KU6400, which possesses a remarkably high pixel density, but the aliasing is still plain to see - it'll even show up in the video below. 1080p users at least get this image down-sampled, so it's less of an issue, but Frostbite's excellent temporal anti-aliasing would have helped here.

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Pause abuse. Celebration abuse. Replay abuse. Kick off abuse. Parking the bloody bus and passing around at the back for 80 minutes. FIFA players have for years trolled their online opponents by dragging out matches once they've taken the lead.

First FIFA 17 update makes the AI more attacking

After Jose Mourinho's Manchester United suffocated Liverpool into a soul-destroying goalless draw last night, EA Sports has updated FIFA 17 to make the AI more attacking.

It had nothing to do with last night's result, of course. Rather, the patch had to do with feedback that FIFA 17's AI parks the bus.

I reported on this in an article on FIFA 17 earlier this month. I've found that the computer is so good at defending, that you're often better off letting it defend for you.

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FIFA 17 is injuring the hell out of players

Is this how Arsène Wenger feels?

In real-life there are plenty of injury prone players knocking about. You know the type: they play a few games, get injured, spend a few weeks on the sidelines, come back, then get injured again. Think Jack Wilshere, Andy Carroll and all Arsenal players ever.

Last-gen FIFA 17 gets terrible Amazon customer reviews over lack of The Journey story mode

FIFA 17 on PC and current generation consoles has The Journey story mode. FIFA 17 on last generation consoles does not.

It seems a lot of people who bought the game on Xbox 360, for example, didn't realise this - and have taken to leaving negative customer reviews to express their anger.

The Amazon page for the Xbox 360 version of FIFA 17 is dominated by one-star customers reviews, left by those who feel misled by EA's marketing.

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FIFA 17 breaks series' launch week sales record

FIFA 17 breaks series' launch week sales record

Forza Horizon 3 beats Horizon 2.

A small game named FIFA 17 released in the UK last week and earned the highest UK launch sales of any FIFA title, ever.

FIFA 17 sales were 18 per cent up on last year - and enough that it edged past previous high watermark FIFA 13.

53 per cent of copies were sold on PlayStation 4, while 41 per cent were sold on Xbox One - despite Xbox One S console bundles including the game packed in.

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Each year EA sparks a heated debate over the player ratings in the latest FIFA game. For FIFA 17, for example, EA replaced Lionel Messi with Cristiano Ronaldo as the game's top-rated player, which upset some and pleased others.

FIFA 17 review

FIFA 17 review

Two points dropped.

It's been 23 years since FIFA International Soccer, the first FIFA game, was released. For more than two decades, EA has taken its most successful product, tweaked it slightly, added a few marketing phrases and released new annual editions to huge success. Often it's little more than the rosters that can objectively be said to have 'improved'. But still we, as a gaming public, lap it up. If EA had gotten a little complacent, you could hardly blame them.

Complacent, however, is not a word you could use to describe FIFA 17. Boasting both brand new tech and a major new game mode, it feels like much a bigger step, apart from between consoles, than we're used to taking in a mere 12 months. Whether this comes about from a feeling of increased threat from its candy-dispensing rivals, or some residual guilt towards its loyal fanbase, it's hard to say. What we can be unequivocal about is EA's ambition - to create a landmark release in the series. How successful it's been in achieving that is harder to say.

Let's start with Frostbite, EA's much-trumpeted game engine - one that, it's claimed, will take players "to new football worlds" (the worlds of Battlefield and Mass Effect, presumably). Taking front and centre stage in much of the game's advertising messaging, it's clear EA hope this will be a platform for the franchise to build on for at least the next four to five years. It's a shame, then, that playing in this bold "new world" feels so disappointingly familiar.

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Digital FoundryFIFA 17: How the Frostbite engine improves visuals

Digital Foundry plays FIFA 16 and 17 simultaneously - with the same controller.

FIFA 17 moves to the Frostbite engine this year, the same tech as seen in Battlefield One and the upcoming Mass Effect. It's a departure from the Ignite engine used between FIFA 14 and 16 - introduced to show off the capabilities of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One - and allows for a big improvement in the series' lighting and atmospheric effects. We pit the two engines against each other here to see exact extent of the change, and if this is the series visual overhaul we've been waiting for.

FIFA 17 demo out tomorrow

UPDATE: Out now on all platforms.

UPDATE 14th September 2016: The FIFA 17 demo is out now for all platforms. It weighs in at around 8GB on current gen platforms and 1.5GB on last-gen consoles.

500GB and 1TB Xbox One S bundles announced

500GB and 1TB Xbox One S bundles announced

Coming to Europe 22nd September.

Two new Xbox One S bundles have been announced by Microsoft on stage at Gamescom, launching in Europe on the 22nd of September.

The console is bundled with FIFA 17 in a 500GB and 1TB version, retailing for £249 and £299 respectively. A month of EA Access is also included in the deal.

There has been no word, however, on any further availability for the Xbox One S 2TB edition before the Gears of War special edition launches, meaning it remains the best way to secure a 2TB console.

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VideoWatch: Six strange moments from E3 2016

It's this week's Eurogamer Show.

E3 week is always a hectic affair. Typically speaking nobody has had enough sleep, everyone's had far too much caffeine and there's never not a huge stack of things on which to report. Small wonder, then, that it often takes for the show itself to close before we get the chance to reflect and realise just how weird E3 actually is.

FIFA 17 trailer gives first glimpse of new story mode

EA has shown off FIFA 17's new story mode, dubbed The Journey, in a dramatic trailer.

The new mode lets you lace up the boots of the Premier League's newest, most promising star - a man named Alex Hunter - as he prepares to make his first league appearance. Who he plays for is up to you; whichever club you pick though, it seems like you're in for a dramatic tale of ambition, politics and, presumably, football.

We'll have more on this mode very soon - in the meantime, check out the trailer and let us know what you think in the comments.

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