EA Sports FC 24 (Sniper)
Genre: Sports
Developer: Electronic Arts
Publisher: Electronic Arts

This latest "FIFA" makes a horrible first impression, with the same sort of ugly, slowly-animated, solid-colored menu systems seen in the contemporary "Madden" releases. The matches themselves look somewhat dated on first impression, but do run at a perfect sixty frames per second, and upon further inspection there are some high resolution player models, along with excellent hair physics on display. The indoor areas, such as the tunnel shown at half-time or the office scenes during the career modes, have very modern materials and lighting qualities.

Modern songs are so awful that much of it is just noise, with no actual music theory happening at all! Long gone are the "Road Rash 3DO" licensed audio days then-- the soundtrack in this title has no redeeming qualities. The crowd noises are another story, as they explode out of the speakers in much the same way as the 90's-era "FIFA" releases. Meanwhile, the match commentary is much as one would expect: Derek Rae and Stewart Robson-- or, Guy Mowbray and Sue Smith in a couple of the modes-- are merely serviceable. Interestingly, EA doesn't even bother recording the player names anymore, presumably since the game's player database is so vast.

Where Konami's now-defunct "Pro Evolution Soccer" series was always so adept at capturing the dramatic "ebb and flow" of the sport, and each game wove its own yarn, the "FC 24" matches tend to play out similarly, and the pace is a bit plodding. The player needs to train himself to make frequent use of the "L2" button to shield the ball, and the right stick to dribble past opponents. The highlight of the whole package is the "manager career" mode, which is the equivalent of the "Pro Evo 'Master League'" of yore-- it models individual player morale, sharpness, fitness, has interactive press conferences, and much more. Swindling the AI on the transfer market has never been so much fun!

On the balance "FC 24" feels like a PlayStation 4-era sports title: it doesn't do anything to move the needle forward in terms of realism, immersion, physics, or anything else. But for what it is: it looks good, runs fast, has an outrageous database of players including women players and teams; there are a ton of ways to play it, including fun "TCG" and street football "Volta" modes, and if one can look past the bizarre soundtrack and ugly menus, there is a lot to like about the rest of the aesthetic too. This reviewer grieved the death of his beloved "Pro Evo" series, but "EA Sports FC 24" makes one think perhaps there is a future in the football simulation sub-genre.

Sniper's verdict: