When it was first announced that EA Sports was parting ways with FIFA (the governing body of world football will no longer feature in EA's games or their box art), fans of EA's long-running gaming franchise may have been a bit worried.
But now that the rebranded relaunch of the soccer simulator series has arrived, bearing the clunky title EA Sports FC 24, it's time to forget about the FIFA branding and get back to the good old-fashioned fun of leading your favourite footie players and teams to glory both online and off.
We're pleased to report that FC 24, as most people seem to be calling it, is just as good as the beloved FIFA games of yore.
In fact, we'd argue that this new entry is even better than the most recent instalments in the franchise. The best one in a good few years, at least.
One of the most exciting changes is the addition of female players to the beloved Ultimate Team mode, the beating heart of the game, where players gradually assemble their dream fantasy squads over the course of the season.
Now, for example, you can have Chloe Kelly on the right wing, pinging balls into the middle for Erling Haaland to smash in.
As well as being a welcome step forward in terms of inclusivity, the addition of women's players to FUT (or UT, as it is now called in some logos) has made the 'meta' a lot deeper.
Hundreds of new players are now available to choose from, making the whole mode feel very fresh and different compared to last year. The fact that all the menus have been revamped also adds to that sense of rebirth and rejuvenation.
In terms of gameplay on the pitch itself, there are, as usual, a handful of new features that help the realism levels inch a bit further forward.
Enhancements in the player-scanning technology are certainly noticeable in terms of movement and body types. Using Haaland as an example again, his hulking form is now instantly recognisable as he barges beyond defenders using his strength.
Beyond Ultimate Team, it's worth mentioning that Career Mode has had some noticeable revamps, as well. This year, pre-match preparation has been reimagined, with a simple new system that allows you to look at a scouting report on the opposition, attend a press conference to boost morale and partake in some quick training - all from one screen.
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Although the game doesn't do much to tell you about them, there have also been advances in terms of passing mechanics on the pitch. You can now add curve to your passes just as you can your shots, which is a bit fiddly but looks so good when you get it right.
In terms of negatives, the only ones worth flagging are the usual criticisms from the last few years: there still seems to be room for improvement in the VOLTA mode, where you're often locked to your bland custom character rather than your real-life favourites, and the lack of story content across the board remains a shame (we're still missing The Journey mode, to be honest).
We also couldn't help but notice that FC 24, without need to get approvals from FIFA for anything, has rather a lot of adverts in it, but they're not too intrusive in terms of your actual gameplay.
All FUT matches seems to sponsored by Amazon Prime, while the first major promo in FUT is sponsored by Nike, but fans will probably get used to this quite quickly.
All in all, FIFA fans can expect FC 24 to deliver the usual blend of good fun, competitive play and catchy music to boot.
All the players and teams still have their real names, although the same cannot be said for the FIFA-owned World Cup tournaments. A small price to pay for a game that's definitely better than last year's FIFA.
EA Sports FC 24 is available now in early access for everyone that buys the Ultimate Edition.
The Standard Edition will launch on Friday 29th September for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and Nintendo Switch. We reviewed on Xbox Series X and S.
Read more on FC 24:
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