There’s honestly no genuine reason I could give you to purchase FIFA 20 on the Nintendo Switch if you already own FIFA 19 on Switch. I don’t generally share the sentiment of the crowd that labels sports games as the same every year, but when it comes to FIFA 20 Legacy Edition, all of the comment section tropes are valid. For a series already drowning in microtransaction debate, the Switch version really doesn’t help EA’s case in currying gamers’ favour by essentially offering nothing but a barebones roster update for nearly the price of a full game. A ‘macrotransaction’, if you will.
Every IGN FIFA Game Review Ever
Last year, I had this to say about FIFA 19’s gameplay on Nintendo Switch:
“FIFA 19’s moment-to-moment gameplay remains, disappointingly, largely unchanged from last year’s under-par outing. Still running on EA’s Ignite engine (last used on the PS4/Xbox/PC version for FIFA 16), it simply can’t compete with the fluidity of movement and authentically animated players the Frostbite-powered versions display […] All in all, FIFA 19’s gameplay on Switch appears to have been largely neglected when compared to last year, and especially when compared to its big brother.”
This year, I have this to say about FIFA 20’s gameplay on Nintendo Switch:
“FIFA 20’s moment-to-moment gameplay remains, disappointingly, largely completely unchanged from last year’s under-par outing. Still running on EA’s Ignite engine (last used on the PS4/Xbox/PC version for FIFA 16), it simply can’t compete with the fluidity of movement and authentically animated players the Frostbite-powered versions display […] All in all, FIFA 20’s gameplay on Switch appears to have been largely neglected when compared to last year, and especially when compared to its big brother.”
If you feel shortchanged by the fact that all I’ve done is changed a handful of small elements from the original version, mostly to change the date, then you know exactly how I felt when playing FIFA 20 Legacy Edition.
FIFA 20 and VOLTA Mode
To EA’s credit, it has been wholly transparent about the nature of this version, including a name change and being up front about what ‘Legacy Edition’ actually means. It promises the “same gameplay innovation from FIFA 19 without any new development or significant enhancements” as well as “no new game modes”. In essence, it’s a stripped back version of FIFA 20 and indicative of its approach to the series on the Switch. On the other hand, EA still has the gall to charge £44.99/$49.99 for it, with no upgrade option for owners of FIFA 19.
And, as promised, none of the gameplay innovations implemented in FIFA 20’s big-league version have found their way onto Nintendo’s hybrid device. This includes the defender-beating strafe dribbling, occasionally bombastic set-up touch and the whole way that defending works now. Still missing are some of FIFA 19’s additions, most notably among them being the first touch system that allows for the ball to be nudged in any direction with the right analogue stick. It really adds to the flow of a game; how dearly I miss flicking the ball up in the air when receiving a pass and unleashing a powerful on goal when I go back to playing FIFA on the Switch.
This lack of subtlety over first-time control and often wayward passing due to the inherent lack of accuracy attainable from the Joy-Con sticks can lead to messy football, especially in the midfield where players operate like bumper cars, the ball ricocheting between them. Bringing the ball under control from a long, raking pass can be a drawn-out experience akin to trying to catch a rubber bouncy ball in the middle of an oil spill. Players often bundle into one another and knock them to the ground, both on and off the ball, and often to no repercussions, which further adds to the mayhem.
Playing with a Pro Controller can ease the chaos slightly, its better analog sticks bringing more order to proceedings when in possession of the ball, but it is still clear to see that FIFA 20 on Switch lacks the tweaks that the real FIFA has benefitted from over the past couple of years.
Shooting is still an entirely underwhelming experience. Efforts from distance still balloon into the air before dipping under the bar with off putting regularity. Scoring one of these 40-yard strikes feels great at first, but loses its appeal considerably after the fourth time it happens over the course of 90 minutes. Scoring the same goal over and over again offers no challenge or spectacle to proceedings.
Despite still being prone to absolute howlers, one area that appears to have seen slight improvement is the competence of goalkeepers when attempting to save these shots. Even this displays a certain level of inconsistency, though, and has me questioning whether I’m just searching for something different lost in the malaise of hollow familiarity.
On the presentation front, player models have been updated, as well as the kits they play in. They are all well rendered and true to life, especially when viewed on the Switch’s small screen. You’d hope for this, though – after all, this is mainly what you’re paying for when you get FIFA 20 on Switch. Besides “more money”, is there any reason EA could have offered a roster update and a fresh batch of new kits as an update (even a paid one) for last year’s version?
This is the main crux to why FIFA 20 is quite so disappointing. Without any major changes to the way you play the game, there just doesn’t feel like there’s anywhere near enough there to warrant a full release, and tacking the words “Legacy Edition” onto the end isn’t enough for EA to get a free pass on this one. Especially when the ‘legacy’ left from the last FIFA switch release was less than a glowing one.Yes, the menus also have benefitted from a fresh lick of paint but what lays within them is sadly exactly the same as FIFA 19. Again true to its word, EA has added literally no new game modes since last year’s outing, nor have any tweaks been made to the existing ones. House Rules are still there but the zany new Mystery Ball mode has sadly not made its way onto the handheld. Most disappointing of all, there’s no sign of Volta; the premier new addition to the core game is nowhere to be seen. The changes made to Career mode, however minor they are, have also not made their way across. There’s still FUT, though, complete with it’s controversial microtransactions and surprise mechanics.