FIFA 19 first play review: Ronaldo’s celebration, Mbappe’s speed and Lukaku’s power – what we noticed
It’s official: the world’s greatest football video game is back. And it’s even better than ever before.
The demo for FIFA 19 starts with a disclaimer that it is not the finished product.
But if it is anything to go by, gamers are in for a real footballing treat – and arguably the finest version makers EA Sports have ever delivered.
Immediately, you are struck by a vibrant new look that accompanies the home screen.
There’s a teaser for the latest instalment of ‘The Journey’ in which Alex Hunter’s pathway to the top is chronicled alongside his old team-mate Danny Williams and – for the first time, female footballer Kim Hunter.
But before indulging in ‘The Journey: Champions’, kick-off mode is a must in order to sample the new gameplay.
And it is the addition of the Champions League which the new FIFA 19 rightly celebrates.
With this season’s Champions League Final staged in Madrid, the Wanda Metropolitano stadium is one of two playable grounds on the demo, along with the Santiago Bernabeu.
You can only play four-minute matches on the demo. However that’s plenty of time to be blown away by the brilliance of the graphics and atmosphere of the crowd – every gasp, every cheer and every terrace chant is seemingly perfectly captured.
There are new commentators on the Champions League mode too with legendary BT Sport man Derek Rae joined by Arsenal legend Lee Dixon – both bring a refreshing change and excellent insight throughout their audio.
But the biggest giveaway to how good FIFA 19 will be when it is officially launched on September 28 is when you finally get down to the action.
The changes are immediately apparent with the matchplay feeling more authentic than ever.
Take Romelu Lukaku, for instance. His physical attributes are clear to see. It’s difficult to knock him off the ball, he can hold up play with ease and he can fizzle in powerful shots from distance.
Then there’s Kylian Mbappe. The France World Cup winner is a skillful speed demon whose pace is a menace to any defence.
David De Gea is difficult to beat in goal – but if you do score past him with Cristiano Ronaldo, expect to hear the superstar’s famous celebration roar: “Siuuuuu!”
Indeed, Juventus supporters will be hoping that Ronaldo’s virtual brilliance soon becomes a reality as he awaits his first goal for the Italian giants.
On first inspection, FIFA 19 promises to be a real crowd pleaser.
Inevitably there will be naysayers who despise some of the changes.
But this feels like the closest EA have ever been to being ‘In the Game’.