For the first time since 1993, FIFA and EA Sports have no longer partnered to release what has become the most popular footballing video game in the world. But the end of that long-term relationship was never going to slow down EA Sports. They’re the king, baby, and from the ashes of that split rose a simpler title: EA FC 24.
But did a better game make the trip with them? Well if you know anything about me and sports titles, you know that’s a loaded question.
I will say this from the start: EA FC does feel different to FIFA 23. There are noticeable changes that vastly improve the experience, and there are even hints at something even greater still. Yet along the way, you’re going to hit those age-old bumps. You’re going to curse your Ultimate Team pack luck. And, you’re going to wonder just how in the heck it is possible to still run into so many duplicates in a game that may have more player cards than ever before. The game is the game, after all.
On the other hand, you’re going to sit and have a think about those gameplay tweaks; ones that slow the flow but make the game feel better than it has in years. We still get cartoonish collisions of limbs, and yet, take-ons have never looked so realistic. Not every player can ping every pass. There is a balance to these mechanics; to the gameplay tweaks that could just as easily descend into madness. And for the first time in as long as I can remember, EA feels closer than ever to achieving it.
So is it enough? Well, I think we all know the answer to that question.
Ultimate Team Evolves, but Familiar Issues Linger
There is a lot to like about Ultimate Team this year, and we’re not just talking about those intriguing new Evolutions. Rather, it’s the inclusion of women’s football from the very beginning for the very first time. Does that make for a larger player pool? Absolutely. It also means you won’t be relying on the same old squads anymore. That is, unless you want to. Though, why would you want to? After all, EA made some changes; why don’t you follow suit?
That isn’t to say Ultimate Team is without its issues. Far from it. It’s just unfortunate that they’re the same issues we talk about every single year, only now they’re a little more amplified. Squad Building Challenges (SBCs) should be fun, and a good amount of the time, they are! Yet as was the case with FIFA 23, the early, more challenging builds that used to give players pretty rewarding packs aren’t all that rewarding anymore. Don’t get me wrong, the same pack rewards remain. It’s just that they’re untradeable, and that wasn’t always the case.
In fact, a lot of SBC rewards are untradeable, and we’re not just talking about the specialty player-specific builds. Of course those are going to be untradeable; they’re usually Team of the Week (TOTW) or Player of the Month (POTM) items. But the majority of these builds should not be handing out untradeable rewards, especially when every pack players earn from completing objectives is also untradeable.
And honestly, that’d be fine if we could revert to more tradeable SBC rewards. There’s a balance to be struck, and instead of doing so EA wants you to spend more. Pack luck is lousy enough as it is, and we shouldn’t have to keep paying more for the privilege. Oh, and then there’s absurd amount of duplicates so early on in the game’s lifespan – in an entry that boasts the biggest player pool to date.
We’re going to use my favorite word again as it pertains to sports titles, and that word is balance. Striking such a thing within these games is, in my opinion, the greatest task a sports title sets out to achieve. After all, there’s always going to be a lot of content in these types of games. But just throwing a whole bunch of content at consumers isn’t enough. The experience has to be worthwhile.
Speaking of, Squad Battles within Ultimate Team are shorter in FC 24, and that’s wonderful. Now if you’re looking to avoid head-to-head online matches, you’ll be able to play 32 matches per week on whichever difficulty setting you choose, and it won’t feel tedious. On the other hand, going back to a few Rivals matches or – gosh forbid, online friendlies – after enjoying some Squad Battles will make you feel like you’re playing the longest match of your life.
Early Gameplay Tweaks Are Encouraging
It feels like in recent years, FIFA gameplay would start out quite smoothly. Then over the course of its lifespan, through the inevitable patch fixes that almost certainly included gameplay tweaks, it would warp into a never-ending nightmare. Limbs everywhere. Bodies folded like the world’s scariest contortionists. Every player could perform every pass at any given moment, regardless of the pressure on the ball or the ability of said player. If you could master the finesse shot, it was all over for those losers.
Right now, again, FC 24 gameplay has felt quite nice in its early days. Passing sequences are far less forgiving if you’re not careful (and maybe they’ve gone too far the other way) but when you pull of the sequence you’ve been looking for, my goodness is it satisfying. There are general imbalances from player to player, but that’s to be expected. Meta builds and players will be found and will always exist, but a seemingly slower gameplay has made for a far smoother experience. Pass timing, shot timing; it matters. Right now, anyway.
Let’s just hope patterns like these continue. Especially when modes like Squad Battles are noticeably shorter and rewards for Rivals remain worthwhile, it’s important for the game to feel good. EA FC feels good, and we’d rather not go back to pacey wingers bombing down the touchlines just to cut the ball back for a tap in. The game needs to be a little more realistic than that.
Oh, and physicality from player to player matters as well. Again, much like the passing, it could likely do with some tweaking, but in the everchanging quest to make the most realistic sports title imaginable, we’ve gotten closer to it than we have in a while.
A Refreshed Presentation, but Only Just
Look, I have nothing against Derek Rae, Stewart Robson, Guy Mowbray, and Sue Smith, our commentators for EA FC 24. Rae has become the voice of the Bundesliga at this point and so clearly cares about his craft. And much like the women’s game coming to the forefront of Ultimate Team, it’s refreshing to hear Smith’s voice added to the mix as well. But can we please do better with their actual dialogue?
For frequent players of the franchise, you’ll quickly find out that Rae’s and Robson’s lines are lifted word-for-word from FIFA 23. There may be a couple of new bits in there, but it’s largely the same, and that feels like such a waste.
As for Mowbray and Smith, simply having new voices in the game feels like enough of a breath of fresh air in itself. And yet, sooner than later, that novelty will wear off as well. Maybe it’s the nature of the game. After all, frequent players do play a lot. Between this and games like Madden or NBA 2K, football matches in-game will always be the shortest. You’re going to hear these voices often, so maybe that’s the biggest part of it. But it also feels like EA could try a little harder here.
I’m not saying the solution is to find every single announcer out there that covers every single league within this game. I am saying, however, that a little more work in this department could got a long way. Seeing them in the booth after a match is a nice touch, as is seeing fans arrive at their seats with some tasty food. Stadium chants, club anthems, Tifos of every shape and size; those all enhance the matchday experience. But my gosh, does that commentary drag.
My recommendation? Just put some John Carpenter music on in the background and play matches to your heart’s content; I don’t know. Do what feels best for you, you know?
We’re Not Done With You Yet, Career Mode
Can I just say, there are elements to Career Mode in EA FC that almost make it feel a little bit Football Manager. Just a little, and for someone like me who is obsessed with Career Modes in sports games, that’s really neat. No, EA FC is decidedly not Football Manager, and it shouldn’t be! They are two entirely different games with two entirely different goals.
The thing is, though, it’s still football. You’re going to want to have a cohesive coaching staff just as much as you’re going to want to adapt a specific playing style. EA FC finally gives you the ability to enjoy those two features. They still haven’t upgraded to the nine-player bench as far as I can tell, but hey, baby steps.
PlayStyles, player focuses, and the ability to set training schedules all add quite a bit to the Career experience. As a Player, you can even work with your agent to help get you transferred to a more prestigious club as long as you achieve the tasks set out for yourself along the way. As a Manager, the whole press conference bit can feel a little trivial, but it can’t be too much worse than being asked the same six or seven questions over and over again in Football Manager.
There is a level of care on display here that I haven’t seen from this franchise in a while, and it’s a welcome one. Now that I’ve said all of my nice things, though, can we please get an Online Career Mode? There are so many teams and leagues to enjoy; so many competitions to play through. Imagine being able to play an entire season with a buddy or two. Whether you’d be in different domestic leagues or not; whether you’d be fighting to be the best in Europe or not, there is (potentially) plenty of fun to be uncovered.
Oh, yeah, and a story-driven Player Career could be a game-changer. But we won’t get too greedy. Yet.
Here’s the Thing About EA FC 24
All told, EA FC takes steps forward in their first attempt since emerging from FIFA’s shadow. Things feels different. Some of the new features are fun. More crossplay compatible modes is a recipe for success. Presentation is improved, if only slightly. Gameplay is good, though it’s early. And for all the similarities, there aren’t just changes for the sake of changes.
Last year, I said get out of FIFA 23 what you wanted to get out of it. And to be quite honest, that’s my motto for any video game, let alone sports titles. You aren’t required to play this, or any other game, forever. You’re going to get sick of the lack of pack luck eventually. Gameplay will inevitably warp, but let’s hope we’re wrong about that. Or, let’s hope it doesn’t change too drastically.
And yet, there are parts of this entry that feel unfamiliar. There are foundations here to build upon in future versions. So despite the greed and eye roll-inducing commentary, we’re feeling cautiously optimistic about the future, and that’s a strangely unfamiliar feeling.
EA FC 24
Reviewer: Shaun Ranft
Career Mode matters.
Shorter Squad Battles.
Adjusted, slower gameplay.
Crossplay, Crossplay everywhere.
The Women’s Game comes to the forefront.
Is this enough Ultimate Team content for you?
Stale commentary remains. EA really want you to buy packs. Can we please have Online Career Mode? We fear Gameplay will revert to the FIFA of old. There has to be a way to improve the UX with those menus.
Sept. 29, 2023
EA Vancouver, EA Romania
PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Copy provided by Publisher
About the author
Shaun Ranft is a Freelance Writer for Twinfinite, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, who has been with the site and writing about games in general since 2022. While he typically covers any major sports title, he also cannot get enough of Telltale’s The Walking Dead, Fallout: New Vegas, The Outer Worlds, Arkham, and the Horizon series.
Stardew Valley is getting another major update sometime soon, with a preview of version 1.6 promising a new major festival, two mini festivals, 8 player co-op on PC, and over 100 new lines of dialogue, among other additions.
The preview was posted to Twitter by Stardew developer ConcernedApe, who noted that there’s no release date yet for the new content. The preview includes a number of sprites showing off new items and visuals that’ll be added to the game.
As well as the new events, ConcernedApe is also adding more late-game content for dedicated players, which will expand on each of the skill areas, as well as new Joja alternatives for some of the end-game content.
Like other updates, 1.6 will also see a number of new items and crafting recipes, and more small updates including new winter outfits for the villagers, a new type of reward for billboard requests, a new farm type, and the tantalizing promise of new secrets to be discovered.
That’s all the information we have for now, but keep an eye on ConcernedApe’s social media for more on when the new content will drop, and what exactly we can expect to be celebrating in Stardew Valley’s new festivals.
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Each and every day new mobile games are hitting the App Store, and so each week we put together a big old list of all the best new releases of the past seven days. Back in the day the App Store would showcase the same games for a week, and then refresh those features each Thursday. Because of that developers got into the habit of releasing their games throughout Wednesday or very early Thursday in order to hopefully get one of those coveted features spots. Nowadays the App Store refreshes constantly, so the need for everyone to release all on the same day has diminished. Still, we’ve kept our weekly Wednesday night format as for years that’s the time people knew to check TouchArcade for the list of new games. And so without further ado please check out the full list of this week’s new games below, and let us know in the comments section which games you’ll be picking up!
BASEBALL STARS 2 is a sports game released by SNK in 1992. Get the full experience with intense graphics and passionate announcers! Time to see some exciting baseball! Use the Power-bat to send the ball flying for an amazing home run! The Auto-Fielding system allows for even beginners to enjoy the intense gameplay.
Bonza Phrases is a casual word puzzle game for mobile. Players will appreciate the clear and simple approach, suitable for the whole family. Bonza Phrases is designed to be a rewarding learning experience. Much like other games in the Bonza series, players will find insight and inspiration from the puzzle content.
The game follows a classic linear level progression, with new chapters unlocked over time. The daily puzzle features topical content throughout the year. Players are also encouraged to submit their own puzzle ideas that could feature as an upcoming daily puzzle.
Embark on a timeless journey through a sprawling cave system packed with treasures, creatures, mazes, and wits-defying puzzles. The great grandpappy of adventure games will test you and tickle your problem-solving skills as you unearth its plot and secrets. Through cunning trial-and-error you will crawl through tight squeezes, encounter impressive caverns, collect inventory, locate treasure, thwart dwarf attacks, all while keeping your eye on the score before your lamp goes out.
Become the hero of an epic quest in Elderand, a metroidvania that will test your will and skill. Heads will literally roll in this gruesome, retro-inspired action platformer, where only the strong will survive in brutal, skill-based combat against terrifying creatures.
Through the darkness and madness, promised glory awaits. Wield a variety of killing instruments and abilities to test your metal against towering, bone-chilling bosses. Explore a twisted Lovecraftian world shrouded in darkness and madness. RPG elements allow you to customize your battle experience to your liking, from your character’s appearance to skills, stats, and weapons. Slay or be slain as you collect glory and treasure in this nightmarish 2D world.
Glory and riches await those who can spill the required blood and guts to collect it.
Assemble the dead using different body parts while upgrading your tower, combine the abilities of the different fantastic races to fight your way through the hordes of enemies and overrun the ’chosen ones’. To tell the truth, the dead are pretty, uhm, dumb.
About the Game: The necromancer, along with his faithful companion, the Cat, finds himself in an unknown world, and tries to find a way to return home. Fortunately, along with the main character, there were also magical tools in this world. Using his knowledge and skills, the Necromancer decided to use the remains scattered around to protect himself from aggressive local creatures and find the blueprints of the ship to escape.
A new season of “Love Is Blind” is in flight! It’s your turn to find love, romance and drama in the pods. Customize your character, choose your story and take a shot at true love in this interactive story game based on the hit series.
You’re the newest contestant on “Love Is Blind.” Try the social experiment for yourself and date several mystery suitors in pursuit of true love. Choose your story and decide: Is love really blind?
Take control of your very own pro wrestling promotion with the highly anticipated sequel to PWM 22 and 23- Pro Wrestling Manager 2024! Get ready to experience the most intuitive and in-depth mobile pro wrestling management game.
Help Robby evade and destroy the bad Bots. 40 levels, Many Different Games. Design your own game. Practice a level. 201, 301 and 401 Hack included. Tanks, Brains
RobbyTron has a mission to eliminate all the bad bots and save any good citizens left.
Enjoy many different types of Robots which are out to get you. Fun but not too serious. Many different levels and game types to choose from. Even Practice a level or design a level with many Tanks or Mommies.
This is a heartwarming puzzle game where players solve challenges by rotating rings to find the gap and save cute pets. Each puzzle involves saving pets such as dogs, cats, birds, snakes, or even dragons. Play as Alice, the smart girl, on an island adventure and solve them all. Real adventure awaits!
This football manager game has total accuracy and immersion. Find and buy star players for your favourite club; then use tactics, skill, and strategy to become champions.
Soccer Manager 2024 is the ultimate mobile football manager game with unrivalled accuracy, immersion, and enjoyment. Take control at one of over 900 clubs in 54 leagues across 36 countries around the world. Buy, sell, and manage real FIFPRO-licensed players to create your top eleven with accurate attributes.
Now you can manage international teams in major qualifiers and tournaments against other teams in your continent and around the world. Enjoy stunning match and environment visuals, with player likenesses and animations never having looked so good! Handle transfers, training, tactics & formations, and develop your football club’s facilities as you rise to become champions.
Get Ready to go on an Amazing Adventure with SpongeBob and his Friends! Plankton’s latest scheme to steal the secret Krabby Patty Formula has backfired in a big way, leaving the world covered in JellyFish Jam! Now it’s up to you and SpongeBob, along with friends new and old to rebuild and restore order to Bikini Bottom and Beyond!
Welcome to steks, the game that’s like Tetris and Jenga combined. steks is a tower-building puzzle game that will test your strategic skills and creative thinking. Dive into a world of blocks that don’t quite fit together, creating teetering towers that might collapse at a moment’s notice – only your skill will keep them standing.
With its unique gameplay mechanics, lo-fi aesthetic and addictive quest for height, steks offers an immersive and relaxing experience without any stressful time pressure. The only challenge is how tall you can make your tower, and how solidly you can rebuild it after it all comes crashing down.
Once upon a time — wait, what comes next again? Drag and drop fairy-tale characters onto the page to build surprising stories in this award-winning puzzle game.
An enchanted book of stories lays blank before you. Only the greatest storytellers can fill it with tales of romance, magic, adventure and intrigue. Assemble each interactive comic from a library of animated settings and characters that react in real time to your choices. Work your way through each genre to earn the coveted storyteller’s crown!
Welcome to Super Dash – Endless Run, our breathtaking 3D endless runner game that delivers a thrilling adventure combining the elements of endless running, fast-paced action, and reflex challenges! Dodge obstacles and chasms, and experience the excitement of a hyperdrive as you race through a variety of landscapes, including serene forests, treacherous Dunes, and the mesmerizing luminal space environment, all with smooth controls. Compete on global leaderboards as you collect gems, level up, and indulge in addictive gameplay that makes you run for your life while performing thrilling hyperdrive stunts.
Do you like word games and want to try something new? In Swaplette your task is to compose pairs of English words in which some letters are interchanged. Tap on the letters to swap their positions with letters of the same colour in the other word until both words are complete.
You can set the difficulty of the game by the number of letters in the words, and also whether the first letters in the words are fixed or not.
It’s Swords and Sandals as you’ve never seen it. Brutal turn-based combat where gladiators can lose limbs, wield guitars and yell so loudly their foe’s heads will fall off. This is the most fun you’ll ever have in the arena, and it all starts here.
Create a gladiator from one of dozens of races, make them a 7 foot undead giant with a battle axe or a tiny jelly blob with a laser cannon. Your gladiator will be unlike any other, with deep skill trees and hundreds of weapons to craft and equip you will not face the horrors of the arena unprepared! For a decade we wondered what happened to the Starbound Gladiator at the end of Swords and Sandals III … now all answers are revealed as the robotic Automatons return to Brandor with new space-age technology!
Embark upon a massive new single player campaign in the form of Swords and Sandals VI, where you shall journey across the vast continent in search of fabled Arena Champions to defeat. Do battle in the scorching heat of the T’Kash desert, in the lonely abyssal caverns of the Forbidden Depths and in the great palaces of Phaetor itself.
Descend into the Rusty Lake Underground and travel through the life and memories of Laura Vanderboom!
Travel from station to station, each metro stop symbolising a piece of Laura’s past and future. Solve various puzzles, find the correct metro to board and uncover one of Laura’s timelines, while simultaneously helping her make sense of her life and escape the corruption of her mind!
Underground Blossom is a new point-and-click adventure developed by the creators of the Cube Escape & Rusty Lake series.
Wild Runners is a fun and innovative multiplayer 3D running game. Features: – Choose from 12 unique and crazy animals – Unlock over 24 amazing power-up cards – Enjoy fast procedural racing with silly obstacles and platforms – Discover 4 wild environments with different atmospheres – Collect stars to claim amazing rewards – Climb the trophy road and complete weekly missions to unlock more rewards!
When Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone announced back in April that his life-consuming farm-life sim would be getting another update, he described 1.6 as “mostly changes for modders (which will make it easier & more powerful to mod)”, saying the number of new additions would be “much less than 1.5.” He’s got Haunted Chocolatier to work on, after all.
Then he tweeted a picture of some kind of JojaMart gold parrot, suggesting the less-popular pro-capitalism side of Stardew would be getting a little love in the update. And now he’s shared a sneak peek of what the 1.6 update will contain, and it’s a lot more than just changes for modders.
Among the additions are “Joja alternatives to some of the end-game quests”, which is presumably what that greedy parrot’s connected to. There are also three festivals on the list (one major, two mini), as well as “100+ new lines of dialogue”, a new kind of farm, winter clothes for the inhabitants of Pelican Town, more items and crafting recipes, “New late-game content, which expands on each of the skill areas”, and support for eight-player multiplayer on PC.
Finally, Barone notes the 1.6 update will include “Many small additions and adjustments” as well as “New secrets & more” and adds that it’s still in development, and doesn’t have a release date yet.
One of the things we love about Stardew Valley is how much post-release support it’s had, growing like a well-tended crop into a game we’re constantly tempted to return to. Still, Barone has another game to make and when he moves on from Stardew there will still be modders adding to it for years to come. Can someone check Barone’s getting enough sleep and not, like, collapsing in a field at 2am?
Counter-Strike 2 has been in development for a little while now, with Valve keeping tight-lipped about a potential release date. There were rumblings over the past few days about Counter-Strike 2 dropping at some point this week, and Valve has finally put those rumors to bed by announcing that the game is now live and available to play right this second.
The announcement was made via the official Counter-Strike 2 Twitter page, which shared a lovely nostalgic trailer to showcase just how far the series has come since it first started. We also got some new gameplay footage to show off the revamped maps and fancy new graphics, along with the reveal that the game is free to play available to download right now. If you want to check it out, you can head on over to the game’s Steam page.
Counter-Strike 2 is technically a massive free update to Counter-Strike: Globnal Offensive, so be warned that there may be a few teething issues you need to deal with if you’re planning to jump in stright away. Quite a few people seem to be getting an error message for a missing executable during the update, so make sure you restart Steam andf give everything a good refresh before you attempt a download.
If you’re wondering what Counter-Strike 2 has over its predecessors, Valve has called the update the “largest technical leap” that the series has ever seen, and includes new features such as CS Ratings, global and regional leaderboards, upgraded maps, redesigned visuals effects, and a whole bunch more. Plus, if you were a regular player of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, all of your items that you earned during the game will be moved over the Counter-Strike 2 free of charge and with zero hassle.
This is also probably a great time to actually get into Counter-Strike should you have been on the fence previously. The series has been going strong ever since the first game launched back in 2012, regularly featuring in Steam’s most-played titles. This new update will more than likely bring even more players to the Counter-Strike scene than ever before, along with some extra newcomers, so you probably won’t be spread across the floor too badly in your first few matches. Probably.
In other Steam news, it was recently discovered that Starfield’s rating recently dropped below Fallout 76, meaning that the game is now officially the lowest-rated Bethesda game on the platform. Not exactly something that Bthesda will care about given how successful the game is, but a surprise nonetheless.