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Why did Fifa 17’s “The Journey” Fail?

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Has anyone here played a FIFA Football game? More specifically, FIFA 17. I’m presuming you have. If not, you’ve definitely seen one. They’re those games that come out for £49.99 and then two years later they are quite literally worthless. Still, my brother has received a copy every Christmas for the past few years. It’s a tradition I passed on after I realised football was one of the biggest time wastes I’d ever seen.

Still, regardless of that, I did play a bit of FIFA 17. But I didn’t play Ultimate Team or Kick-Off like I usually do. Not this time around anyways. What intrigued me was “The Journey”. Now what interested me was that this was a sort of story mode, in a sports game. Usually it’s just a MyCareer mode like in the WWE series. But this was different. By different, I mean dreadful.

Premise

So it’s probably important that I explain exactly what you did in The Journey. Quite simply, you played the role of Alex Hunter, an aspiring player. Basically it was MyCareer but without the opportunity to play as yourself. Already, there’s been a breakdown where something so simple could have been changed for a better experience.

See, the problem for me is that I couldn’t give less of a shit about Alex Hunter. He’s a fictional character in a sports game. If I want to be a fictional character in a sports game then I’m gonna make myself. Hell, why couldn’t I have had the choice to play as myself within this game mode?

It’s small details like this from the outset that make this game mode so poor to play and experience. It tacks on a story that I literally could not care less about. Maybe I would have cared a bit more if, you know, I could have played as myself? See, when you’re given creative freedom in a game then it shouldn’t be taken away for a different mode. Creativity would have suited The Journey perfectly.

Creativity of choice

Now, that’s not to say there aren’t creative pieces within the game. I mean, you get to pick which club you’ll play for. Instantly you’re then sent to a club below your current league. It doesn’t matter if you do terribly every match or hit every single quota for every single match. I was doing the latter, managing some perfect matches throughout. Apparently that wasn’t good enough or something like that. I thought this was rather puzzling to say the least.

So after you’ve chosen which club to get kicked out of, you have to choose another. But aside from that, are there any real choices to be made throughout the gameplay? Yes, actually, you have to sit through these awkward cutscenes and choose how to respond. Sort of like a Telltale game but with the depth of a sheet of paper. You literally just reply with either a good, bad or neutral response. Apparently it affects your game, but for me it never mattered, and I made sure my character was a sheer twat.

It is nice that we have at least the mirage of choice, but when you boil it down this choice simply doesn’t matter in the slightest. With an illusion that it’ll effect the gameplay, there’s no real reason to even care about it. Aside from the odd difference in cutscene, nothing matters as long as your team keep winning.

The appeal of social media

Twitter is alive and, unfortunately well in this game. But I shouldn’t have a problem with that, right? I mean, I use Twitter pretty much daily. Whether it’s to promote my writing or argue with people I don’t know over the state of UK fishing exports. Still, regardless of that, its implementation into this game is honestly quite embarrassing.

But what made it so weird that it was implemented in the first place was the fact that you could do literally nothing with it. There was no way of responding to those who tweeted at you. All you could do was read their tweets, check your followers and that was it. I’m pretty sure the number of Twitter followers you had correlated to how many sponsorship deals you received. Now, I’m not an expert, but that is pretty stupid, right?

Still, better to have it do nothing than do something, that seems to be this games motto. Speaking of which.

Gameplay

You may be wondering if “The Journey” is in fact any different to that of Kick Off or Ultimate Team. The short answer is no. But the long answer is something I am literally required to write. Why doesn’t this game do anything new for this game mode in regards to the actual gameplay? Well, what is there to change?

Oh, I know what they can change. How about not letting us play the full matches half of the time and just sticking us on and off as a substitute player. That’s a sure fire way of making sure people enjoy this game mode. Pad the run time with some sub par cutscenes about the relationship between Alex and his family, there we go.

What little gameplay there is seems to be over in literal seconds when compared to the rest of the filler. If it was reversed, and there was more gameplay than filler, then maybe I wouldn’t have written this article.

Conclusion

There are many reasons that FIFA 17’s “The Journey” fails. But for me, the one thing that makes this a failure is the fact that they focus more on the story than what people buy FIFA to do. Play football. That’s all they had to do with this story. Granted it wouldn’t be as fun as Pro Clubs where you can literally create yourself, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Okay, so two things needed to be changed then. The first change is to add some gameplay. The second change is to give us the option to create our own characters. But who cares about that, presumably FIFA 18 will be out next month.

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Sarcastic. Pessimist. I write what I think, hopefully you enjoy that.