Q-Tip once famously said that Large Professor told him not to say the year at the end of his songs, with the thought that it would make the music more timeless. I’m not sure if that’s the idea with FIFA Mobile, which has soft-launched in Canada ahead of its September 21 wide release, but it certainly could be.
As evidence, I’d like to direct you to EA’s Madden NFL Mobile, which has also done away with years and is simply doing a season reset this month. While that might be an indirect admission of what the most cynical of console sports gamers have been saying for years — namely, that the biggest changes from year to year in a sports series are the new rosters, uniforms and player ratings, as opposed to quantum leaps in gameplay — at least doing it this way tempers expectations in a more honest fashion.
And truthfully, FIFA Mobile isn’t all that much different from FIFA 15 Ultimate Team. The focus is still on Ultimate Team, which by now is the most proven game mode anyway. You start with a team of low level players and attempt to build a squad full of studs, participating in a variety of leagues and tournaments to earn more coins to buy better players. It’s a cycle we all know and love, or not, at this point.
On the pitch, EA has dispensed with trying to have it both ways, meaning with touch-based and standard controls. Instead, you’ve got a floating thumbstick on one side and context-sensitive buttons (extending even to goal celebrations!) on the other. It’s not horrible, as these things go, but there’s support for controllers, and the game sort of makes me wish I had a bluetooth gamepad for my tablet.
The big addition is online seasons, and with last year’s effort lacking multiplayer of any kind at launch, this has the potential to be quite popular. I had a chance to play a few online matches and they worked flawlessly, though I imagine your mileage may vary in this area.
Otherwise, FIFA Mobile feels like the refinement of a winning formula more than anything else, and while EA has been known to tinker with its soft launches until the very end, that’s probably what it will be. Hit the Canadian App Store now to get in your kicks before September.