I've played EA Sports FC 24 and don't miss FIFA at all

EA Sports has made all the changes I wanted and more

EA Sports FC 24 screen featuring Vinicius Jnr
(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

There is no FIFA 24 and unless the footballing world's governing body pulls a rabbit out of the hat in the next couple of months, there never will be. Instead, we get EA Sports FC 24 - the first in a new series of games from Electronic Arts that will continue its lengthy heritage of FIFAs but without the branding or partnership payments required.

It's a big deal. Who has ever talked about EA's annual game refresh without just calling it "FIFA"? It'll certainly take some getting used to, that's for sure. And it might even pass some of the more casual gamers by - the one's who ask granny for the latest outing for Christmas. She'll be thoroughly confused this year.

However, when you get to play EA Sports FC 24, as I have, and see the list of forthcoming updates, tweaks and major changes, you'll likely forget all about the FIFA name. "FC 24", as it'll likely be referred to more often than not, is the major evolution we've been requesting for years and more besides.

What's EA Sports FC 24 like?

So, I've played the pre-beta build of EA Sports FC 24 on PlayStation 5 a fair few times now and have plenty of opinions. But perhaps I'll share some context first, to help you get an idea of where I'm at.

I have played FIFA (primarily Ultimate Team) most days for the last four-five years, just about. It's only the few weeks between the last season on one game and the start of the next that I tend to give myself an extended break. It drives my family mad, but keeps me sane and happy.

I am not amongst the best players, but do hold my own - around Div Rivals league 2 level. And I pulled the Team of the Season Lionel Messi from a standard SBC player pick this year (not important, but I just wanted to brag).

Hopefully, this qualifies me to talk about the on-the-pitch changes in FC 24 with some level of knowledge. There are many and they all present some significant, positive effects.

EA Sports FC 24 screen with Sam Kerr

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

I'll get a negative out of the way first, though - after playing with my end game FIFA 23 team, the pre-beta FC 24 match that's available to me seems slow. Very slow.

But, I had a similar experience when switching from FIFA 22 to 23, and the players at my disposal in this build aren't end-of-game standard. Plus, I'm playing offline and single-player, which makes a big difference generally too.

The rest of my experience is much more optimistic.

EA Sports FC 24 on-pitch graphics and gameplay

For starters, the game looks stunning. EA's new Sapien technology - whereby sensors are strapped to individual muscle groups to better track the human physique - makes an instant impact. Players just look and move so much better.

You won't notice so much on the default camera position, but get in closer and you can see some great variety between different player models.

There were two match types available - Champions League group games for both men and women's teams.

The men's match offered just Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain to play with, but that at least let us try this year's cover star, Erling Haaland, and the last to grace a FIFA cover, Kylian Mbappe. Both are incredible strikers, but both run and feel very different.

EA Sports FC 24 screen with Erling Haaland

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

Then there was the women's match, which included Sam Kerr (another cover star of FIFA 23). Women's league players obviously move differently, thanks to different body shapes, so present a different but equally satisfying experience.

I'm interested in seeing them all mixed in with each other during hybrid Ultra Team matches, with female players available in packs for the first time, but for now I only had access to essentially the same match type (kick off) over-and-again.

It's worth pointing out at this stage that the menu system was bare, with just the one mode, but looks so much nicer to the last few years'. Also, the pre-game build-up, plus half- and full-time cutscenes are excellent. I'm not sure how many more times I'll watch them without skipping, but the overall presentation is greatly improved - you also get cutscenes during the pause menu in-game this time.

EA Sports FC 24 screen - Vinicius Jnr

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

Back to the on-pitch action though and the new gameplay additions make for better play, not just a more realistic look. Take the controlled run, for example, which you can use by hitting the R1 button. It isn't as fast as an all-out sprint, but gives you much better control over the ball.

Then there's the precision pass, which can be used with through balls and lobs. And there's a swerve precision pass, which requires more dexterity (you need to press L2, R1 and the through ball button) but curls the ball around an opponent into a teammate's path.

It's hard to pull off - especially using players without decent passing stats - but very satisfying when it comes off.

Apart from that, and the increased animations thanks to the new Hypermotion V engine, it's the PlayStyles that really elevate the game. 

What are EA Sports FC 24 PlayStyles?

PlayStyles are effectively the Player Traits of old, but this time come in different strengths and have a more significant impact on player abilities.

Each player can have one of three levels of PlayStyle - no PlayStyle at all, a PlayStyle, or a PlayStyle+. The latter is reserved for the very best players, such as Haaland and Mbappe, but that doesn't mean you cannot do a certain move or skill without one.

For example, if a player has a Dead Ball PlayStyle, he or she will be able to take free kicks more effectively than one who doesn't. But, if they have a PlayStyle+, you will get a more accurate line on screen showing where the ball will end up, along with a higher chance of pulling it off.

EA Sports FC 24 screen with Erling Haaland

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

I particularly like that a player's PlayStyle+ will contextually appear above their head during play. That means you know that you can use that particular player more effectively in that moment of play.

Essentially, that helped when scoring goals with Mbappe for sure.

It's hard to say what else we noticed during the game at such an early stage considering the computer opponent kept ballooning the ball over the bar during a shooting chance, even when set at a higher difficulty. And, I seemed to score the same goals many times - no matter how the goalkeeper was performing. This is an early pre-beta build though, so all that will invariably be ironed out.

EA Sports FC 24 screen - Sam Kerr

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

What I did get from the 10-15 matches I played was an underlying sense that this is no mere kit update and a few polishes to keep things interesting - as we've had with FIFAs in recent times. Electronic Arts has a lot riding on FC 24 being at least as successful as the FIFA series and has therefore pulled out all the stops.

It's not a different ball game entirely, and everything is instantly familiar, but early impressions are very good indeed.

FIFA who?

Rik Henderson
News Editor

Rik is T3’s news editor, which means he looks after the news team and the up-to-the-minute coverage of all the hottest gadgets and products you’ll definitely want to read about. And, with more than 35 years of experience in tech and entertainment journalism, including editing and writing for numerous websites, magazines, and newspapers, he’s always got an eye on the next big thing.

Rik also has extensive knowledge of AV, TV streaming and smart home kit, plus just about everything to do with games since the late 80s. Prior to T3, he spent 13 years at Pocket-lint heading up its news team, and was a TV producer and presenter on such shows as Channel 4's GamesMaster, plus Sky's Games World, Game Over, and Virtual World of Sport.