An absorbing story mode compensates for an occasional lack of match sharpness.
FIFA 17ís headline feature is The Journey, a story about a prodigious young talent attempting to make a name for himself in the Premier League. Itís a microcosm of everything thatís good and bad about FIFA Ė peerless presentation surrounding a match engine thatís an improvement on last year, but still needs work Ė and yet itís the most fun Iíve had with the series for a good few seasons. Perhaps more importantly, itís a welcome reminder of the personal stories at the heart of a sport (and a series) that, in recent times, has felt more concerned with its corporate identity. Itís not easy to find ways to surprise people in an annualised game, but this is a very pleasant one.
The story of likeable 17-year-old Alex Hunter and his rise from unvarnished academy product to bright young starlet follows a conventional path Ė not quite rags to riches, but close Ė though itís affectingly told, even if FIFA 17ís PEGI rating ensures that itís a rather airbrushed take on the modern game. Still, the setbacks and insults sting Ė on his debut as a substitute the opposition fans taunt him with a chant of ďwho are ya?Ē while youíll attract social media criticism from supporters and fellow professionals (at one stage, an embittered ex-teammate hashtags you as a #benchwarmer). Naturally, this only made me all the more determined to succeed.
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