FIFA 20 on Switch is a difficult game to review. It’s a functional game of football, with plenty of official teams, players, stadia and more, but it’s also arguably one of the Switch’s laziest games yet. If you’ve played FIFA 19, or even FIFA 18 on Switch, then you do not need to pick up FIFA 20. If that sounds reductive of this latest version, then that’s by design. FIFA 20 is a shallow shell of a game, released to prey upon those hapless customers overlooking the ‘Legacy Edition’ title.
We’ve seen that ‘Legacy Edition’ moniker previously attached to Vita and previous generation versions of FIFA, and essentially means that the game is an under-valued product. The game lacks many features offered by the Xbox One and PS4 versions of FIFA 20, and is essentially a simple roster and kit update of the previous two Switch iterations that still retails for just short of full-price.
While other consoles have run on EA’s Frostbite engine since FIFA 17, this version continues to be powered by Ignite. What that means is that animations remain comparatively simple and rudimentary, almost predictable. On the pitch you’ll score plenty of the same goals, while players coming together will feel like it’s decided more by luck than skill. Dribbling is dumbed down, and the timed finishing and improved first touch systems of the last two mainline iterations remains absent.
Players struggle to bring more challenging passes under control, restricting the ways in which you can play, while lofted through balls are king once more, just as they were in the twilight years of the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of FIFA. Because of the lack of options, the beautiful game becomes banal – a mess of midfield mishit passes and wonky tackling offset by the same sublime finishes again and again and again. It all makes the game feel much too easy.
Despite the naysayers that posit each FIFA title as a fresh coat of paint on last year’s game, FIFA 20 can’t even claim to be a particularly proficient roster update. As is typically the case, the game’s squads are out of date at launch, so Lukaku remains at Man Utd, while Monreal and Mkhitaryan haven’t left Arsenal yet, but even once these squads were updated, the game couldn’t seem to switch to the newer team sheets in the quick play kick-off mode. We hope this will be fixed, but it’s disappointing that EA gives the Nintendo Switch such short shrift.
Off the pitch, things are a mixed bag. Ultimate Team is here, but it lacks Squad Battles and numerous other game modes that have made the grind more bearable on other platforms. Of course, it’s still microtransaction heavy so it won’t be for everyone.
That said, by virtue of Career Mode being largely unchanged in the other console versions, the Switch version essentially offers a comparable experience. Outside of transfer negotiation cutscenes and the new press conferences, you won’t be missing much.
And since this is the Legacy Edition, don’t expect FIFA’s latest Volta Mode to be found, either. The street-football mode is completely absent from FIFA 20 on Switch, just as The Journey was entirely absent from those before it.
FIFA 20 on Switch is a hard game to recommend because it feels like such a poor version of the beautiful game. While not all of FIFA’s changes in the last few years have been received as well as others, they’ve at least shown that the developers are trying something new. FIFA 20 Legacy Edition feels farcical in comparison, and looks even worse next to something like NBA 2K20’s feature-complete Switch port.