After 110 hours of FIFA 18 on Switch, I had to give the game up. Going between the PlayStation 4 version and the Switch version meant I kept pushing myself to deal with the glaring omissions in the latter, and I finally made the decision to cut it loose just before E3 this year. It’s not that FIFA 18 on Switch was bad by any means, it’s just that it felt outdated — very, very outdated. Having played FIFA 19 on Switch and PS4 at Gamescom 2018, the gap between the two seems much, much less jarring.
That’s down to a couple of things, with the first being the graphical fidelity. The Switch version looks great — it’s obviously not on par with the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or PC versions of FIFA 19, but it’s certainly much better than last year’s effort. The game’s still running on a custom engine as opposed to EA’s Frostbite Engine, though it wasn’t as obvious while playing this time around. Character models looked great, as did stadiums and crowds. Overall, it looked like a much more competent FIFA experience when compared to its older brother.
Another major change is the way the game feels to play. In my FIFA 19 preview I mentioned how much more weighty the game feels, especially when you’re dribbling and taking on defenders. That translates over to the Switch version, and I really enjoyed the fact it felt as if I was at least playing something similar to the other console versions. You’ll still get some weirdly inaccurate and soft passing at times in the Switch version, though early impressions suggest it’s much less apparent.
Shooting felt noticeably better during my 15 minutes with the game as well, though I’m not sure if that was down to the fact I was using a pro controller with the console docked or not. I specifically recall having a much better time with FIFA 18 on Switch when the game was docked and using a pro controller, so that one’s a bit up in the air. That said, everything about FIFA 19 on Switch — from a gameplay perspective — feels like it’s been fine-tuned enough to at least be competitive with its console brethren, which is a positive in its own right.
The Champions League and Europa League find their way to the Switch version of FIFA 19 as well, with new commentators in tow. My time with the game was spent playing a Champions League final, and the atmosphere and commentary felt refreshing — it’s a definite far cry from what was on offer with the unlicensed Champions Cup from past entries. The presentation was smooth and looked fantastic, and I’m glad to see it included on the Switch as well as the other mainline consoles.
Not everything’s perfect, though, as I still felt like the players were a bit janky at times and unreliable in their passing and movement. None of this is apparent in the other console versions of FIFA 19, and I grew frustrated with my players not making the runs they regularly would on other versions. I’m hoping this can be refined and worked on prior to launch, though I have my doubts considering how close we are to launch.
I didn’t get a chance to try out Online Friendlies or anything else in the Switch version of FIFA 19, though I came away fairly impressed with what I played. While it was only docked mode, the game is looking better than FIFA 18 and the small tweaks to gameplay made a world of difference in regards to my overall enjoyment. It feels closer to the other versions of FIFA 19, and that’s all I could really ask for.
FIFA 19 launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch on September 28.