7 must-read FIFA 17 tips and tricks – directly from the developers at EA Sports

Ben Wilson travelled to developer EA Canada to get the inside scoop on what’s changed this year – and these seven essential tips will ensure you score an immediate advantage over all your mates…

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Whether it’s Ultimate Team, career mode, or newly added story mode The Journey, there’s something here for players of all expertise levels. One vital thing to take on board is that pace has been slightly toned down this year, and physicality ramped up – meaning powerful target men are, at last, an asset rather than an albatross. But there’s plenty else you need to know, too. Take it away, EA…

1. In The Journey, consider your destination

Picking an elite side can be something of a poisoned chalice

You’ll almost certainly be keen to check out that new story mode before you do anything else in this year’s FIFA. You play as 17-year-old prospect Alex Hunter, and can choose to turn out for any one of the 20 current Premier League clubs – but picking an elite side can be something of a poisoned chalice. Mat Prior, who directed the mode, explains:

“There’s no single most challenging club in The Journey, as we wanted to give people that element of choice – but it is definitely harder if you’re playing for a team whose goal is to win the Premier League. Such as the Manchester clubs, or Chelsea. Plus at United and City, you’re up against Ibrahimovic and Aguero just to get into the side. You need an average rating of 8.0 to break into the team ahead of them, which is a daunting prospect.”

“If you’re a relative novice, you should go for the less marquee teams,” continues Prior. “I would suggest, if you have genuinely no allegiance, one of the mid-table to lower-tier teams. Crystal Palace is a good one. They’re a little way down the table, but have a decent squad, and great fan chants in the game too.”

2. Master the perfect free kick…

Set pieces are more challenging, yet offer greater flexibility this year. For instance, you can change the angle of your run up before striking the ball, using nudges of the right stick. “All new features take some time to get used to,” says lead gameplay producer Sam Rivera. “What you need to do with free kicks is understand the player you are using, and know his attributes. For instance, ‘curve’ obviously really affects how much curve a shot will have.” Aim too far wide of the net with a player who has less than a 75 curve rating, and there’s zero chance of it bending back in to hit the target. (Don’t forget you can check player attributes before striking the ball, by holding R2/RT.)

Under Rivera’s tutelage, we find half the power bar to be just the right amount of oomph to both keep the ball down and stretch the keeper, after a conventional run up. But, as he explains, there’s a twist: “If you position a player in direct line with the ball, you can go around the wall with the outside of the foot – the Roberto Carlos style. You couldn’t do anything like that before.” Getting it right is much harder than a standard free kick, but there can surely be no better way to properly rub a mate’s face in when they’ve just clattered you on the edge of the area.

3. … and penalty kick

Spot kicks are even more challenging to adjust to than free kicks, if you’re a returning FIFA 16 player. It’s taken two weeks of FourFourTwo moaning that they are broken to adjust to the new system, and even now we prefer the old one. Anyway, over to Rivera: “For penalty kicks, the mechanic is now completely different. Once you get it, we think it’s much better - like taking a regular shot. Use the right stick to line up your player, then the left stick to start your run up. You can sprint with RT/R2, slow down with the LT/L2, and obviously at this point need to hold down the shoot button. The faster you approach the ball, the more powerful it will be – but also the higher your margin for error. My favourite technique is sprinting, even though there’s more chance to miss!”

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