FIFA 20 Demo Gameplay Guide: What we’ve learnt about the game so far

The new game is being released next week, but what has changed from FIFA 19?


FIFA 20 fans have been fed promises of improved gameplay features and a more realistic football experience this year.

What does this mean when it comes to playing FIFA 20 and how much of your FIFA 19 skills will transfer over?

Keep reading to find out the pros and cons of the FIFA 20 gameplay so far.

Introduction of Manual Defending

Defending in FIFA 20 is downright difficult.

The overhaul of last year’s defensive mechanics and the introduction of manual defending has left many FIFA players dismayed when first playing the game.

The ‘contain’ control has faced a reduction in power, whilst the improved defensive structure of your AI teammates means they are slower to close down opposition attacks, giving strikers space.

READ MORE: All the best defenders in the FIFA 20 Top 100

However, once players understand the strengths of the new defending system, winning the ball back suddenly doesn’t seem so hard.

Primarily, right analog player switching counteracts the lack of teammate containment compared to FIFA 19. This gameplay feature allows you to select a defender with speed and precision for manual containment of opposition players.

EA has introduced a new controller setting called ‘ball relative right stick switching’ where the ball acts as a centre point of reference for any switching, rather than your selected player.

READ MORE: How to play FIFA 20 10 days early

Once you have selected the right defender, your best bet in stopping an attacker is the jockeying feature.

L2/LT allows you to jockey an opponent, staying close to them and keeping them under control until the opportune moment to tackle. Jockeying whilst holding the sprint button allows you to keep up with sprinting attackers.

Tackling controls are the same as FIFA 19, with the addition of ‘hard tackles’ (press and hold standing tackle). The hard tackle is most effective when there’s a gap between you and an attacker, allowing you to lunge towards the ball with speed to win back possession from an unsuspecting opponent.

Ultimately, practice breeds success with defending in FIFA 20 and helpful YouTube tutorials (example below) will help you become the Virgil van Dijk of the virtual world.

The Decline of Tiki-Taka?

FIFA 20 has a spotlight on increased realism, with a decrease in arcade-style football. This focal point is evident when passing on the new game.

First time passes, pressured passes and passes on the turn are slower and less accurate, resulting in a more realistic style of buildup play.

It’s almost impossible to recreate the tiki-taka style, making Barca-esque goals that much more difficult. Not to mention if you lose the ball, an opposition counterattack can be ruthless.

Passing controls are the same with some added features. ‘Driven pass and go’ has been introduced meaning your player can perform a powerful pass to a teammate before making an off-the-ball supporting run.

READ MORE: How to set up the FUT 20 Web App

Also, FIFA has introduced an ‘early lock to pass receiver’ feature; rather than maintaining your pass direction, you can tap the pass button and quickly move your player without affecting the direction of the pass. It does mean you can’t change your pass direction at the last second.

Dynamic Dribbling

With the new heavier ball dynamics, dribbling and turning in tight areas is easier than FIFA 19, especially with high-skilled players.

The updated strafe mechanic certainly makes your players more agile and responsive and able to perform quick turns immediately after a skill move. But, be warned; FIFA has introduced increased errors in chained and higher-level skill moves.

Shooting Revamp

Shooting has been subject to a few subtle changes.

1v1 shooting is allegedly more accurate and consistent. I haven’t noticed too much of a difference. More realistic goalkeeper movements and increased keeper error are of more benefit to finishing than any improved shot accuracy. Standard and finesse shooting still seem the ways to go, with low-driven shots being less reliable.

The most noticeable change is the increased difficulty of timed shooting, with the timed shooting window reduced from 4 frames to 2 frames. A perfectly timed shot requires more skill to execute, and, when you get it wrong, FIFA 20 is much less forgiving.

READ MORE: Is PES 2020 winning the football war over FIFA 20?

Timed shooting is encouraged alongside the new ‘setup touch’ feature (hold R1/RB and move analogue stick). If you can perfect a setup touch followed by a timed finish, there may be plenty of goals in this game for you.

Set Piece Overhaul

Direct free kicks and penalties have faced a complete overhaul.

Free kicks feature an aiming circle which locks in once you begin to power up your shot, and a new spin mechanic in the form of movements performed with the right analog stick. Interestingly, you can also use timed shooting in free kicks to improve the power and accuracy of your shot.

FIFA 20 features four free kick techniques; top spin, curved finish, knuckleball and low driven finish. The low driven shot has been simplified and only requires you to aim low on goal. The other 3 techniques require practice, with fast, clean movements on the right analog stick.

Penalties adopt the same aiming circle, which is frankly very annoying; it is sensitive and requires slow movement, whilst overpowering a penalty means your ball will end up in Row Z!

The increased aiming options make penalties more difficult to save but with the aiming circle off, it’s almost impossible to score. Offline multiplayer penalties are a real problem.

READ MORE: How to master free kick and penalties on FIFA 20

Indirect free kicks and corners work the same way as FIFA 19 with a small yellow aiming circle, and the driven power of a cross being determined by how long you hold down the cross button for.

So, there you have it. FIFA 20 gameplay offers a more realistic experience compared to FIFA 19, introducing several new features. Make sure you get some practice in before challenging your mates and let us know what you think of the changes in the comments.

READ MORE: Absolutely everything you need to know about FIFA 20

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Phil Pangalos

Phil is a life-long gamer, an avid fan of England rugby and a suffering Arsenal supporter. After completing his M.Sc. in Digital Marketing he worked as a social media manager at a startup for a year. Nowadays you can find him writing about FIFA and other games in the RealSport office.

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