Now the game has been out for a week, has VOLTA made any significant impressions amongst FIFA players?
With multiple childhood memories of the arcade-style game, FIFA Street, I was one of many ecstatic fans when VOLTA was announced. Yes, FIFA warned us it was not going to be the same game, but virtual street football has been so popular in the past it was easy for the fanbase to get carried away.
So if VOLTA isn't FIFA Street, what is it? And could FIFA be doing more with this new game mode?
VOLTA story mode
My VOLTA experience started off with the story mode. I thought this seemed like a great idea after the end of The Journey; playing your own story mode, with your own customisable player.
It seems like the perfect sequel to FIFA’s Alex Hunter trilogy of story-based game modes. However, it is fair to say that the VOLTA story doesn't live up to Alex Hunter's legacy.
I think this is mainly because it’s hard to form any emotional attachment to your character. The Journey was so good because you followed Alex Hunter from when he was a kid up to winning the Champions League; you learned about his background, his relationships and his star-studded family.
With VOLTA's story mode, you don’t get any backstory to delve in to with your character (at least not in the few hours or so that I’ve played). You’re semi-introduced to your character before being quickly presented with your new teammates in a trial match. Again, the lack of knowledge surrounding your street football squad hinders any immersion in to the overall story.
In addition, your avatar’s minimal speech results in a lack of character; so now you’re controlling a player with no background or personality through an unengaging story mode.
The lack of engagement with your character is not a game-killing issue, especially given VOLTA's unique presentation and feel.
So, FIFA has tried VOLTA story mode and haven’t got it right this time. Fine, new features rarely come into sports games flawlessly and with universal acclaim. Let’s not crucify EA for one specific aspect of VOLTA; at least they’ve introduced an exciting new dynamic game mode.
A stand-alone VOLTA game
FIFA 20’s VOLTA mode is clearly the beginning. A toe-dip into the ocean of possibilities. While some will try VOLTA once and not bother with it again, the potential of the mode is endless.
FIFA Street was a remarkable success and is still held close to the hearts of millions, so the introduction of a street football mode that wasn't a fresh dose of dazzling skills and arcade play was always going to cause a stir of disappointment, but EA is just scratching the surface, and you can tell another step is coming.
Ultimately, VOLTA mode has all the makings of a revolutionary idea, but this is just the beginning, the "walk before you run" phase of something that could generate a whole new FIFA buzz. If EA are truly back with a bang then they shouldn't abandon VOLTA after some fan backlash, but push on and build on the already impressive game mode.
This does not have to be the death of VOLTA. My advice to EA would be to take the criticism on board, and develop a spin-off game that has its own mechanics and vision. A full blend of the arcade-style FIFA Street and the tiki-taka world of 11-on-11 football.
The idea is so strong that EA could have a seriously marketable game on their hands if the fanbase doesn't toxify it too quickly.
I'm sure that developers are already hard at work on VOLTA updates for FIFA 21, and maybe they will include the aspects of FIFA Street that fans so clearly want to play again. One day we may just have a full street football experience once again.