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FIFA 19: Downloadable demo is out now

You can now play the FIFA 19 demo to warm up for the game's official release on 28 September

The most predictable announcement in gaming has been confirmed: we will get another FIFA this year. Onstage at E3, EA confirmed that FIFA 19 would be with us at the end of September with a whole bunch of new features – the most exciting of which centre around its new licences: The UEFA Champions League, Europa League and Super Cup.

The official release date is not too far away, but as of 13 September you can get your first taste of Champions League action via the downloadable demo. Play as one of ten elite clubs in this game mode, or get a sneak peek of the final chapter in Alex Hunter’s story in The Journey: Champions.

Read on to find out everything else we know about FIFA 19.

FIFA 19: Champions League, Europa League and Super Cup

For ten years FIFA’s big rival Pro Evolution Soccer had exclusive rights to the Champions League. Now the deal is over, the surprise wasn’t that EA snapped it up for FIFA, but how quickly it pulled the move off. FIFA 19 will be getting Champions League, Europa League and Super Cup fixtures for the first time – branding and all. This will undoubtedly mean quick tournaments, but also an inclusion in the career mode (all the more reason to aim for a top-three finish) and possibly some interesting twists on Ultimate Team.

But perhaps crucially in The Journey…

FIFA 19: The Journey returns for a third season

The Journey will be back for a third season – and it’ll probably star Alex Hunter or one of the other bit-part players who have made their name in the first two seasons. A bit of a shame, given how many other interesting stories there are to tell in the world of football, but you can’t blame EA for persisting with a winning formula.

The good news is that this will take advantage of that new licence of theirs according to EA Sport’s creative director Mat Prior in an interview with EngadgetIt was always a goal for ‘The Journey’ to end with the pinnacle of club football,” said Prior. “It was something we wanted to showcase as the ultimate goal of a player.

“There will be a lot of surprises and it will be centred around seeking the glory of the Champions League.”

In a slightly unexpected twist, you’ll be able to play a match in the 1960’s in The Journey this year. Complete with muddy knees and a super-heavy leather ball, you’ll be transported back in time to step into the boots of Alex’s father, Jim Hunter. The latter makes an appearance for Newcastle United against Coventry City, in what is a historic game in the storyline of The Journey.

This is the only game of 1960’s football you’ll be able to play in the whole of FIFA 19, so you’d better make the most of while you can.

FIFA 19: Gameplay tweaks

You may think there’s only so much you can tweak a game where the rules of the sport it’s based on have barely shifted in over 100 years. That’s true to a degree, but EA usually has an innovative trick up their sleeves beyond just squad number and kits update. The early previews have shown a number of tweaks to the formula. The most interesting of these is something called Active Touch, which apparently makes the game feel more fluid and realistic, while also giving players their own playing personalities more clearly.

There’s also 50/50 battles, which combines the players stats with your reactions to see how likely you are to win a loose ball. On top of that, tacticians will be pleased to hear about Dynamic Tactics, which allows players to plan out multiple game plans ahead of each fixture, and then apply them on the fly with a press of the D-pad.

Finally, there’s Timed Finishing. This is a high risk/high reward dynamic which allows you to adjust your shot with a second button press timed perfectly. Do it right and you can apply killer curve, accuracy and speed – but do it wrong and it’ll be a horrific miskick that leaves the crowd booing. 

FIFA 19: New stadiums

As ever, the new FIFA will include a flurry of new stadiums for you to strut your stuff in. The images below, both provided by EA Sports, feature Tottenham Hotspur’s brand-new (and as yet incomplete) stadium and Molineux, the home of Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Given that FIFA 19 is due for release on 28 September, this means you’ll be able to play in Tottenham’s new stadium before they do.

Other new arenas include Borussia Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park, Fulham’s Craven Cottage and Sevilla’s Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán.

Although these new stadiums will have no discernible effect on the gameplay of FIFA 19, they will add significantly to the realistic feel of the game. This has always been one of the key selling points of EA Sports’ juggernaut franchise, so the new stadiums will be a welcome addition to FIFA 19.

FIFA 19: Player ratings

EA Sports are making us wait to find out the player ratings for FIFA 19. In characteristic style, the ratings have been released bit by bit, in an attempt to drum up publicity for the game.

At the time of writing, 80 out of the top 100 players on the game have been revealed, leaving only the top 20 to the imagination. The remaining ratings are due out from EA Sports soon, but the latest round-up is almost as useful, giving us an insight into which players have failed to make the top ranking.

The main headline is that Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah is ranked only 27th. The Egyptian has a good claim to be one of the best players in the world, after enjoying a stellar season last time out. Salah was the recipient of the PFA Player of the Year award after netting 44 goals in all competitions in his debut season for Liverpool, but that wasn’t enough to make him one of the very best on FIFA 19.

Other players to miss out on the top 20 include Real Madrid and Wales forward Gareth Bale, Juventus forward Paulo Dybala and Man City man David Silva.

Stay tuned to this page for updates on the top 20, as and when EA Sports release them.

FIFA 19: Formats

That FIFA 18 will appear on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC is a no-brainer. The good news is that after a five-year hiatus away from Nintendo, FIFA 19 will continue on the Switch for a second season.

Hopefully, the large install base will encourage EA to make it a full conversion this time. Last year’s, good as it was, was missing The Journey thanks to using a different engine – the same reason the PS3 and Xbox 360 editions missed out. It’s not clear if that’s the case yet, but EA is saying the Switch version will see a big boost over last year’s outing, with teams playing more like their real-life counterparts.

It’s not clear if the game will appear on PS3 and Xbox 360, but the series must be approaching its final years on last generation hardware.

FIFA 19: Release date

EA has confirmed that FIFA 19 will be released on 28 September 2018. Typically EA Access members get access a few days before everyone else, so it may be worth looking into subscribing.

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