For years now, EA Sports has frustratingly neglected to improve the one feature you'd think would've been the easiest to address for both FIFA 17 and its previous versions: substitutions.
Let's face it: The way substitutions are set up now pretty much makes them obsolete. Unless one of your players gets injured, you look like a complete asshole if you pause the game to bring on a new midfielder... never mind trying to use all three of your subs.
As a result, it's become a pretty much unwritten rule that FIFA players play the whole game without using their subs. This rule goes whether you're playing online or against someone in person.
We generally do this for the good of the game. You know, to preserve the flow and to avoid being a buzzkill by pausing just when the match is getting good.
But here's a crazy idea: Wouldn't it be great if you could enjoy a feature that's actually important when it comes to real-life matches?
Well, there's a simple way that FIFA could have made this happen, and all it would have to do is look at NBA 2K.
For years now, NBA 2K has allowed its users to make substitutions without having to pause the game. That's because – even during the flow of gameplay – a user can bring up a sort of mini menu that allows him or her to make different adjustments.
In the image above, you can see on the left hand side how the players can be subbed in while the ball is in play. But the image below shows an even greater effect of allowing players to do this.
Players can bring up this menu during many of the 2K's great cut scenes that are meant to show how realistic the game is.
This means that players can enjoy all the work that developers put into creating sick graphics – which are showcased mostly during timeouts – all while doing something useful for the actual gaming experience.
Just look at how 2K showcases realism, while simultaneously allowing players to make strategic adjustments. Two birds, one stone.
And that's what should have really made this a no-brainer for FIFA: the cut scenes. Ever since the 15th edition of the game, EA Sports has clearly been trying to invest more time into creating realistic animations and dramatics.
But nobody gives a damn about watching those after they've seen them, what, two or three times? Most players are likely to end up skipping the cut scenes during a goal celebration or free kick set up for the same reason they don't sub: It ruins the flow of the game.
So, you know what would both prompt users to watch FIFA's cut scenes and add more depth to the game? That's right: in-game substitutions and adjustments.
Also, it's not like FIFA is unaccustomed to allowing players to make adjustments during a match. Using the directional pad already brings up a small menu for tactical options during the game.
FIFA also isn't unaccustomed to taking ideas for huge features from other games. The Journey on FIFA 17 is a complete rip-off of NBA 2K's My Career mode.
The only difference is, everyone loves My Career. And well, we'll see with The Journey.
Anyway, the point is simple: EA Sports should've thought of in-game subs a long time ago. If they did, it could've helped to improve their declining game.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go pre-order it.