FIWC 2017 CAPS THE MOST IMPORTANT YEAR OF COMPETITIVE FIFA YET

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Until the inception of FUT Champions, FIFA esports had been on the fringe of the industry. Marquee FIFA Ultimate Team competitions, like the ‘Gfininty Play Like A Legend’ tournaments, weren’t able to gain traction – even though some of the best FIFA players in the world took part. Just 11 months later, it’s a completely different story.

The in-built competitive game mode has sparked an interest in the esport amongst FIFA players, and also brought real-life football clubs into the mix. The Bundesliga’s Vfl Wolfsburg were one of the first teams to sign esports players Benedikt Saltzer and Daniel Fink to the club in May 2015. A year later, the Premier League’s West Ham United also entered the fray, signing Sean ‘Dragon’ Allen.

However, since then, a host of other professional teams have joined. Other Bundesliga and Premier League teams, like Schalke 04 and Manchester City, followed the example set by Wolfsburg and West Ham. French giants Paris Saint-Germain and 2017 Ligue 1 Champions AS Monaco joined last October. This February, Serie A club AS Roma partnered with Fnatic, a London-based organization and one of the biggest names in esports, to sign three players. The English YouTube-based football club Hashtag United, founded by Spencer ‘Spencer FC’ Owen, also field four players.

This is why this year’s FIFA Interactive World Cup in London could be the game’s most important event yet. With more than 10 players backed by teams from at least seven different professional football leagues, the competitive field is unlike any other. Moreover, it has the feel of the real sport itself.

FIFA Interactive Club World Cup Manager Adrian Roelli spoke on this subject in a recent interview with Goal.com’s Chris Wheatley.

“We’ve seen a trend in FIFA esports in general that more and more clubs have taken this up, and have created their own teams,” Roelli said. “[We] obviously wanted to support them and tried to build the tournament that specifically targets these signed players and have them compete against each other.”

AS Roma’s Aman Seddiqi, who qualified for the FIWC and both legs of the FUT Champions Americas regional finals and was one of the three players signed by the club in February, has taken notice of the rich pool of compeitors in London, but doesn’t think the year’s-worth of anticipation will affect the skill level.

“The amount of talent at the FIWC will make the tournament tight,” Seddiqi said. “The players have been playing at a high level since the beginning of [FIFA 17] so I think the timing won’t affect the difference in skill. Most players know each other’s playstyles so that is the one thing that changes with time.”

According to esportsearnings.com, a community-driven competitive gaming resource that compiles public information, the prize pool for FIFA 17 has already crossed the million dollar mark. This still pales in comparison to the bigger esports like League of Legends, but FIFA is on the rise among professional gamers.

“The FIWC is very significant this year, and it’s really because of the prize pot,” said YouTuber and FIFA community influencer Chu Morah, better known as ChuBoi, who is also one of the hosts of this year’s event. “It’s the biggest grand prize in FIFA history.”

The Berlin FIFA Ultimate Team Championships, hosted by EA Sports in May, boasted a $400,000 prize pool. This week’s FIWC 2017 Champion, who will be crowned on Friday, will take home $200,000 alone, ten times the amount won by 2016 FIWC Champion Mohamad Al-Bacha.

“That shows that there’s going to be more money going toward this as an esport,” Morah said. “Hopefully, more prize money gets given out in the future, because we do want to see these events be worth it for these pro players.”

Along with prize money, viewership is on an uptick too. Most of the FUT Champions regional grand finals were broadcast live on ESPN2. February’s Paris Regional, which pitted Europe’s best players against each other, was re-broadcast on ESPN’s flagship network. With its release just over a month away, FIFA 18 could ostensibly reach even bigger audiences thanks to the stage set by its previous iteration.v

99 LUKAKU, 96 MERTENS IN OP FIFA MOBILE ‘RETRO STARS’

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We’ve been waiting for a big, overpowered trio of FIFA Mobile ‘Retro Stars’ for a couple weeks now. And while last week’s was nice and tasty in its own right, tonight’s really takes the cake.

Those clamoring for an upgrade to Flash Freeze Aubameyang or Out of Position Dries Mertens have been granted their wish: Aubameyang is now a 92 rated CF while Mertens is a whopping 96-overall LF. GG, EA FIFA Mobile live team!

This week’s Master is a doozy too. After an emphatic debut this past weekend at Old Trafford, Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku gets a 99-overall item (upgraded from his 97 Lunar New Year Master item), with some appropriate boosts to match. If you’ve been saving up Lunar New Year tokens, you’re going to have a real good time this week.

These Retro Star plans are available until next Tuesday with live events tonight and over the weekend as well.

NBA 2K18 Gameplay: Offense & Defense, Animations, Shot Meter, Dribbling, AI (Impressions)

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We have brand new NBA 2K18 Gameplay Impressions, derived from a number of NBA 2K18 ballers / influencers who were invited to test out the game. We’ve summarized them below, check out the NBA 2K18 gameplay info! Many good, well-needed additions to the game so far!

OFFENSE

  • AI improved ball movement, realistic tempo.
  • Pressure sensitive passing. Can properly direct your target based on combo of distance, button pressure.
  • Errant passes tuned. Will now include low and wide passes
  • Less “canimations”, using a “branch system” which allow for far more movement creativity.
  • Individual movement sliders to control ballhandler or player without the ball. Works in conjunction with movement system.
  • Triple threat moves are insane this year
  • Post game has more animations and control
  • New Pick and Roll system
  • Pump-fake into foul animation has been brought back
  • Inbounding is slightly easier
  • Brick wall is toned down a lot
  • Contact dunks “look amazing”
  • Speed boosting is a tiny bit slower than last year, but barely noticeable
  • Baseline cheese is 50-50 for turnovers / fouls
  • No layup meter
  • You can change your shot meter color to yellow, purple, blue, and more

DEFENSE

  • Defense is fluid, better on-ball defense
  • Smarter AI defense on the pick and roll.
  • Added contested shot feedback
  • New visual of coach communication option that will help you on defense with visual shoutouts (i.e. “switch!”).

MISC.

  • Crowd cheering loud at Little Caesar’s Arena on a and-1 foul
  • New rebounding system
  • Ref bumping is gone
  • HOF badges are in the game and it has the same player card menu as NBA 2K17
  • All the franchise improvements in NBA 2K18 will be for Nintendo Switch as well

MLS TOTS GIOVINCO PLAYER REVIEW: THE ATOMIC ANT

In this review, we’ll be looking at the TOTS Sebastian Giovinco.

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IN-GAME STATS AND RATING

The Atomic Ant has some incredible in-game stats:

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Even without a chemistry style he has 96 acceleration, 93 sprint speed, 99 agility, 99 balance, 95 ball control, 93 dribbling, 94 positioning, 92 finishing, 91 long shots, 98 free kicks, 96 vision, 87 stamina and 85 aggression. Wow.

I used Finisher chemistry on him to give him a nice boost to his shooting and physicality.

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With this chemistry, he goes up to 97 shooting (with 97 finishing 99 shot power, 99 long shots) and 78 physical (with a measly 66 strength coupled with 95 aggression). I wanted to boost his strength as much as possible, which is why I went with this chemistry style. Originally, I had planned on using Architect, but I felt the shooting boost was necessary.

With Finisher, his in-game ratings are as follows:

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He’s a 89-rated ST and a 93-rated CAM and CF. Due to his low heading, hew as never going to be a very high-rated striker.

SQUAD

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I used him at CAM in the 4231 formation. I make two small changes in-game — I swap Dos Santos with Giovinco, and then swap Giovinco with Villa (so that Giovinco ends up at the RCAM position).

I used the squad above for 10 games, so I’ll be basing my reviews on those 10 games. All games were played in Div. 1.

STATS

Here are my stats with TOTS Villa:

Games: 10

Goals: 11

Assists: 10

Chemistry Style: Finisher

As you can see, he hit the elusive double-double in the 10 games I used him.

Let’s get into the review.

REVIEW

Pace: 10/10

He could just about be The Flash; he’s so unbelievably quick. Instant acceleration, both on and off the ball. Incredible sprint speed, both on and off the ball. His pace is deadly, and he can use to terrifying effect as he tears open defenses with ease. I didn’t encounter a player who could keep up with him. He’s genuinely the third fastest player I’ve used this year, after my beloved TOTS Dembele and my TOTS Hazard.

Shooting: 10/10

His finesse shots are nuts. Once again, they are the third best in the game, after TOTS Dembele and TOTS Hazard. He can whip it in, from any angle, and the curve he gets is ridiculous. I must have scored six of his 11 goals from the corner of the box, just by hitting those finesse shots into the top corner. It’s like FIFA 12 all over again.

I loved his long shots too — he cuts in, and then the world is his oyster. He can unleash a perfect finesse, or absolutely blast one towards the keeper. His shot power is unreal, and it causes all sorts of problems for the keeper. He hit the woodwork at least five times from outside the box, so his goal tally could have been much higher. Inside the box, this power, coupled with great positioning, finishing and volleys, make him an absolute nightmare. He’s fantastic from close range, and can finish pretty much any chance that drops to him.

Passing: 10/10

You might be tired of hearing this, but once again, he’s fantastic. His passing range is very, very good, and he can create chances both right in front of him, and at a distance. I loved getting into a little bit of space, thanks to his dribbling and pace, and then playing a perfect pass to an open team mate. His through balls were very good, and he set up Villa eight times. The other two assists were long range passes — wonderfully floated and timed efforts that split open defenses. I have nothing but good things to say about his passing.

Dribbling: 11/10

“The dictionary defines superlative as: of the highest kind, quality, or order, surpassing all else, or others. Supreme.”

— Michael Scott (as played by Steve Carrell), The Office Season 7.

Michael may not have known it, but that hilarious hyperbole nails TOTS Giovinco; he’s that good. Effortless on the ball, never putting a foot wrong. Absolutely mesmerizing to use and watch. He can cause so many problems for the opponents, it’s ridiculous. This man cannot be stopped — he can easily wiggle his way through an entire team if he wanted to. Absolutely unreal.

Defending: N/A

He’s a 5’4 (164 cm) attacker playing at right CAM. Let’s give him a break.

Physical: 7/10

Surprisingly, he wasn’t too weak. Still weak, still dominated at times, but he does win a lot of 50-50 challenges. This is probably down to his fantastic aggression, and if you think about it, 66 strength isn’t all too bad. He still gets thrown off the ball a lot, and shielding is only partially effective, but it’s surprisingly decent. I’d suggest playing him out wide, behind the forwards, or as part of a two-man strike force, just so that his lack of strength doesn’t become a liability. His stamina is good, jumping is decent, and as mentioned, I really liked his aggression.

Weak foot: 9/10

Had absolutely no issues. Passing didn’t feel limited by the weak foot, and he was decent when it came to shooting. As always, would have preferred the five-star weakfoot, so that he doesn’t miss the occasional chance.

Skills: 9/10

He really doesn’t need the five-star skills, but they would be nice. Four-star, with his pace and dribbling and shooting and passing, is more than enough.

SUMMARY

I loved using this item, and of all the MLS TOTS, this is the one I will definitely keep. He’s a little on the weaker side, but the rest of his stats are ridiculous, and he’s so deadly in-game. There is a reason why he was at one point extinct on the Xbox One market; at around 200K, for that kind of ability, he’s incredible value.

Rating: 9.5/10

Value for coins: 10/10

FIFA 18: EA Sports release latest features in video package

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What’s the story?

FIFA 18 will undergo some major changes in its dynamics if the latest video clipping released by EA Sports is anything to go by.

The major change we talk of appears to be in the game’s atmosphere. The overall stadium experience of the FIFA series has been often criticised by fans for being too lacklustre and unappealing. On the other hand, PES has worked its way into the good books of gamers by having a more complete gaming experience owing to interactions between fans and players in the stadium.

But if the new trailer is to be believed, EA seem to have worked hard on making the in-game stadium atmosphere more to fan’s liking. It looks impressive too, full with impeccable camera work and a sneak peek into the possible FIFA 18 gameplay.

In case you didn’t know…

The Facebook and Twitter pages of EA Sports FIFA have been awfully busy of late, giving fans a slight taste of what to expect when the game makes its way into our lives next month. With the release date coming closer, new features are being unveiled by the developers to improve sales as well as promote the game on a worldwide stage.

The heart of the matter

Immersive atmospheres is what they’re calling this new feature and it shall include new stadiums to choose from, with the game now touching various countries around the world. The addition of high-resolution crowds means that you’ll be able to see faces of unknown fans around the world in the clearest of fashion.

In the past, FIFA avoided showing crowd faces to cover up on the lack of attention to detail given to these spectators. New crowd behaviours will allow the everyday gamer to witness reactions of the crowd to a tense game or even a missed opportunity at goal.

New pitch side additions and even banners have been added to make the close surroundings of the ground look incredibly realistic. On-pitch graphics have also been added finally to give a more holistic look to the match being played.

What’s next?

FIFA 18 will release on 29th September and is bound to be one of the most enjoyable games released this year.

Author’s take

The new additions and developments will blur the lines between reality and virtual gaming to a whole new level and promises big things when this much awaited series makes its inevitable return.

FIFA MOBILE UPGRADED LVL LUKA MODRIC PLAYER REVIEW

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With the release of the League vs League (LvL) Master player upgrades a couple of weeks ago, everyone has been slowly working their way towards being able to upgrade them by winning 10 LvL tournaments letting you upgrade your Juan Mata, Andrea Pirlo or Luka Modrić from 90 rated to 95.

Having missed out on Player of the Month Heung Min Son due to the pricey Messi, I have been lacking a good second CAM for my team for a while, and had high hopes that 95 rated Luka Modrić would be able to fill one of the biggest gaps I had in my team.

This is the team that I used to test him. The games I played with him were in in LvL Tournaments, League Championships and the Legendary 1 and 2 division of Versus Attack Mode, facing teams rated between 101 and 115 Overall.

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At first look, his stats aren’t the most impressive, especially for a 95 rated player. Compared to other of a similar rating, such as the recently released Global Tour Master Christian Eriksen or Upgraded TOTS Dele Alli, Modrić’s main attribute is obviouly his passing — one of the least important areas for any player to have good stats in for FIFA Mobile.

To get a better idea as to how he may play, lets take a look at his stats:

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At first look, his stats aren’t the most impressive, especially for a 95 rated player. With his passing and dribbling being his top attributes, he doesn’t necessarily lend himself well to FIFA Mobile, which is more centred around pace and shooting ability. Compared to other of a similar rating, such as the recently released Global Tour Master Christian Eriksen, Upgraded TOTS Dele Alli or even the Independence Day Christian Pulisic, all have what appear to be far superior stats in the right areas.

STATS

In around 20 games that I played with him, going between the three variants of 451, these are his approximate stats:

GOALS: 9

ASSISTS: 7

Not exactly outstanding contributions in either stat, but with CAM being a difficult position to find, he was limited in the number of chances he was a part of. The majority of his assists came from his corners, which were definitely a strong point of his game.

REVIEW

Pace: 5/10 - Sluggish is the best word I can think of to describe him. He had occasional chances where he was able to run clear and get a shot on goal, but more often than not he was caught by a defender who many other players would be able to run free from. However, that was to be expected for a player with only 90 pace, and many of the opposition defenders had far greater pace stats which allowed them to be able to catch up to him.

Shooting: 6/10 - Sometimes he was great, and could score some nice curved shots from the edge of the box, but the next turn he could put an identical chance straight at the keeper or far beyond the far post. I feel like his inability to be able to finish fairly easy chances was the reason that I ended up getting demoted from Legendary 1 to Legendary 2 in the process of playing with him for this review.

Passing: 8/10 - Modrić’s only real positive was his passing. Whether tapping or using the buttons, he was able to find his target the majority of attempts. When he took my corners, his accuracy was excellent, and resulted in more scoring chances than with any other corner taker. Sadly, passing still plays a minor role in the game, so his excellent passing ability goes to waste, unlike if his shooting was his key area of strength.

Dribbling: 7/10 - His pace obviously plays a part in his dribbling, as it reflects the speed at which he is able to move with the ball. His 95 Dribbling felt good when using his roulette, and his movement as a whole felt good. However, he sometimes felt slightly clunky, with loose first touches and letting the ball run too far ahead of him when he was doing a roulette past a defender.

Physical: 4/10 - His biggest notable weakness was his strength. With his lack of pace, you’d hope he’d have the strength to hold off some defenders at least, but no. He was easily knocked off the ball by even some more ‘average’ defenders like 95-97 David Luiz or Retro Stars Laurent Ciman, which gave him no chance against any of the top tier defenders that you tend to face in the higher reaches of the VsA leaderboard.


SUMMARY

Is he worth doing? The simple answer is no.

His stats simply don’t perform at the level you’d expect for such a hard-to-get player of any level, never mind a 95 rated one. The stats of both 95 Juan Mata and 95 Andrea Pirlo are significantly better than those of the Croat. I almost feel like it was solely down to him that I ended up being relegated from Legendary 1 while testing him, as he was far too inconsistent with his finishing to be effective in that division. On top of this, his +3 Long Pass Accuracy is not going to provide a major boost to any of your players, and with such an abundance of other CAM’s with better stats and boosts, upgrading Modrić shouldn’t be a high priority for anyone.

Rating: 6/10

FUTTIES FIFA 17 NOMINEE SBCS – FAVOURITE RIGHT BACK, PREMIER LEAGUE WINS AGAIN FIFA 17

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It’s getting awfully hard to expect non-Premier League players to be able to win FUTTIES votes.

Sure, the Prem is the most popular league in the world. But with Liverpool (and sometimes England national teamer) Nathaniel Clyne in the vote for this week, it looks like we’re headed to our ninth PL pink-and-gold item in 10 tries.

The promotion’s been cool overall — voting via Squad Buildling Challenges is a nice touch — but perhaps some kind of pivot is needed next year with one league dominating so handedly.

On that note, Manchester City starlet Gabriel Jesus won this past weekend’s Favourite Future Player poll, besting Breel Donald Embolo of Schalke and Madrid’s Marco Asensio.

Joining the aforementioned Clyne on the ballot through Friday are AS Roma’s Bruno Peres as well as PSG (for now)’s Serge Aurier. Imagine if a hypothetically new Chelsea (or United) signing Aurier got his first PL item Friday.

FIFA 18: 10 Highest Rated Players Projection

FIFA 18 is around the corner and we all want to know who will be the highest rated players in the game. Will Ronaldo keep his crown in FIFA 18? We predict the ratings of top players.

CRISTIANO RONALDO (REAL MADRID) FIFA 17: 94 FIFA 18 PROJECTION: 95

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Ronaldo was given 94 rating in FIFA 17. He is already the top player in the game but after winning the league and champions league we cal all expect a little bump in his rating in the next FIFA edition.

LIONEL MESSI (BARCELONA) FIFA 17: 93 FIFA 18 PROJECTION: 94

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Though it has been Ronaldo’s year Messi has posted his best goals-to-game ratio this year since 2012-13 in all competition. We can expect a rise in his rating in FIFA 18.

NEYMAR (BARCELONA) FIFA 17: 92 FIFA 18 PROJECTION: 92

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Neymar was given 92 rating in FIFA 17 after having not so incredible last season his ratings are pretty much to be stay the same in FIFA 18 too.

MANUEL NEUER (BAYERN MUNICH) FIFA 17: 92 FIFA 18 PROJECTION: 91

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Manuel Neuer was given 92 rating in FIFA 17 but after poor performance in Champions League last season we project a decrease in his rating in FIFA 18 but he will still be the highest rated Goalkeeper in the game.

LUIS SUAREZ (BARCELONA) FIFA 17: 92 FIFA 18 PROJECTION: 90

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Suarez had 92 rating in FIFA 17 and he hasn’t done anything wrong in last season but he is turning 30 and bringing him on par with Lewandovwki in FIFA 18 seems anything but fair.

DAVID DE GEA (MAN UTD) FIFA 17: 90 FIFA 18 PROJECTION: 90

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David de Gea had 90 rating in FIFA 17 and he had a great season at Manchester United. He is improving each season. We project his rating to be the same in FIFA 18.

ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI (BAYERN MUNICH) FIFA 17: 90 FIFA 18 PROJECTION: 90

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Lewandowski was given 90 rating in FIFA 17 and we expect it to stay the same. He had a amazing year at Bayern Munich last season but club’s poor performance in Champions League may be the reason for no increase in his ratings in FIFA 18.

THIBAUT COURTOIS (CHELSEA) FIFA 17: 89 FIFA 18 PROJECTION: 90

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Thibaut Courtois had 89 rating in FIFA 17. He had an amazing season at Chelsea winning the League with Conte. He can have a little bump in his rating in FIFA 18.

GIANLUIGI BUFFON (JUVENTUS) FIFA 17: 88 FIFA 18 PROJECTION: 90

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Well Buffon keeps reminding us that age is just a number. He keeps performing incredibly well each season. After Juventus’ great run in champions league he is expected to get a rating bump in FIFA 18.

GARETH BALE (REAL MADRID) FIFA 17: 90 FIFA 18 PROJECTION: 89

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Bale had 90 rating in FIFA 17. After going through injuries last season he can get a decrease in his rating in FIFA 18. We hope the welsh man comes back stronger this season.

MLS TOTS MICHAEL BRADLEY PLAYER REVIEW: THE DESTROYER

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TOTS Michael Bradley

 

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IN-GAME STATS AND RATING

I picked Bradley because his item looks phenomenal. Besides his 80 pace, he has 86-plus on all his item stats. He has fantastic passing, shooting, defending and physical stats, as well as superb dribbling stats. His high agility and balance are relatively rare for a item like him, so I was eager to give him a shot.

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I used the Anchor chemistry style on him, to give his item a nice pace boost, as well as a boost to his defending and physical.

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He’s a 95-rated CDM with that chem. style, so I expected great things from him.

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SQUAD

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I used him at CDM in the 4231 formation. I make two small changes in-game — I swap Dos Santos with Giovinco, and then swap Giovinco with Villa.

I used the squad above for 10 games, so I’ll be basing my reviews on those 10 games. All games were played in Div. 1.

STATS

Here are my stats with Bradley:

Games: 10

Goals: 3

Assists: 2

Chemistry Style: Anchor

Let’s get into the review.

REVIEW

Pace: 8/10

No real complaints here, but nothing to write home about. He feels like he has 80 pace, and the boost from the anchor is not felt. He didn’t get outrun by too many players, and he was fast enough to get forward and back without issue. I’d recommend using a shadow/catalyst/hunter on him, just to get a little more pace on this item.

Shooting: 8/10

Again, I didn’t feel like this was anything to write home about. I was forcing the ball to him in games where I was a goal or two ahead, just to see if he could pop one home from distance. He managed to score three long range belters for me, but that was sort of expected given his 91 long shots and 99 shot power. I wasn’t impressed with him inside the box — he didn’t manage to get a shot on target from inside the box, and his finishing was dreadful (he was through on goal a couple of times).

Passing: 9/10

Sublime. He can pull off almost any pass in the game, and I had no issues with his distribution. He wasn’t on the level of Gerrard or Alonso, but he was still very solid. I didn’t take a freekick with him, so I can’t really comment on that.

Dribbling: 10/10

I was very, very impressed. In game, he’s not stiff or slow on the turn — he dribbles smoothly, and can easily move from side to side to avoid defenders. This is a very unique item in that sense. You rarely get a defensive midfielder who is that good on the ball. I was never worried when he was on the ball, and off the ball, he was easy to control. One of the best defensive midfielder you can get this year in terms of dribbling.

Defending: 10/10

Wonderful. He closes down every move, reads every play, perfectly executes every tackle. There are no negatives here. This is the perfect defensive item. It’s really useful to have a player like this in your team, because he breaks down opponents before he have a sight of goal, or are able to get to your back line.

Physical: 10/10

This item is a monster. He can bully pretty much any opponent, and wins 90% of his duels. He’s a destroyer in the middle of the park — if you go up against him, you are probably going to lose.

Weakfoot: 3/10

Atrocious. His three-star weak foot feels awful in game, and means that this item is completely one-footed. As a result, it’s easy to predict his shots and passes, which really hurts this item at times.

Skills: 5/10

Two-star skills are not a huge issue in the CDM spot, but you definitely feel the lack of them if you are heavily reliant on skills (as I am).

SUMMARY

I really like using this item. He’s fast, strong, with great technical stats, and he feels great in game. He fits nicely into your MLS or American teams, and I guarantee you’ll enjoy him.

However, for 200K, this item probably isn’t worth it. He’s not as good as Dendoncker, who I still maintain is the best item in the game (for his price). TOTS Bradley is a superb item, but there are better items available for a lot less, so keep that in mind if you are looking to pick him up.

Rating: 9/10

Value for coins: 6/10