The eagerly anticipated new FIFA 17 game will be released on Tuesday, September 27, but if you can't wait that long to find out if it is any good, here are the juicy details.
All you need to know about FIFA 17.
- Much improved AI makes for a better spectacle on the pitch
- New game engine means crisper controls - passing and possession feels smoother
- Themed squad challenges allow you to win in-game rewards like coins and packs
- Richer graphics, all round much more polished and realistic look
- The Journey - you're tied to the needs of the story, meaning you can sparkle all you want on the pitch, but you'll still be sitting on the bench next game
- Goalies don't feel as solid as in FIFA 16 - or maybe my guy was just rubbish
- New animations interrupt the flow of the action
- Still not much differentiation in style between teams
For the last few years, EA Sports' FIFA series has dominated the battle for football game superiority.
But last year's offering was a little lacklustre, with on-pitch gaming mechanics letting down what could have been a fantastic game.
Twelve months of tweaking and tinkering in the EA studios, and FIFA 17 has emerged, feeling like a very different beast.
First and foremost because it's the first title in the series to offer a story mode - The Journey - which follows the career of a young player trying to make it in the Premier League.
Now that may not sound like much, but it's an important step for a game which, in recent years, has felt too wrapped up in its corporate identity to be worried about the actual on-pitch action.
The Journey isn't the only new addition to the game. It's been built on a new game engine, Frostbite, which EA claims delivers authentic, true-to-life action. And they're partly right.
Improved AI means your team plays a smarter game - on counter-attacks, players will drift out wide, or create space by the wingers cutting inside.
And the players seem more aware of how to use their bodies - fully shielding the ball while moving.
New attacking techniques, the players' enhanced ability to move, read and react in a match, plus improvements to the way players physically interact, all add up to a game that you feel much more in control of.
Set-pieces have been completely rewritten - meaning free kicks have become a lot harder.
Taking a corner means placing your cursor in the penalty box, and gauging the arc of the ball by holding down the controller button for as long as you think you need to.
More Bend it with Button, than Beckham. But I have to admit, as someone who isn't the biggest fan of football, I found The Journey to be a lot of fun.
It's not quite rags to riches, but the story of up-and-coming teen star Alex Hunter is a compelling one.
Following his emergence from Academy hopeful to Premier League contender, the story is strongly written and beautifully presented - you actually really feel for the guy.
And it's not just the chants on the pitch that get under your skin, the comments and reviews on social media bite too.
But Hunter's passion for the game is infectious - and even I was determined to succeed for him.
It also works beautifully as a kind of tutorial too, and you find yourself growing as a player as Hunter's career progresses.
Gamers who enjoyed the last year's Ultimate Team are rewarded for their efforts with extra packs - and players who progressed in FIFA 16's career mode have the choice of several perks, including Edit Player Functionality, Rematch Ability, an extra Global Scout, or an increase to Transfer Budget.
While FIFA 17 certainly looks slicker and, on the surface at least, plays better, when you dig down there were still some of the old frustrations.
At times the gameplay is too fast - especially if you're playing with a fast footballer, making it almost impossible to have any real control over the ball.
The enhanced AI means that your opponents are bloody good at shielding the ball once they have it - and it's all too easy to foul them trying to win back possession.
All in all I found a game that is much improved, just let down by silly little niggles that have been plaguing the series for a while now - not least the AI that determines even a lower league team attempts to play the game like Barcelona.
It's not all tiki-taka down there, you know. What's wrong with the good old long ball? But you can't knock EA for trying, and I can't wait to see what they have in store for FIFA 18.
Bargain Buy: £42.95 from thegamecollection.com