FIFA 19 (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Neil Flynn 04.10.2018

Review for FIFA 19 on Nintendo Switch

Every few years, Electronic Arts mixes up the formula for its flagship sports franchise, FIFA. The company changes how players respond, then it adds in fancy new features, plus it even creates mesmerising experiences. Some years show huge innovative progress, while others focus on optimising and building on the previous iteration. How does FIFA 19 on Nintendo's Switch fare? Kick on to find out!

To those who are new to FIFA on Switch, then a slight history lesson is in order. During the Nintendo Switch reveal in early 2017, EA took to the stage to announce its new partnership with Nintendo. However, 18 months later and the Switch has only received three titles from EA, with the latest addition to the roster being FIFA 19.

Initially, support itself seemed great, especially for those who had to live through the Wii and Wii U era, where sports titles on competitors' platforms were always vastly superior; unfortunately, though, not much has changed. The Nintendo Switch's limitations eventually began to rear its ugly head and, as such, EA released FIFA 18 last year with multiple omissions, namely the absent single-player story mode, The Journey, alongside a stripped-down career mode, a dumbed down Ultimate team, and not being able to play with friends online. Okay, people already know all of this, so why the need to be reminded? Well, the thing is, not much has really changed between FIFA 18 and FIFA 19.

Screenshot for FIFA 19 on Nintendo Switch

The limitations stem from EA running a customised Ignite engine, instead of using Frostbite, which is what is used on the Xbox One and PS4 versions, so that's why the newer features, such as The Journey, are not present. Unfortunately, this isn't the only feature missing from FIFA 19, and instead a raft of new features has seemingly been missed off, including the new options added to 'Dynamic Tactics,' which allow for greater customisation to how players react on the pitch through D-pad presses. 50/50 battles on loose balls are subtly not present, and neither is the Active Touch System, which, as the title suggests, changes how players strike, dribble, and control the ball. Instead, Nintendo Switch owners get a copy and paste job from FIFA 18 with a largely unchanged Career mode (ironically, this hasn't changed much from the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of FIFA 14…), which strangely has removed some options, such as being able to view other leagues and divisions.

It isn't all doom and gloom, though, as the newly pilfered UEFA Champions League and Europa League from PES has been made present in all available modes. Commentary from Lee Dixon and Derek Rae is a refreshing mix from the largely dated and recycled lines from Martin Tyler and Alan Smith. Added presentation and branding are abundantly evident, ranging from refreshed menus, to music, and even in-game HUD. These new additions bring further authenticity to the package and create a fully immersive football experience.

Screenshot for FIFA 19 on Nintendo Switch

Interestingly, EA has included new modes to Kick Off, many of which have been the street rules that teenagers concocted years ago to add further challenge. These new options can be accessed in the 'House Rules' section of Kick Off and include the ability to now pre-determine a number of random teams available to each player. This can alleviate the constant scrolling of trying to find a new team to play with. King of the Hill is a winner-stays-on option where the victor cannot swap sides or teams until they lose. Other new options include: Survival, Long range, First to Two, and No Rules mode. Each of the different modes is outright fun and helps enforce the creative street rules that many FIFA fans have been playing for years previously, albeit unofficially. It is just unfortunate that some of these rules cannot be crossed over or customised with each other, but this is a small grievance.

Despite many tweaks to gameplay being missing on the Nintendo Switch, there is one new addition that does make the cut: Timed Finishing. This allows for a worldie to be curled with a precise press of the shoot button, akin to Gears of War's Active Reload system. The only bug-bear with this is that in Gears of War, reloading normally takes place while covering or out of the heat of action, which gives the player the opportunity to focus on the reloading mechanic and the associated action on the reload bar. Unfortunately executing the Timed Finishing in FIFA 19 can be incredibly difficult as trying to concentrate on the action while trying to execute the well-timed button press can be overwhelming. Just like Gears of War, there is a risk and reward mechanic associated with attempting a Timed Finish, which either results in a top-class goal or punting the ball into row Z. It doesn't help that this new feature is barely explained in the game itself; it hasn't even been implemented in the pre-match Skill Games or Practice Arena, either.

Screenshot for FIFA 19 on Nintendo Switch

EA should be given some credit for continuing to encourage split Joy-Con multiplayer on one local device. In doing so, some features are lost but, ultimately, it does allow for a multiplayer version of FIFA to exist on the move. What's more, by creating profiles, players can see a raft of leaderboard statistics of their head to head records, which adds a whole new layer of competitiveness to the mix. Positively, EA has added in the possibility to now play with friends online, which fixes this glaring omission from FIFA 18, although a Nintendo Switch Online paid subscription is needed to use this option.

The FIFA series has always had a stellar soundtrack featuring hit-selling artists and FIFA 19 doesn't disappoint with over 40 tracks. FIFA 19 also improves upon its predecessors' in-game audio, with added football chants from the crowd, which are now more animated and diverse than ever before. Admittedly, the crowd does not look as graphically advanced as on the Xbox One or PS4 but this is to be expected with the graphical prowess of these machines. On the pitch, it is hard to see if there are any graphical bumps as the players still look exactly the same as their FIFA 18 counterparts, but the game does run at a smooth 60fps/1080p while docked, which is reassuring.

Screenshot for FIFA 19 on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

The old adage of "less is more" cannot be applied in this scenario as Nintendo Switch users are emphatically getting less bang for their buck. EA promised that the FIFA series on Switch would be the "Most immersive, social and authentic sports game ever created for Nintendo players," which is true, but it pales in comparison to its counterparts on rival consoles. If handheld gaming is the preference here, or Switch is the only option, then FIFA 19 will deliver strongly but, otherwise, it is best to pick this up on the Xbox One or PS4.


EA Sports


EA Sports





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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