Forget Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Mesut Özil. The best player in football right now is Alex Hunter, who has scored more than 150 million goals this season.

And don't worry about Old Trafford, Anfield and the Nou Camp. The most important football ground in Fifa 17 is Clapham Common, where you begin The Journey, the first story mode in the history of the long-running football franchise.

According to EA Sports, Hunter has played an average of 4.2 million matches per day by gamers who have helped him score a prolific 164 million goals.

Fifa 17 has all the usual balls and whistles but the addition of the story mode has been much-anticipated for a game that desperately needed something new.

In the Journey you control youngster Hunter, grandson of a fictional Liverpool great, who begins his football career at 10 in the regional cup final. A few years down the track, after an academy session in front of scouts, you get to choose your pick of Premier League teams to sign with, because you're that good.

Suddenly you're on a pre-season tour of America, making your way into the starting side. That's when you learn the real highs and lows of life as a pro footballer - some you can control, others you can't.

Hunter is played by actor Adetomiwa Edun and there are also appearances by the likes of Tottenham's Harry Kane and Borussia Dortmund's Marco Reus, while you also interact with an agent, assistant manager and teammates as you try to work your way into the starting XI.

Alex Hunter mixes with some famous faces in his quest to become a pro footballer in Fifa 17.
Alex Hunter mixes with some famous faces in his quest to become a pro footballer in Fifa 17.

It's a nice mix of on-the-field play and off-the-field interactions with the cut scenes making smooth transitions between each game. There isn't much repetition, except for the post-match interviews, and the ability to respond differently in certain interactions is a nice touch.

One issue however is that the Journey lasts a full season, and the big question is where can the game's makers take the story mode to next year? Probably not Clapham Common. That's been done.


4 ½ stars
Platforms: PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360
Rating: G