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I often spent some time with my family playing FIFA. This year I've been helping parents get the most out of the game by understanding how it changes each year, the costs involved and which settings are important to check.

The first decision to make is whether you need to upgrade to the newer version. This year, along with a new Street Football mode, the game has three big areas of improvement:

    ON THE BALL: Enjoy more control over the Decisive Moments that determine the outcome of every match in FIFA 20. This includes a fresh approach for set-pieces, improved dribbling, more control in tackles and better shooting options.

    OFF THE BALL: More time and space. More emphasis on your actions on the ball. This includes increased control and more options in one-on-one situations, improved defender AI and more natural movement around the pitch.

    THE BALL: In the air. On the ground. In FIFA 20, the ball moves more naturally than ever before. This includes new ball physics, more realistic ball movement and better curling shots.

If in doubt you can try the FIFA 20 demo on your console and give it a go before you invest in the game. As you can see, this is something I did with FIFA 19 before taking the plunge with my family.

Like last year, new features continue that make a big difference to families. In particular, the Advantage Settings enable you to level the playing field where two people have a different proficiency with the game. In families, this means that mums and dads can challenge youngsters to a game of FIFA and have a more competitive experience.

Another good way to play the game together is to get some extra controllers and play with four players on the same side. This means that children (and parents) need to communicate and work together if they are going to win. Or you can go two-vs-two for a family derby.

FIFA Ultimate Team features again in FIFA 20. This is the mode where you earn your own players and craft a full team. If you are playing this mode then it's worth looking at the different purchasing options, as some include additional packs of players. 

In this mode, there is an incentive to spend additional money to open virtual packs of players that can improve your team. A little like collecting football stickers you may have done as a child, but here you then use the players in your team.

It's important to understand that this additional cost is an optional extra and not an essential part of the game. You can play ultimate team without spending this extra money -- although youngsters will likely want to put some of their pocket money towards it.

To ensure you keep this enjoyable, ensure you have setup the passwords and limits on any credit cards on your system. A good alternative is to get children gift cards for store credit or FIFA points. You can also opt to add money periodically to your child's online account rather than associating open credit. Finally, ensure you have setup the account with an email address you check regularly as this will ensure you stay in touch with spending.

Of course, playing the game together and keeping it in family rooms is a good way to ensure you keep tabs on what is going on. This also means you have the chance to cheer on your child if they are doing well and celebrate those FIFA successes.

You should also be aware that children can talk to other players in the game. A handy way to make this safe is to create a Party beforehand and then specify the volume to only include their audio move the voice slider over to Party Audio.

It's worth noting that Xbox One, PS4 and PC versions have all of the new features, while the Nintendo Switch version is a Legacy Edition, with updated rosters but without the new street football mode and other features. If you want to play FIFA on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, the latest version is FIFA 19.

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Andrew Robertson
Andy Robertson is the editor of AskAboutGames and has written for national press and broadcast about video games and families for over 15 years. He has just published the Taming Gaming book with its Family Video Game Database.