EA’s perennial soccer franchise returns with FIFA 18
Last year’s FIFA 17 was a giant step forward in franchise history. Not only was the Frostbite engine introduced but we also got to follow the adventures of Alex Hunter in an all new story mode called The Journey.
This year FIFA 18 builds upon what made FIFA 17 so great and expands by making some notable changes. A shock to many, EA Sports has brought FIFA 18 to the Switch packed full of features that can be played anytime and anywhere.
Let’s take a look at FIFA 18 and see if this year’s game makes as big of a splash as FIFA 17.
Platform: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Developer: EA Vancouver
Publisher: EA Sports
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Alex Hunter’s Journey continues on Xbox One and PS4
Last year we saw the introduction of The Journey, which allowed players to play as Alex Hunter and help him break into the world of professional soccer. FIFA 18 continues the story, and we see Hunter travel to a wide variety of different cities such as Madrid, Los Angeles and Paris.
Gameplay for the most part is the same in that you have objectives for each of the matches you participate in. You get to decide how Hunter reacts to certain situations with a Fiery, Cool, or Balanced response. This year, Key Decisions are added to the mix and put emphasis on significant moments that determine the fate of certain characters by the end of the story.
In its second year, The Journey still has some issues to iron out, such as its rating system, but overall its an improvement over FIFA 17. The Key Decisions, added customization options, and continued story are all steps in the right direction. I am excited to see this mode continue to grow and evolve, not only in just FIFA but other EA Sports games.
Thanks in part to the involvement between Cristiano Ronaldo and EA Sports, FIFA 18 has a number of on-the-pitch improvements. Ball control is much tighter and in a more realistic way than before. Players act more naturally on the ball, twisting and turning realistically.
Furthermore, collision animations look more natural and less robotic. Though I did notice that it seems as if these improvements were of more benefit to offensive players rather than defenders. I found that defenders didn’t feel quite as fluid off the ball as the attackers do. It seemed that no matter how strong your defenders are they are significantly slower.
Additionally, there are some other adjustments made to FIFA 18 such as the ability to choose and make Quick Subs. You no longer have to pause the game to make changes. Moreover, penalties have reverted back to how they were in FIFA 16.
Ultimate Team and Career modes get updated
Both Ultimate Team and Career modes have been updated for FIFA 18. In Ultimate Team, Squad Battles include a new single-player mode, which allows you to face off against teams made by the community. The better you do and the higher the difficulty level you beat your opponents on, the more points you’ll get.
The more points you get will determine what rewards you will get at the end of each week. I actually enjoyed this new single-player mode very much. It allows you to see how your team stacks up against other player-created teams without having to worry about online issues that sometimes plague matches.
Career sees its fair share of updates including the ability to engage in interactive and cinematic transfer negotiations. Just think of the cutscenes from The Journey but with real life soccer players and managers. With an abundance of modes in Ultimate Team alone, plus the extensive Career mode, Pro Clubs, Online Seasons, and Hunter Returns, there is enough content to keep you busy for all season long.
The Frostbite engine flexes its muscles on Xbox One and PS4
Within the first few seconds of playing a match, you can see visual improvements over last year’s game. FIFA’s unprecedented levels of authenticity and presentation thanks to the Frostbite engine are better than an other soccer game on the market.
Spectators on the grandstands now look even more varied and resemble real people. Stadiums are meticulously recreated with pin point accuracy and the attention to detail is astonishing. I was impressed at just how well FIFA 18 recreates each stadium’s atmosphere down to a tee.
Players jersey’s realistically crinkle and ripple as they run on the field. You can even make out individual blades of grass, and as the match progresses, the pitch scuffs and gets torn up.
FIFA 18 comes to the Nintendo Switch
If you are looking for a version of FIFA 18 that you can take anywhere and play whenever or where you are, FIFA 18 on the Switch is a near perfect experience. It contains virtually all the game modes of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Thanks to the steady 60 frames-per-second the action on the pitch is great and the graphics look good. The characters are animated surprisingly well, though maybe not as smooth as the other versions.
If you want to play FIFA 18 in handheld mode with another person you have a few control options. Both players can both use a Pro Controller or the Joy-Con Grip. Or, with simplified controls, each player can use a Joy-Con each. Online play is solid, though there is no way to invite your friends to play.
Overall when compared to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, FIFA 18 on the Switch feels more like FIFA 17.5. That being said, I would argue that FIFA 18 on the Switch is the best portable version of the franchise that has ever been made.
EA has managed to refine and hone the modern FIFA formula to an even greater degree with FIFA 18. Although FIFA 18 isn’t a giant leap forward over last years game, it does offer an excellent level of presentation and authenticity, on-the-pitch improvements, and a huge amount of content that will keep you busy all season long.
+ Lots of great game modes
+ The Journey has been improved
+ Best FIFA game in recent memory
+ Excellent level of presentation
– Some modes only saw slight improvements
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5
Overall Rating 4/5 (85%)
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