FIFA 17 was a season of bold, headline-grabbing ideas. This year’s standout idea is The Journey – an innovatively told story where real football challenges are mixed with Alex Hunter’s rise through the Premier League. This year’s Fifa 18 will provide the groundwork for future titles in the series.
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The FIFA 18 gameplay is built on the ideas introduced in last year’s game. The most notable new feature is the return of Pro Evo-style The Journey with detailed, interactive cut scenes for Hunter Returns. This past year Hunter was just breaking onto the scene; this season he really wants to play with the very best and win the largest competitions.
A year on, he’s a far more confident but nonetheless likeable character; you can’t help but want him to succeed because of how his personality develops over time. Within a few hours he has traded jokes with Cristiano Ronaldo, been interviewed by Rio Ferdinand and been involved in transfer speculation.
While there have been improvements for instance, the storytelling is sometimes uneven as seems to happen with many games in their first season.
Your dialogue choices in the Rio Ferdinand interview determine Hunter’s response to a string of pre-defined questions.
FIFA 18 continues the series tradition of spectacle and authenticity over realism, but a new story mode aims to bring players closer to their characters. FIFA 18 also does a good job at capturing the grand scale of big league games, but it is best at picking up on smaller details such as signature celebrations and just how star players run the ball.
the slickness of movement as players like Messi, isco, or David Silva move with the ball when they are on the pitch
Its slick production sometimes appears in some small details too. The ability to use substitute players is a welcome addition, though it doesn’t significantly change the flow of the game.
However, FIFA 18 doesn’t tackle the finer aspects of the sport with as much finesse and there’s a heavy bias toward attacking play over defending. Moments of spectacular sporting prowess, the type that happen once a season in true life, are almost 10 percent, and end scores are unrealistically high due to the sheer amount of offensive options.
A player can find the goal with both long distance and acrobatic mid-air shots, so taking chances is an effective strategy. New seasons from dribbling also allow players to tightly control the ball without losing control of it. The only downside to these types of games, though they are fairly rare and difficult to pin down in the offhand, is that sometimes it feels like you’re unstoppable when controlling famous brands Ronaldo, Messi, and Griezmann. True, this happens in real life; however it’s exaggerated here. While its understandable since the game developer has a
Once you’ve grown accustomed to it passing feels overly precise, as the ball quickly finds your feet and those of your teammates. The downside is that players like N Golo Kante or Sergio Busquets – who thrive on intelligent positioning for interceptions and are much less productive – often get sidelined in favour of more attacking players. This tints your team
Initially these master classes are a treat to watch, but if the defender is not strong enough, it leads to a one-dimensional game of football.
Elsewhere, FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) sees the meaningful addition of Squad Battles, a single-player mode where you compete keenly against squads built by other players. The more games you win, the better the reward and the bigger up the leaderboard you climb. The Icons addition is a decent supplemental game mode for those who prefer to play against AI players instead of live opponents, but it’s too rare and difficult to acquire these new cards.
Another recent addition: FUT 18 Coins. It adds a fantasy dimension to the player drafting mechanic at the core of FIFA Ultimate Team, but official kits
The FUT Draft mode is as interesting and intelligent as ever, though it can become an expensive hobby. The Online Seasons game mode is also engaging for newcomers to the series, allowing players to get accustomed to their level at their own pace.
The single largest alteration to Career Mode is in the transfer market and contract negotiations. Negotiations are conducted via dialogue options, similar to those in The Journey.
It’s made to create a theatrical and glamorous feel, as if the transfer is an event from Hollywood. The narration feels like it wants you to get excited about the transfer just as Sky Sports do on deadline day of Premier League season squad registration closes. Managing a team has always been an intriguing job, but a new face can make you feel more important and give your role greater meaning.
FIFA 18 makes enough changes to justify its purchase. However, it is a simpler game that won’t make you feel the same joy as watching your favorite football team in person. While it’s exciting to attack, the matches often feel like extravagant offensive exercises in futility.