FIFA 18 is a good game, but it doesn’t contain any groundbreaking changes or signings. The gameplay and new modes are nice improvements, but there is no revolution contained in this release. While FIFA 18 does offer a few more features over its predecessor, it is not some ground-breaking upgrade.
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The response time has been improved the most notable way. I’m not saying FIFA 18’s response time is as quick as a fighting game, but it does react in a more immediate manner than before. You’re still dealing with that frustrating string of delays between you pressing your buttons and when the action on screen actually occurs, but it’s less pronounced than But you can do the same with a faster, more accurate and varied game. The new animations allow for a more fluid play style.
The game also features an evolved animation system, revolving around one-touch passing and a newly introduced driven pass. This pass is much more accurate than the old Steven Gerrard ping because of its specific target. It’s best for obtaining the ball where you want it to be at that time, and it looks good on screen. Nonetheless, it sometimes feels a little silly because players who are not even great at these kinds of passes usually accurately control this driven pass. When a teammate receives a ball and is only ten yards away from you, it’s expected for the pass to bounce off him (and for him to get ornery).
The pinged lob pass (left bumper and lofted pass) is another effective new pass for creating goalscoring opportunities. This higher, looping lofted pass is ideal for hitting a ball up to the striker, drawing defenders out of position to tackle it and giving fellow teammates more space in front of the goal
In FIFA 18, EA Sports completely altered the feel for play by making several changes in how players played. Increasing player quickness and accuracy, as well as making crossing more effective have all had a major impact on game play. EA introduced changes to crossing order. Holding the left bumper and pressing X performs a lofted cross, which is good if you’re aiming for a striker up on goal. Trigger a Gary Lineker slide in with the right bumper, and press cross to produce a standard cross that is more effective for breaking free.
FIFA 18 offers its best when you up the passing tempo and start thinking a pass ahead. You wrap up pinging the ball about like you re playing a pinball machine. In earlier versions, pace and strength were overpowered so Real Madrid, Ronaldo, and Gareth Bale in tow would be your go-to team. Counter attacking football, fueled by infuriatingly capable AI defending, ended up being the default way to play. It had been very one-sided.
FIFA 18’s passing feels better and as a result is more pleasing. And by utilizing consistent, two-button input commands for all the key passing options (normal pass, lofted ball and through ball), even everyday enthusiasts will feel they can use advanced play.
FIFA 18 includes an improved AI for defenders. The game now forces you to do more defending on your own, rather than automatically doing it for you. Putting someone else in charge can yield substantial results, as long as they’re trustworthy.
FIFA 18 is a fairly high-scoring game which means it’s fun to pass and cross. It also feels better than FIFA 17 because EA Sports made defending tougher for the AI. Many will scoff at FIFA 18’s focus on goal-scoring over defending, but the game is more fun this way. And regardless, given the awful state of Premier League defenses right now, it reflects real football pretty well.
FIFA 18, despite its finesse work, has long-standing issues that persist. You still occasionally get that annoying defender pause when a ball is played out of bounds. You also sometimes lose the ball even though your player seems to be in possession with his own way forward and away from an opponent’s path but eventually gets hit by it anyway. FIFA still has some quirks to sort out such as changing its control scheme back to the player you want to buy and nixing a weird randomness in passing–even if it is clearer than ever.
Away from gameplay but nonetheless on the pitch, FIFA boasts a number of new additions that have made the game look more interesting. I always like to play at midday instead of later in the evening because it has been my experience that FIFA looks better when lit with natural light than artificial light such as lamps and spotlights. At the event, I played a match in one of my favorite stadiums Newcastle’s St James Park. The use of Frostbite Engine led to realistic lighting effects and it felt like playing football in reality.
Off the pitch, EA Sports has made reasonable modifications and introduced a few smart new modes. FIFA Ultimate Team is undoubtedly an enormously popular multiplayer-focused game mode, however now there’s plenty to do as a solo player too. New Squad Battles mode allows you to play against squads created by other players. Featured Squad Battles feature iconic professionals, streamers, and pro gamers. The game has weekly and daily objectives that are fun to accomplish and often come with good rewards.
The Journey story mode, which I’m a major fan of, returns. But for all but the first few minutes of The Journey: Hunter Returns you’ll only be controlling Alex Hunter, there are no cutaways to managers or teammates. In chapter two, Hunter leaves the Premier League for a surprising destination that’s clearly trying to capture a specific market. A couple of the cutscenes are actually finished and looking good, with acceptable voice acting, dialogue and impressive motion-capture. The scene where Hunter has it out along with his slimy agent almost hits knife’s edge. Even though Naughty Dog can rest assured that they have a blockbuster on their hands after The Last of Us 2 hits stores in February, Electronic Arts may not be too worried. EA has just released FIFA 21’s story mode to mixed reviews and it might have been better off sticking with the tried-and-true formula. Oh, and you’ll now be able to customize Hunter’s haircut.
FIFA 18 features the brilliant new mechanic of quick subs. With this, players can swap out a player after they take their turn and take another player’s card without stopping gameplay anywhere on the field. If you’re a big fan of EA Sports’ FIFA games, I’m sure you’ll be happy to hear that they’ve recently added quick substitutions as well.
FIFA 18 on Xbox One S is a phenomenal game that updates go well and create an addicting gameplay experience. Pundits won’t wax lyrical about the brand new crosses. Social media won’t inflate at the brand new crowds. And photo columnists books don’t scream headlines about Hunter’s new hairdo. After putting in many hours into FIFA Soccer 18, I wonder just how much innovation there is left to include I sometimes fret about whether that is a gloomy idea or not.