It’s that wonderful time of year again. A brand new FIFA release is upon us and just a few days removed from launch, we’ve had a solid week to sink our teeth into the latest from EA Sports. With an ever-growing endeavor. this year’s title boasts more nuances and unique game modes than ever. But is that good? Has the actual game play improved? Has Ultimate Team improved? Is the AI better? Below we try to answer those questions by dissecting the good and not so good. Here is our EA Sports FIFA 18 review.
Gameplay: Prior to launch, after a demo release and early access there was a crescendo of chatter across social media about FIFA 18 basically being FIFA 17. Now, with the full iteration complete, we can clearly and honestly dispel that silly notion. FIFA 18 was clearly designed with an emphasis on attack. The shooting has never been easier with the ability to score from several angles. Goals will fly in with driven shots, near post, far post, screamers from outside the box and the resurrection of the overpowered finesse shot. Passing remains intricate as the circumstance dictates the quality and weight of the pass. A player generally needs to face a teammate to make a clean pass rather than a one touch no-look which is very difficult to hit. Through balls and driven passes remain essential as a regular pass often feels less accurate or weak. Off the ball player movement is massively improved on the attack with AI attackers making intelligent runs to cut open a defense. Furthering the top-heavy attack style is the responsiveness of the dribbling which is the best it’s ever been. Consequently pulling off skill moves is easier, especially the ball roll, pull back and pace control. Also just like the finesse shit, FIFA 18 sees a return to an emphasis on speed. Once a pacey player beats a defender, it’s pretty much a done deal and we love it. Mertersacker shouldn’t be able to keep up with Aubameyang. Conversely, keepers are noticeably weaker than before and the biggest change that has countless gamers whining is the defense. The AI no longer bails out overly aggressive tacklers. As responsive as attacking feels, defending often feels just as sluggish. Containing and jockeying are absolute musts.
ULTIMATE TEAM: FIFA’s most successful game mode has grown into its own beastly juggernaut. With the world’s best opting for FUT as their preferred method of online play this can be an absolutely brutal and unforgiving way to play FIFA. With that in mind, EA has given you more options with single player modes in squad builder challenges where you face off vs an AI Ultimate Team to win prizes, packs, and coins. Aside from that, the FUT subscribes to the “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” ethos. Online seasons, FUT Champions, Drafts and the overwhelming stock market that is the FUT transfer market remains relatively untouched but with the inclusion of OTW and Icon cards. This is hands down the best and most addictive way to play FIFA today.
The Journey: The Journey literally picks up where you left off last year with Alex Hunter. You plug along in from preseason to the league and more all the while building up Alex’s attributes. The paradigm remains relatively the same as last year. The key differences happen via the storyline and an ability to tweak customizations to Hunter’s appearance via tattoos, gear, boots, and haircuts. This Journey excels as a fun and unique game mode which adds more to the single player experience or as a break from the brutality of online play. Other than that it can feel a bit stale for more serious gamers looking for a challenge.
Sights & Sounds: FIFA 18 shines beautifully with gorgeous graphics, sound and overall ambiance. Stadiums are more raucous with crystal clear chants, hissing, boos and explosive cheers for a goal. The camera vibrates as fans rock the stadium and crowd animations are improved with more variety from last year. The players look incredible and the motion-capture, especially on the world’s best, is shockingly diverse. It’s impossible to for such a massive game with so many clubs to get everything spot on but FIFA 18 gets a lot right.
Pro Clubs/Career Mode: With so much attention and money coming from FUT it’s obvious that other modes will suffer a bit. Career mode remains almost exactly the same as previous years but with added cut scenes that feel a bit forced and stale. Pro Clubs remains fun but again almost untouched from its predecessors. With the nuances coming from a new more streamlined menu. As FUT continues to grow we wonder what will happen to these stagnant game modes in years to come.