FIFA 18 – Xbox One Review
If there ever was a title that someone you know is guaranteed to purchase year in-year out, it’s FIFA. EA has, of course, released it’s yearly iteration of the popular football title FIFA 18, and comes with it the usual content, just improved upon slightly. As always, the wealth of modes are there from the quick exhibition match to the training and skills practices, from the Ultimate team to the pro clubs and from the journey campaign to a vast amount of online modes. You’re never short on something to do.
The opening section of the game sees you starting out by taking a free-kick mid-match and finishing off the rest of the match. It’s a nice little introduction to the game that requires little effort, where you immediately notice a key change to the mechanics, or rather, the presentation of the mechanics. There are now guided arrows of sorts, showing you the direction of where the ball is going to go when making a pass to another player. It’s a nice touch, but it takes some getting used to, especially when you’ve played FIFA since the dawn of time and already know how long to hold a button down for. It just seems to get in the way. As for newcomers to the series, it’s brilliant however.
This years campaign sees the second season of The Journey campaign, where we see fictional footballer Alex Hunter progress through his footballing career like a proper pro would. The Journey carries on directly from the events of FIFA 17, even adding a ‘Previously on…’ intro for that TV show effect to fill you in on what happened, for those that either haven’t played it or simply don’t remember. Incorporating crucial decision making within the cut-scenes that affect how your story play out, is something EA have really taken a shine to in this title. Seemingly inspired by the likes of Mass Effect, Alex Hunter; between games, sits down and talks with his coach and agent, with RPG style conversations to help shape your chosen club throughout the story. You are offered various choices regarding players and upcoming matches, with advice given to you by the coach or agent, but of course, you don’t have to take it. All of these choices will make or break your career. Whilst this is a nice change of pace from all the other modes available in FIFA 18, it’s slow-paced for those wanting quick fixes and plenty of matches in one go.
One of the most popular modes in FIFA 18 makes a return, which is FIFA Ultimate Team (or FUT as it’s more known as). Not much has changed – opening packs, earning coins and spending those coins in the auction to build the team you want to build remains the same, albeit with updated stats and players to match the current season of football. This time around though, has a nice step-by-step tutorial for those new to the mode, but those already familiar can go right ahead and skip it. What is interesting this time around though is the new Squad battle mode which sees your team competing offline against other teams created by other players, where you can earn more coins and packs, depending on how well your match goes. It’s still pretty much the modern, digital version of collection stickers for your Panini sticker book. Anybody got a shiny to trade?
It looks as though FIFA 18 has improved immensely on physics, making full use of the frostbite engine to make the players perform and react better than ever before, almost how they would ‘tackle’ a situation in reality. There are some nuances still that many FIFA players will blame on the game itself (myself included), but a bad workman always blames his tools. Passing to the wrong player? The games fault. Missed a goal? The games fault. When in reality, the frostbite engine is actually ground-breaking technology that is more accurate than ever before. Still, that’s not to say the game design and mechanics aren’t at fault in some retrospect. Certain things have definitely improved over last years iteration such as crossing is more accurate, and tackling is more spot on. The referees are still utter A-holes at times though, and you’ll still find yourself swearing at the ref for a decision he may or may not have called. But that’s still accurate to real-life either way.
Overall, FIFA 18 is one of the better versions of the game in recent years, adding new modes, improved physics and better graphics making players more larger-than-life than we’ve ever seen before. There’s still certain aspects to brush up on though, but I guess we will see those fixes in FIFA 19.
FIFA 18 is available to purchase from retailers or can be downloaded from the Xbox Store, sliding in from £59.99, or can be bought with 10% discount for EA Access subscribers.
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