You would think after years of sequential FIFA games our enthusiasm would wane, but there seems to be no end to our football fever. We have started another season of the beautiful game and we have a fresh copy of FIFA 18 to complement it. So what can you expect from EA Sports this year? Quite a lot in fact.
Alex Hunter is back in the second installment of The Journey. This mode was new last year and well received, this year it builds upon that platform and continues to breathe life into the FIFA franchise. The story arch continues its rollercoaster ride, giving insight into the lives of footballers and their career choices. A nice addition to this year’s version is key decision points that alter the journey for Alex depending on the decision you make. One of our biggest problems with The Journey last year was the lack of ability to impact or change the story. While everything is still heavily scripted this starts to bring us closer.
It’s also great to see FIFA 18 embrace some of the lesser known football areas including MLS and a small dip into the woman’s international scene as part of The Journey. It seems like a great way to get players to sample this content instead of just adding it to the roster like last year.
Overall The Journey 2 is a great bit of entertainment and the first thing we tackled when we stuck in the FIFA 18 disc.
FIFA Ultimate Team is the biggest growing game mode and has seen a range of changes this year. The first of which is a deeper integration with The Journey allowing you to earn FUT rewards based on your performance against objectives in the story mode. Within the game mode itself, we see the introduction of Squad Battles where you take on other players’ teams head-to-head, including Featured Squads of key personalities, community members, and even celebs.
There is a deeper set of Squad Challenges to complete and new animations for pack openings to add a bit of drama to the process. It really feels like FUT has grown tremendously and has become the primary game mode for many players. If you have never dived into FUT, then this year is a great time to do it.
What does FIFA 18 have instore for us on the pitch? Well, the game has had various visual improvements and looks unbelievable, with improved lighting effects and crowds to create even more immersion. The visuals extend into actual gameplay with a lot of focus on animation capture being translated onto the pitch. EA went and mapped individual players to ensure that each felt different on the ball and while this is most apparent with the main FIFA stars like Ronaldo, you do feel the difference between the various player builds across positions.
The ball dynamics have improved (as is expected with FIFA each year) however the overall dribbling experience has been streamlined quite a lot giving you a lot more control. We found it significantly easier to pull off some great solo runs through defenders purely with good movement and timed sprints. Couple this with some dramatically improved through balls and crossing and you have a game that feels more organic than any other FIFA before it.
While you always know what you are getting with a FIFA game, this year delivers a highly polished and well refined offering with just the right amount of new. The beautiful visuals, enhanced FUT and another strong The Journey installment, amount to a solid set of content that is bound to make the purchase well worth your money from a single player experience. Add another controller or two and a few friends and it’s more than worth the price of admission.
Are you playing FIFA 18? Drop us a comment below and let us know.