You understand how Spurs never made a superstar signing in the summertime but are still excellent and should really conclude in the most notable four of the Premier League? Well, FIFA is Spurs this season.
Stick to me here. I’ll explain.
FIFA 18 is absolutely good, but there is no headline-grabbing game-changer, no jaw-dropping new way to play, no superstar signing to obtain the heart racing. It’s jam-packed with welcome gameplay improvements and clever new modes, but FIFA 18 is no revolution. FIFA 18 is preferable to FIFA 17, for certain. In fact, it is the best FIFA in years. But it’s an unspectacular upgrade.
For most fans, this will be fine. For so many – myself included – gameplay is king, and after FIFA 17’s well-documented problems, it’s fantastic to find EA Sports has spent almost all of its time sorting out the on-pitch action.
Possibly the most noticeable improvement is to responsiveness. Now, I’m not saying FIFA 18 suddenly reacts to your inputs with the speed of a fighting game. You still have that sometimes frustrating buffer between when you press a button so when the player on your own telly actually does what you need. But you can simply zip the ball around the pitch faster, more accurately and with an increase of variety. It’s a far more fluid game bolstered by a raft of new animations.
A lot of the more fluid feel is due to the increased effectiveness of one-touch passing and the driven pass (right bumper and the pass button). This pass is a sort of Steven Gerrard ping, an easy and low bullet that shoots straight because of its target. It’s ideal for obtaining the ball where you will need it to be at this time, and it looks great on screen, nonetheless it sometimes feels just a little silly because players – even mediocre kinds – generally correctly control this driven pass. When you blast a driven pass to your teammate who’s only 10 roughly yards from you, you anticipate it to bounce off him (also to get an angry look), but he’ll probably control it.
The pinged lob pass (left bumper and lofted pass) is another super effective new pass that helps create goalscoring opportunities. This higher, more looping lofted pass is ideal for hitting a ball up to striker, drawing a defender set for an aerial challenge and so creating space behind for a runner to potentially enter the box.
It feels as though long shots have already been given just a little tickle, and so are now much more likely to top bins.
EA Sports did well to raised balance the attributes of players for FIFA 18. It feels as though instead of nerf pace and strength, the developers have made other attributes far better. Quick and accurate passing may be the name of the overall game, and crossing is most surely back in business. Talking about crossing, EA’s changed just how it works to provide you with more immediately accessible options. Holding the left bumper and pressing cross does a lofted cross, which is good if you are aiming for a major striker. Contain the right bumper and press cross to trigger an instant cross, which is ideal for Gary Lineker slide ins. And the standard cross has just somewhat more swaz onto it.
Through balls have already been given a boost, too. My favourite may be the threaded through ball (right bumper and through ball), which is ideal for passing a ball in to the channel for an internal forward or perhaps a central striker to chase.
FIFA 18 reaches its best when you up the passing tempo and commence to think 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 therefore Real Madrid, Ronaldo and Gareth Bale in tow, will be the go-to team. A counter-attacking style, fuelled by the frustratingly effective AI defending, finished up being the defacto way to play. It had been pretty one-note.
FIFA 18’s passing feels far better and therefore as pleasing. And through the use of consistent, two-button input commands for all the key passing options (normal pass, lofted ball and through ball), even everyday enthusiasts will feel just like they can utilize advanced play.
Clearly in response to negative feedback on defending in FIFA 17, EA has tweaked the AI for FIFA 18 so it is nearly so soul-destroying to move up against computer-controlled defenders. You can’t leave the computer to accomplish the defending for you personally and escape with it. Manually taking charge may be the most effective way to guard, as it ought to be.
The better passing and crossing incorporate to create FIFA 18 a fairly high-scoring game. It feels better to score with long shots and crosses in to the box than FIFA 17 did. And I certainly carve out more chances now EA Sports has already established a word with the AI defending. Some will sneer as of this goalfest, but finally FIFA 18 is a far more fun game for this. And regardless, given the awful state of defending in the Premier League at this time, it’s a fairly accurate reflection of real football.
Regardless of the refinement work done for FIFA 18, long-standing FIFA problems remain. You still get that annoying defender pause once in a while whenever a ball is played outrageous. You still sometimes lose the ball because your player incurs the road of an opposing player despite your desperate try to reverse course. And FIFA still struggles to change control to the player you want to buy to, even though it appears the most evident player that you can want to regulate next.
Quick subs certainly are a revelation. What took you such a long time, EA?
Away from gameplay but nonetheless on the pitch, EA has made FIFA look more interesting with the addition of plenty of paraphernalia to certain stadia. I maintain that FIFA looks better when played throughout the day, instead of nighttime games. The crowds are more varied, there are flags everywhere, and the Frostbite engine’s impressive lighting shines through. FIFA is a real fantastic-looking game. One match I played at Newcastle’s famous stadium St. James’ Park throughout the day looked photorealistic.
Off the pitch, EA’s made sensible improvements and introduced a couple of smart new modes. FIFA Ultimate Team is definitely a hugely popular online multiplayer-focused game mode, however now there’s a good bit to accomplish as a solo player. The brand new Squad Battles mode enables you to play against other squads from the FUT community. There are even Featured Squad Battles, which are against squads of football players, pro FIFA players and FIFA streamers. Weekly and daily objectives keep you interested, plus they often carry decent rewards. It’s pretty cool.
The Journey story mode, which I’m a major fan of, returns. I understand most FIFA fans will miss the whole thing entirely, but I quite enjoyed seeing what happened next to young superstar Alex Hunter. In this second chapter, Hunter eventually ends up leaving the Premier League (no spoiler here – EA’s said as much pre-release). I will not reveal where he goes, but it’s a surprising destination I didn’t see coming and is a clear play for some market. A couple of of the cutscenes are actually pretty much done, with decent voice acting, dialogue and impressive motion capture. The scene where Hunter has it out along with his slimy agent almost hits knife-edge. Naughty Dog’s designers will not be quaking within their boots anytime soon, but EA’s done well once more with FIFA’s story mode in order to avoid embarrassment. It’s hefty, lasts an excellent long while and you could now play co-op. Oh, and you could now customise Hunter’s haircut, which is nice.
FIFA 18 sometimes appears like you’re watching genuine on telly.
If there’s one addition that sums up FIFA 18 this season, it’s quick subs. This brilliant new mechanic enables you to press one button to talk about a possible substitution, then press another to verify. Then your substitution happens. There is no entering FIFA’s laggy, time-consuming menus, no have to stop play any more than needed. Quick subs is really as welcome an addition as quick throw-ins if they were introduced a couple of years ago.
It is the thing about FIFA 18 – all of the various tweaks and changes are successful and incorporate to make for an extremely fun gameplay experience. But fans won’t sing songs about anybody of these. Pundits won’t wax lyrical about the brand new crosses. Social media won’t inflate at the brand new crowds. And the trunk pages won’t scream headlines about Hunter’s new hairdo. Having pumped tens of hours into FIFA 18, I wonder just how much “innovation”, as EA Sports’ producers would call it, is left for the designers to include beyond new game modes. I return back and forth on whether that is a troubling thought or not.
If you’re any thing like me, though, you’ll get a whole lot out of the hyper cleaned up version of FIFA 17. Like Spurs, FIFA 18 plays an excellent game of football. But like Spurs, FIFA 18 will most likely not win any trophies.