Football, the beautiful sport that many fans around the world love despite its many clear flaws. A sport where it takes several minutes or even an hour to score a single field goal and has the difficulty of dribbling a ball through a very large field without the use of your hands. It also doesn’t help that you have to do it against 10 opposing players and their goalkeeper. But once you manage to score that elusive goal, a big sense of accomplishment washes over you and you know why you are playing this game. FIFA 18 captures these moments pretty well minus doing it in real life.
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Platforms Available: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, PS3, Xbox 360
Developer: Electronic Arts
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: September 29, 2017
This review is based on a review copy provided by Electronic Arts.
Disclaimer: I am a guy who loves sports and is interested in a lot of sports but football isn’t exactly one of them. I find it too frustrating and tiresome since it takes too long to score as opposed to my favorite sport, basketball. So this will be a new venture into uncharted grass for me as I play what is technically my 1st football video game.
As I load up the game for the 1st time, it shows off cool cinematics and then suddenly lets me play out the cinematics situation as my 1st game. Its pretty cool that the game lets the player dive into it from the get go and use Ronaldo 1st hand, though it might annoy some players who wanted to check some other stuff out first.
The game’s controls were tough at first and I didn’t even want to attempt the advance controls once I saw them but after awhile I managed to get used to them and for some reason tripping up other players is kinda amusing (it might be because I’m an S). My main problem was that the turning animation took quite a bit more time than what I believe a normal person would take, it felt rigid in a way. The acceleration was somewhat of a problem except for those players who were more notable, it felt like my unknown (to me) character was just moving slightly faster than his normal speed. In fact most of the players who I don’t know didn’t even feel much different compared to the star football players. It felt like their only difference was based on their field position.
Although going on the attack was quite enjoyable since it almost felt like the AI was in tune to my attack pattern despite my lack of knowledge in the game. Trying to score was tough at first since the goalies are pretty good sometimes but scoring that elusive 1st goal was more rewarding than I thought it would be and I’m just playing a video game. I also loved that you could even score right after the goalkeeper deflected your shot which made it so much more highlight worthy and rewarding.
It was also quite enjoyable to see your passes and crosses connect and even more so when they lead to the goal which was quite a joy since I love playmaking when I play basketball in real life or in a video game. I initially thought that long passes would be hard to connect in this game but that didn’t seem to be the case.
It was also great to see the amount of detail that was put into the crowds for each stadium and they felt subtly different depending on where your playing. It’s also great to see how much celebration there is for each goal scored since your teammates and the crowd celebrates with you. The game also had some sort of fun quick tutorials since I usually dislike them but I definitely needed since I don’t play football.
The Journey mode was much more enjoyable than I thought and it is quite fun to be able to shape Alex Hunter’s character depending on your choices. Training sessions are there to help you get better as well and learn more about the different styles of play in the game. You can also customize how Hunter looks and depending on your character, you can get more followers or spend more time on the field. I also enjoyed playing just Mr. Hunter on the field as opposed to playing the whole team since it gives me more room to stuff I wanna do on the side though I wished the AI was a bit more responsive on my calls for passes. I believe I’ll just check YouTube for what happened to him in the 1st season since FIFA 18’s The Journey is his 2nd season.
FIFA Ultimate Team was also interesting since you can play against other player’s squads online or offline and if you win a lot you can go up the leaderboards and get some rewards as well. You can also play against AIs thanks to Squad Battles which is apparently a new addition to the mode. Career Mode gives you the ability to take control of an entire team to lead it to where you want it to go. You can sign new players or trade them or make your team win or lose the tours. I also liked the fact that trade talks are done through interactive cutscenes instead of the usual emailing we’ve seen in sports games for more than a decade now.
Playing the game feels almost as frustrating as me watching it but I cannot deny that I enjoyed myself regardless of my initial thoughts. It is a solid game that emulates the feel of football as far as I know thanks to how vibrant the environment and the game modes are as well as the surprisingly good story of Alex Hunter. EA has done well to emulate the culture of football into this game and while it is far from a perfect football game, with some more polish it can definitely become just that. Until then, the frustrations are real.