This review is an unedited version of the review written by Zombie Dredd and published in the Tech Magazine: Issue 53 January 2018.
September is the season for soccer fans and EA knows it is. Just as with every year since 1995 they appease the football fanaticism with another FIFA release. Unlike every other year, FIFA 18 doesn’t feel like an improvement over previous years, but more like a game in a series currently in its comfort zone.
This year, the game arrives with very few new additions, and seemingly little upgrades in the graphics department. The presentation is the usual sleek affair, but the menus are literally just FIFA 17 with another accent colour. In-game, there is a new match overlay that is such an oversized element it encroaches on the playing area and makes for an uncomfortable feeling while playing. It’s elements like this that make it seem like someone forgot to do quality control on the title before release.
It’s more likely however that everyone on the development team was focusing on the second season of Alex Hunter’s story, because ‘The Journey’ story mode is slick and entertaining again. It’s still ultimately a bunch of FIFA matches bookended with cutscenes and interactions, but it certainly does a great job of immersing you in the world of professional football, and features a number of footballing icons on your journey.
The usual array of games modes and (more) licensed teams, players and stadiums further help complete the entire experience, and graphically the game remains impressive. FIFA Ultimate Team is the usual fan’s choice and is still the most complete experience of its kind in virtual football games.
However, the gameplay is now – in my humble opinion – behind that of Pro Evolution Soccer. Penalties are still awful but better than FIFA 17 and currently the goalkeepers can be brilliant one minute and completely awful the next. Players appear to fall over too easily at times and passing can be crisp at times and slightly awry at times. The gameplay just doesn’t feel like it has advanced enough and combined with some bugs, there are matches that feel pretty frustrating to play.
A nice new addition to matches is the ‘Quick Sub’ option, which presents itself when the ball goes dead. Simply hold in the right trigger during the allotted time and you can implement your pre-planned strategic change without heading to the menu.
The commentary is of a high standard until some lines get repeated multiple times per match. It got a little infuriating at one point that I actually turned it off. That being said, the addition of discussions about real-world happenings in the commentary is a nice addition.
What FIFA 18 feels like is a game that will be ‘right’ following a number of game updates which address the issues and bugs. It is still without a doubt a game that sates the needs of football fans in the virtual world, but it seems to be resting on its laurels and will need to bring more than the just the same when the series hits FIFA 19 in 2018.
Available for: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch and PC
Distributed by: Prima Interactive and available at all retailers of games