FIFA 18 is a brand new football game from EA that promises a lot and delivers much more than its promises. I have played this game for a while, and I can tell you that the game is very good. Sure, I was a fan of PES and disliked FIFA just a few years ago, but when you look better, FIFA is really a supreme soccer simulation. The game boasts some interesting features, as well as improved visuals, controls, gameplay and several new modes from the past entries. If you are in doubt whether you should buy FIFA 18, don’t you worry, I got you covered in this review. Sit back, relax and enjoy the FIFA 18 review, which is below.
What’s Notable in FIFA 18
When it was released, FIFA 18 quickly became a choice for many football game enthusiasts. The use of Frostbite 3 engine makes this game look gorgeous, and I’m a bit surprised at how well the engine works here. I mean, Frostbite engine was originally created mainly for the first-person shooter games, such as Battlefield or Star Wars series, and now we see it in a sports game; cool! Let’s just take a moment to mention some of the best FIFA 18 features.
Last year, FIFA 17 introduced a story mode called “The Journey” and it was a bit of a surprise to see the actual STORY in a football game. However, I didn’t bother too much to play it, although I managed to finish it. Now, FIFA 18 introduced this feature again and it’s now called “The Journey- Hunter Returns”. If you wonder who is Hunter, it’s Alex Hunter, a football player trying his best to stay on top in a harsh English league. I must admit, the story in FIFA 17 was a bit hit and miss, and it wasn’t quite long, so I enjoyed it for just couple of hours, which is a pity. Here, FIFA 18 nails it! We finally get those thrilling moments, engaging story and a complete wrap up of English football, that is one of the best in the world.
This mode will offer you more than ten hours of gameplay, which is amazing for a football game. The story doesn’t have any fillers and there aren’t that many boring scenes. The best of all here is that you can completely customize Alex Hunter, to basically be You; carry your personality and temper. Alex Hunter also comes in touch with the real-life pros and can form certain bonds of rivalries with them. You’ll get to play with three different countries, and there is even a FIFA Street match, which is quite interesting to see. The Journey provides some decision making, so you’ll often be included in various narrative choices, that give the game that extra layer needed for achieving a great football career.
The story is split into chapters and each and every one of them has a special challenge that you can complete to get bonus items like clothes, boots, etc. To wrap it up, EA did an excellent job here and although it was a risky move, it finally paid off. If you are a fan of PES, well… you won’t find such mode in Konami’s counterpart, sorry!
You’ll agree when I say that sports games aren’t always that beautiful. That’s usually because the graphics aren’t the main concern here, but the core gameplay. Everyone wants a smooth experience, whether it’s a football, basketball, ice hockey, etc. But, FIFA 18 managed to improve much, over its predecessors, especially FIFA 17. I mean, that game looked solid, but there were some odd player models and the graphics weren’t that high-res like it’s here. Due to Frostbite’s HUGE capabilities, the players’ skin now looks more lifelike, and the players’ models are almost real-life.
The lighting is amazing here, and it perfectly encapsulates the whole experience. If the sun is shining directly on the player, you’ll immediately see it on the face, as the skin turns brighter and the eyes start to shine. It’s really a sight to be seen! The hair, though, isn’t that detailed and I’m sorry that TressFX isn’t included here, for a more realistic hair movement. The player animations look dope, and as the FIFA 18 is more a simulation, rather than arcade experience, it’s essential to get this right.
Every move including a kick, slide or any kind of trick is portrayed perfectly. The ball sticks to the players’ body, and there aren’t “holes” between the players’ foot and the ball. It’s all so well animated and flows very nice, but you won’t notice that much if you have a low-res screen. I recommend playing this game on an ultrawide monitor, at the highest possible resolution, for a spectacular experience. The environment also looks cool, but as this is a football game, you can only notice that on the field, regarding grass, reflections, etc. If you worry about the optimization, I played this game at a solid 60fps on my R9 270 GPU, which is now dated, so no worries about performance.
This is one of the most badass features of this great EA game. I quite expected it to be present here, as EA is one of the biggest companies when it comes to gaming. When you play FIFA 18, you can really see how much is invested in this game; it’s simply mind-boggling! Not only that there are real-life commentators, but also injury reporters and match analysis. For example, Ron Atkinson is here for analysis, and some commentators like Martin Tyler, Alan McInally, Andy Townsend and Clive Tyldesley are here to make your gameplay more immersive. It’s a really nice addition, and guess what? You can’t find it in PES!
Unlike some football games, FIFA 2018 has fully-licensed teams. Great! Now I won’t need to remember all of the team names or check the players before I choose the team, just to make sure that I’m choosing Chelsea, New Castle, Barcelona, etc. What also surprised me is the FIFA 18 Ultimate Team Icons feature, which was a feature called Legends in previous FIFA games. This feature is available only for PC, Xbox and PS4 versions of the game. I’m a HUGE fan of old-school football that was all about scoring the damn goal, and now I can play with the football legends such as Maradona, Ronaldo, Pele, Lev Yashin, Thierry Henry, and the other great legends!
I often found myself playing with my legendary team the whole game, and not with the modern players. Modern football sucks in comparison to the old-school football! FIFA 18 introduced 3. Liga in the game, which is the third tier of Germany’s Bundesliga. Nice addition, but I didn’t experiment with it that much. I guess it’s for the Germans! Hold on, folks, FIFA 18 has more tricks up its sleeve. Speaking of teams, there are some more new teams like Saudi Arabia, New Zeland, Iceland and a whole Turkish Super League. New Zeland got that honor to have a special women’s national team, which is really a great addition and kills the monotony. I’m very satisfied with the team selection, although I played mostly with my Ultimate Team or Chelsea.
At the end of the day, everything boils down to gameplay. If you ask me, the gameplay in such games needs to be smooth, simple and responsive in terms of controls. How does FIFA 18 fare? Well, let’s find out.
The first time I booted the game up and started playing it, it seemed like it’s slow, sluggish and wasn’t that satisfying to play. The animations were sometimes painfully slow and I was waiting for the ball to travel from one player to another and almost took a nap! But, when you think better, it’s a simulation game and not arcade by any means! This is how the game should feel like, right? Its gameplay is phenomenal, and although it’s sometimes slow, you can still react very quickly or change the tactics as you play. Here, you feel in control of every aspect of your gameplay and nothing is left aside.
I also like how the players really feel. For example, Cristiano Ronaldo is fast, has a very powerful kick that could blast through the goal and tear down the net. A special care is taken about those tiny details, especially how Ronaldo or Messi move and that’s with a high precision and athletically. FIFA 18 brings that character and souls to the players in the game, and that’s something quite impressive, that I haven’t seen in many football games. Now, as we mentioned soul and character, it’s important to give the credit where the credit is due, and that’s AI.
The AI is where FIFA 18 shines. The opponents are very agile and they react fairly smart to your decisions, making FIFA 18 a true simulation. Sure, you can easily beat some minor teams in lower leagues, but try playing versus Barcelona or Chelsea! They’ll kick your ass so hard that you won’t know what happened! It’s a very hard game, and definitely not for everyone. I lost so many matches before I started to even get to draw or win with a minimal score. Of course, I always go balls-to-the-wall, so I maxed my difficulty setting.
Offensive… or defensive play?
This is the question I often ask myself. After playing it for a while, I feel like the strikers are like tanks that tear the hell out of defenders and score goals like it’s a joke! Well, I’m not wrong, folks. FIFA 18 put too much attention on offensive play, and I was often confused with a behavior of my goalkeeper, forcing me to rage quit the game. I mean, at one moment he does his job like Yashin, and the next time he is like a tree; standing and doing nothing. On the other side, you’ll need very SERIOUS skills to be a great defender here.
The defense is much more complex than in PES games, and you’ll need more time to get used to it. Remember the times where you could just hold R1 and X on your gamepad for defense? FIFA 18 does more than that. Here, you must really give all you got in order to defend your goal, especially if someone like Messi is a threat. This makes the game very hard, but I don’t find this bad. Actually, I like this style of play, as defensive play is a little boring, and I like to score goals… a lot of goals! It happened to me that I wiped the floor with the opponent’s team, but they also did the same with me. It’s a lot of fun, even when you are losing badly.
Before I move on to the verdict, I want to praise the sound design. Yes, it’s a football game, but FIFA 18 really did a great job here. Everything from the crowd roaring and screaming, to commentator’s voice and sounds on the field are distinctive and well done. You can clearly hear that dull sound of kicking the ball as well as the collision between the players, the ball, and the goal, etc. The soundtrack is also solid, although I’m more aligned towards metallic sound from the games like DOOM and Wolfenstein. But, this is a football game, so yeah… it’s good for relaxing between the matches.
After so much fun with this game, it’s hard for me to pinpoint any serious problem with it. It looks stunning, plays great and invokes that sense of satisfaction in me, that I can’t describe! FIFA 18 is a dream-come-true game for true football fans, and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed either. It’s not strange that FIFA 18 received so much attention that PES 2018 fell into the oblivion, and after years of trial and error, FIFA finally brought back that polished football experience, that I craved so much. I’ll give this game a strong 8/10, just because of the attack-based gameplay, that often turns matches into the strikers’ show, instead of focusing more on the tactics and let them decide the winner.
FIFA 18 Review
- Value for Money
FIFA 18 is the best football game ever made for PC. With amazing graphics, real-life like gameplay, this is an absolute football simulation.