It’s that time of year again when EA release their iteration of FIFA to go up against Konami’s PES, this year FIFA getting the 18 treatment. So how does FIFA 18 hold up against the rest and what do we think of the game as a whole. Rather than give you a run down of what the game is about, i’m going to come at this from a different angle. For those of you that watch Match Of The Day 2 you will know all about this. The feature on the show where the pundits look back at the weekends action and give their best and bad bits. So without further ado, lets take a look at the 2 Bad side first (I always have bad news first)
New Standing Tackle
So a new standing tackle system has been introduced where you have to charge up your tackle, the further your tackle bar goes up the harder the tackle. Gone are the days of the quick stab of the tackle button to put your foot in. Now in principal this sounds like a great addition, you can now really enforce yourself on your opposition with aggression and physicality. In reality all that happens is that you start charging your tackle, the attacker changes direction and you are left looking like a sunday league footballer going up against Lionel Messi….messy. Now don’t get me wrong, I am slowly getting used to the standing tackle system and it is proving to be quite good when timed correctly, but there are so many factors involved with making a successful challenge, sometimes you are better off just running straight into the attacker and hoping for the best. This brings me on to the next bad point.
Pro Clubs Defender AI
Let me give you a bit of background for this. Pro Clubs is the main game mode that I play. A few friends and myself take on all comers and are generally quite successful however, the one thing that does hinder us from progressing further up the footballing echelons is the goddamn AI. You can literally run straight past them, and if you do a drag back, or Cruyff Turn they are left in bewilderment like when you pretend to throw a ball to a dog but really put it behind your back! The main annoyance is that when you play against another team, their AI are making all sorts of outrageous passes to themselves and are making audacious tackles right at the last minute to prevent you getting your shot away. It becomes frustrating the more and more it happens. Often leaving us feeling like we have been “Fifored!” We have no problem being beaten by another team that is better, or who have spent more time playing the game then us, its going to happen. But when you are beaten by a player running straight through your defence without even doing any skill moves, it leaves a bitter taste in your mouth.
Thankfully thats the 2 Bad section over with and now we can take a look at the 2 Good stuff.
Alex Hunter returns in FIFA 18 and this time brings a new Saga for him to deal with. He is on the move, and without giving too many spoilers away, and in all fairness if you have watched the trailers you will know that he is off to another team. But this year it feels even more emotional, like you are really in a proper bind when it comes to making decision. Some of the decisions are now permanent and can influence the way that the rest of the game plays out. When it comes to those decisions you have to think of all the possibilities that could come out of either option. You are also given the option of customising Alex and the way he looks, want to wear a different set of boots for each game? Then just change them from the selection that gradually unlock depending on your transfer value, wages as well as social media fans. Yes Gareth Walker is still in there, but thankfully he is more of a fly in your ear, popping up now and again on the twitter feed in game. Even though Alex could do with a new hairstyle, well thats also possible, with some quite outrageous styles available should you qualify the criteria they require. On top of these options you are now given challenges through each chapter of the game, be it take 10 shots on target through the pre season tour, or just play a game with a different hairstyle, they are varied and in some places even hidden, leaving you wondering what it could be that EA want you to do. Overall Alex Hunter has returned!
Wth the addition of HDR this year, the graphics are crisper and more realistic than ever. I play FIFA 18 on a PS4 Pro with a 4k HDR TV and it is stunning, from the skin tones to the way the sweat drips from the faces of your compadres. The HDR gives the lighting such a great feel and texture, now I know using the word texture isn’t usually used for something that you can’t physically touch, but let me elaborate. When you are watching your favourite football team from the stands and the light cascades down onto the pitch, this light takes on two areas, the light and the dark, now with the light side comes bright and vivid colours, whereas the dark side dims these down so that you can feel the difference. Now the game accurately recreates this and maybe it is the same on the standard non HDR version, but with HDR enabled on your TV you are greeted with something you almost feel like you are there. Obviously you know its just a game because of the player names and power bars in the corner, but with the added addition of accurate presentation you could be fooled into thinking you were watching a real football match. The change since last year is tangible beyond belief.
So there we have it our 2 Good, 2 Bad review for FIFA 18. Whilst the game isn’t perfect in any form, it is another step forward and sometimes feels like 2 steps back. If you are a fan of the series then I think there is plenty for you to get your teeth into. FUT returns with the addition of challenges as well as Icons of the game, career mode adds a few additions to give you more of a sense that you are actually in control of your chosen team. There have been a few things taken out, like last years penalty system, thats reverted back to a standard shoot mechanic, and for some reason I can’t find the early cross button for the life of me. All in all FIFA 18 is solid, yes it has it’s flaws, but then so do Liverpool.
FIFA 18 receives the Thumb Culture Gold Award
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