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Powered by Frostbite, EA SPORTS FIFA 18 blurs the line between the virtual and real worlds, bringing to life the players, teams, and aospheres that immerse you in the emotion of The World’s Game. The biggest step in gameplay innovation in franchise history, FIFA 18 introduces Real Player Motion Technology, an all-new animation system which unlocks a new level of responsiveness, and player personality – now Cristiano Ronaldo and other top players feel and move exactly like they do on the real pitch. Player Control combined with new Team Styles and Positioning give you the tools to deliver Dramatic Moments that ignite Immersive Aospheres around the world. The World’s Game also takes you on a global journey as Alex Hunter Returns along with a star-studded cast of characters, including Cristiano Ronaldo and other European football stars.
GAMEPLAY AND PRESENTATION
Powered by Frostbite
Attention to innovation in true-to-life action, new football worlds and character depth, Frostbite helps to further blur the lines between the virtual and real worlds. Using movie studio-style advanced shadowing and occlusion techniques to benefit character rendering and overall pitch presentation, FIFA 18 delivers the most visually arresting and authentic football simulation ever.
- Real Player Motion Technology:The all-new, game-changing animation system utilizes pose trajectory matching on every frame to deliver the franchise’s most responsive and fluid gameplay ever. New motion capture techniques and frame by frame animation transitions ensure gameplay accurately represents the reality of football. Real Player Motion Tech is the catalyst for an increased fidelity in movement for every player on the pitch, immediately taking authenticity to another level.
Player Personality: Six new character archetypes and new player mapping technology differentiate players on the pitch to give them their own distinct identity. For the first time ever, real-world movements, size and attributes inform how a player moves, allowing you to feel the life-like tendencies of the world’s best. Ronaldo’s signature sprint, Sterling’s unique turns, and Robben’s distinct arm movement are all immediately recognizable in FIFA 18.
Dribbling Overhaul:In FIFA 18, you will run at defenders with confidence knowing that the best players can change direction on a dime. New dribbling mechanics enable players to inject more creativity into 1v1 situations. Take more defined touches, make tighter turns, and explode into attack more dynamically than ever before.
- Responsive:Creative on-ball skills, contextual touches, and a re-imagining of the control dribble mechanic give players new options when building up attacks in tight spaces. Change direction with ease and feel your player respond when you escape a defender lunging to tackle.
- Explosive:Authentic and dynamic speed-based animations allow you to explode more rapidly from controlled touches into full tilt sprints.
Team Styles and Positioning
- New Player Positioning: With more freedom in motion, your teammates examine the pitch and react accordingly; darting forward in coordinated runs, or moving into space to provide consistent attacking support. New player positioning gives you a well-balanced and spread pitch with more opportunities in time and space to read the play.
- Team Styles:A deep set of authentic playing styles attributed to several teams put the most-recognized tactics on the pitch in FIFA 18 - now in AI you will immediately recognize the tiki-taka of some of Europe’s best clubs or the high-pressing style of teams in the Premier League. Feel a change in defensive and attacking approaches every time you choose a new club or opponent.
- Dynamic Quick Substitutes:All-new context based substitution prompts allow players to easily make changes without pausing the match. Whether it's a missed chance, or necessary response to conceding a goal, you can instantly decide if a change is needed without visiting the menu.
- Regional Aospheres: Authentic sun positions, cinematic aosphere grading, signature pitch-side fixtures, authentic broadcast overlays in La Liga and MLS, on-pitch debris, club and stadium specific banners, adaptive commentary, and changes in pitch quality all come together to bring the most immersive football experiences to life in FIFA 18.
- High-Def Dynamic Crowds:All-new individual crowd reactions and expanded regional chant support have you feeding off the energy of your supporters. Hear authentic chants build as you mount an attack, incite realistic excitement when you score and even interact with the crowd while celebrating.
- Wonder Goals: New locomotion and finishing animations unlock more fluid striking and heading, combining to increase the potential for more dramatic finishes. Player Personality ensures the heroes of the game stand tall in the biggest moments, finishing more often on the biggest stages.
- New Crossing Control:All-new crossing controls provide the player with a variety of options to put the ball into the box, creating dynamic attacking chances. Whipped to the spot, arching, and back-stick crosses increase the variety of delivery to accurately pick out the attacking player.
THE JOURNEY: HUNTER RETURNS
The World’s Game takes you on a global journey as Alex Hunter returns along with a star-studded cast of characters and top football talent, like Ronaldo and other European stars. After a breathtaking first season in the Premier League, Hunter is gaining recognition from top clubs the world over and he is willing to explore any options coming his way. He feels ready to take the next step, his future is bright, and the world is talking about Hunter….but life in football isn’t always fair.
Tour the Football World: From a summer break in Brazil, to a pre-season tour in Los Angeles, Alex Hunter experiences diverse football landscapes in a truly global journey.
More to Play For: Chapter-based, short term objectives give Alex Hunter more to play for as he navigates his way through the second season of a prospering career.
A Star-Studded Cast: Cristiano Ronaldo leads a list of footballing greats and new, diverse characters in a star-studded cast well-suited to a blockbuster sequel.
Impactful Decisions: Players will be faced with bigger and more difficult choices that will alter the story with long-term consequences. Shape The Journey narrative in a personal way by making decisions that dictate Alex Hunter's career and effect relationships with characters both on and off the pitch.
Your Alex Hunter: Personalize the look of Alex Hunter by selecting his hair, tattoos, and clothing from a series of options. You can even pick Alex's dominant foot to make sure he suits your playing style.
Local Multiplayer: Play The Journey as a team through local multiplayer, and experience on-pitch action with friends.
New Playable Characters: Now players have the option to experience short, standalone stories with new playable characters that Alex meets throughout The Journey.
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Besides the "campaign" component of the game, called the Journey, FIFA 18 offers two offline modes, including an arcade-like instant Kick Off mode, and a Squad Battle as part of the Ultimate Team (offline) mode, which allows you to manage a team and move them through various matches and tournaments. In both modes, the spectacle of the game is amazing--the ambiance of the sportscasters, the graphics, and the uniforms/kits make it almost like watching the real thing--except you get to control some of the game. However, despite there being many recorded responses, after playing the game for about 10 hours, you can easily predict and voice the running commentary at the same time as the announcers ("Well, his teammates aren't too happy." "It's bound to prey on his mind for the rest of the match." "That's flown over the crossbar!") At that point, it stops enhancing the game and instead reinforces the canned nature of the commentary.
I do not agree that the gameplay completely fails to mirror actual football/soccer games. There are a lot of problems, however--even when you have switched your control to a specific player. There are moments when you cannot use even the limited set of operations (e.g., slide tackle) despite the fact that you are supposedly controlling the player. Since the game doesn't normally allow players to run into each other (but does allow unpenalized fouls on the goal keeper), the moment the AI takes over even while you supposedly are controlling the player has the comical effect of making the player run literal rings around another player--not getting close enough to interfere with their attack.
Also, while corner kicks--in real-life gameplay--create big risks/opportunity for scoring, only one time in a hundred has anyone scored in a corner-kick situation. It's easy to block out the opponent, while the opponent easily blocks out most attempts to exploit the situation.
The AI is far from perfect and your own team is, by necessity, partly run by the AI. When switching players manually, the AI does not even attempt to understand why you moved players in one direction. When your attention moves to another player, they run right back in whatever direction they originally were running. The effect on the opponent team is even worse since it is 100% run by the AI. The AI performance often gives the appearance that the ability of the opponent changes dramatically when you do better. The only way to fix this is to change the many game settings offered, such as speed and acceleration, goalkeeper ability, shot error (but with the significant exception of AI defense abilities, which never seem to fail).
There are two areas that do not match real-life football. One of these is the vertical angle at which shots are made, which seems to vary from 5 degrees to 60 degrees, whereas the typical goal shot in real life will be 0 to 30 degrees. This aspect of the game gives the impression that US-Americans programmed the game for gridiron field goals, with an elevation of 10 to 30 feet in the air. The result is that more shots than not will go flying completely over the goal. I can't wrap my head around why this bug has not been fixed yet.
The second bug has to with how often the AI will allow your own players as well as the totally AI-controlled players to be offside. This happens at least three times as much as it ever does in normal play on a field/pitch by any set of players over the age of 10.
My attempts to correct for the strange effects of the AI, by using game settings, works for the instant match Kick-Off mode. Unfortunately, you cannot adjust the relevant game settings for the Squad Battle. So, you're stuck with all the problems of the AI for Squad Battles. I haven't decided whether it is worth starting any more squad battles given how unplayable those are. I am teetering on giving up on FIFA for that reason and changing over to its well-known competitor.
Good arcade game, interesting story gameplay for The Journey. Irritating AI that can be corrected for in the arcade mode, but makes for an unplayable offline Ultimate Team game mode. If you are looking for an arcade-style game, wait for the price to get under $20. If you think you'll like The Journey too, $30 might not be too much. I would only pay over $30 if I were going to be playing online matches every weekend.
Gameplay has taken a HUGE step back. Among the things that have gotten worse/ more infuriating since the previous game:
-AI runs off the ball
-PENALTIES. OH MY GOD.
-Properly weighting passes and through balls.
-AI defending off the ball
-maybe just me, but a disproportional amount of shots come off the post.
-finesse shots? Ruined. They were too powerful and now they're nearly unusable.
-crossing during open play
So yeah. Overall gameplay level is slightly worse than fifa 17 and WAY more frustrating. Do not play this game with friends who get angry at video games. You will be down at least one controller within 3 games.
Unfortunately, PES still kinda sucks too.
FIFA is my favorite game series and I buy the new edition every year. Although this year's game has only just officially been released, I've been playing for the past several days due to early access. I am not the world's greatest FIFA player, but I managed to reach division 1 in online FUT seasons last year and was a regular participant in the Weekend League, so I feel qualified to comment on the game and especially the online aspects. Here are my thoughts on FIFA 18 so far after 25+ games of Ultimate Team and a few hours of The Journey, skill games, and other modes.
The core gameplay of FIFA hasn't changed much in the past decade. If you're familiar with the controls from past FIFA games then you'll be able to pick it up and play right away. That said, there are subtle changes and variations from year to year that drastically change the "meta" and the experience of playing the game. I enjoyed FIFA 17, but it was a rigid game dominated by overpowered defensive AI that would automatically turn every player into prime Maldini. This provided a crutch for weaker players and frequently kept online matches far closer than they should have been, resulting in a lot of stressful games that were decided by a single goal. While it's too early to say for sure what FIFA 18 will be like when the dust settles, it seems more open and attacking. Defending is a lot harder. Some people think it might be TOO hard. Shooting is overpowered and goalies are somewhat lackluster. Also, defenders have gone from being rabid dogs on auto-attack to passive somnambulants who stand around and do nothing while opponents run and dribble past them. The argument that "you should have to control the defenders yourself and not let the AI do everything" is valid, but it has limits since you can only control one player at a time. When you are forced to trust the AI to track a runner or cover some open space, the results can be frustrating.
Likewise, one thing that's been sorely lacking in the FIFA AI for years is what you might call "ball awareness" or "situational urgency". Players can be very passive about receiving the ball or making clearances, even when the situation clearly dictates that they should be assertive. For example, if the ball falls to your defender's feet in your own box, he might take a slow touch and try to control it when all you want him to do is smash it out of danger. Too often players have a lackadaisical approach to the ball, jogging around and taking their sweet time when they should be pouncing all over it. This is still a problem in FIFA 18 and it can be very frustrating.
FIFA 18 definitely isn't perfect, but overall I've been enjoying the gameplay. As I said previously, every FIFA is slightly different and there's always an adjustment period to find what works and what doesn't. I am cautiously optimistic that FIFA 18 will prove to be a "good" FIFA and not a bad one when it comes to gameplay.
On that note, I played a handful of matches against the AI and found it relatively fun. In previous years, the AI has been ridiculously overpowered in certain ways, flawlessly retaining possession and passing circles around your defenders. It still kinda feels like that on higher difficulties, but there are many difficulty options to choose from and I think you'll be able to find something that works for you if you are primarily an offline player.
Ultimate Team has taken over FIFA since its introduction in FIFA 09 and is now the dominant game mode in terms of revenue and developer attention. If you don't know what Ultimate Team is, it's a special mode of FIFA that allows you to play matches, earn coins, open packs, and collect players over the course of the year, gradually improving your club with more and better players to choose from for your squads. It has strong "pay to win" microtransaction elements and preys on gambler tendencies in adults and children, but I can't deny that it's a lot of fun.
FIFA 17 introduced some huge new features in Ultimate Team: squad building challenges (SBCs) and the Weekend League (WL). SBCs introduce challenges throughout the year that allow you to assemble certain squads and trade them in for rewards such as special packs and players. It's a fun feature that adds a lot of value to the game and it's back in FIFA 18.
The Weekend League is FIFA's attempt at a competitive online mode. Qualifiers run throughout the week and if you manage to win one, you have the option of playing up to 40 matches from Friday-Sunday to earn weekly and monthly rewards. The WL has returned for FIFA 18, but I am somewhat disappointed that the match number remains at 40 per week, as I found this to be far too many games in such a short time period in FIFA 17. While you don't technically "have to" play it, the rewards encourage it and I think it is borderline physically/psychologically unhealthy to jam that much FIFA and stress into your weekends. EA should consider dropping the match total down to 25-30 for a weekend and using other means to identify the top 100 players (who earn special rewards and can sometimes qualify for esports events).
In addition to those modes, FUT Draft is still in the game and it seems as though you can still play online singles and friendlies, though I've heard that you can no longer play with a guest in FUT, which is disappointing if you like to pair up with friends and play together.
Like FIFA 17, FIFA 18 builds on its predecessors and introduces some significant new features in Ultimate Team. The most important is something called "Squad Battles", which is essentially an offline answer to the Weekend League. In Squad Battles, you can match up your FUT squad against various community squads in offline matches to earn nice pack and coin rewards. Winning more games and winning against stronger squads on higher difficulty levels will increase the amount of points that you earn towards your rewards. While I'm mainly an online player, I think this is a great addition to the franchise. It allows more casual players to have a competitive mode that isn't as restrictive or demanding from a time perspective.
EA have also added daily challenges to Ultimate Team. These are simple challenges (such as "score one goal with a French player") that rotate throughout the week and yield small coin and pack rewards upon completion. While not a radical feature, it's another way to incentivize gameplay and make things a little more interesting.
Finally, "Legends" (which had been exclusive to Xbox for several years) were removed and replaced with "Icons", which are now available on both major consoles. If you're a PlayStation user like me, this is a great change, as you can now chase the dream of getting past greats like Ronaldinho, Thierry Henry, Brazilian Ronaldo, and Maradona in your Ultimate Team.
On a less positive note, while it doesn't actually affect the gameplay, it should be noted that EA dropped the ball this year with the early release of the FUT web app, locking out a huge percentage of the community while others were free to trade. This effectively gave certain players a week long head start to assemble their teams, which is a gross inequity in a game that aspires to be taken seriously as an esport. If EA are serious about trying to make FIFA a viable esport, they need to understand that putting many of their users at a competitive disadvantage for no apparent reason is not really acceptable. Although they put effort into Ultimate Team, EA are terrible with transparency and still treat their customers badly.
FIFA 17 introduced The Journey, FIFA's take on a campaign mode. The first season of The Journey allowed you to control a fictional young player named Alex Hunter on his journey from aspiring hopeful to established pro. If you enjoyed that mode, you'll be happy to know that Alex Hunter is back for a second season in FIFA 18. I've only played about two hours of the campaign so far, but it's fairly enjoyable and a nice break from other game modes. One of my gripes with the first season was that your choices and decisions didn't seem to actually affect the story. That seems to have changed this year, as the menus promise that your decisions can significantly change the course of events, which will hopefully lead to more variety and replayability.
As far as I can tell, all of the other established staples of recent FIFA games have returned. There's career mode (player or manager), quick matches, online seasons, co-op seasons, pro clubs, tournaments, and skill games. I haven't really spent enough time on these modes to have a strong opinion of them. I know that EA have introduced some new features in pro clubs, but I think they are relatively minor changes dealing primarily with the earning and allocation of points to enhance your virtual pro.
You can't accurately rate a FIFA game until you've played it enough to develop a strong sense of its exploits and flaws, but so far FIFA 18 seems like a solid entry in the series. While the gameplay may or may not turn out to be great, there's an abundance of new features and exciting things to do. If you're a returning fan, you'll find plenty of enjoyment to justify the sticker price. If you're a new player, this would be a pretty good jumping on point since there are game modes and features for all skill levels.
A short while after the game came out, EA released a patch that changed the gameplay and reverted it to something more like FIFA 17. Now the game is slower and more prone to randomness. The online gameplay in Ultimate Team feels very manipulated, like the CPU is actively trying to favor certain sides in certain situations. It gets very tiresome and frustrating because you feel like you don't have control over the results. This has disappointed a lot of the player base and has caused me to take a couple stars off my review. The single player game modes still offer some fun, but the online experience seems very random and artificial.