Fifa 18 Review
Fifa 18 is the most recent iteration of perhaps my favorite of the many sports franchises in the video games. Long one of the best of EA Sports stable of franchises each year it gets at least slightly better, offering more modes or changing the dynamic modes that it already has. The focus on recent years has been the money-making Ultimate Team mode, and while many new interesting game modes have been added to that, there is also a second season in The Journey, the story mode, as well as various regular career mode changes.
Ultimate Team has added some new features, most of them to help you challenge different levels of competition, or earn more coins through doing certain tasks. Like the beginning tasks to earn gold packs of past years, this year you can earn coins through daily, and weekly challenges, and there is a wide set of starter objectives. There is also a Squad battle mode which allows you to earn points against squads of random Fifa 18 Ultimate team players. These various changes bring a sense of less grinding to the mode, and allow more rapid coin receiving for players.
The Journey has come back for a second season and this time some of the odder story changes make sense. Alex Hunter leaves his boyhood dream team in hopes of going to Madrid, but ends up with LA Galaxy after no transfer offer comes in. Eventually he can lead the team to the MLS Cup and returns to Europe with a struggling side and works with a partner at the attacking front. Also notable is a chance to play as Alex’s sister, and Daniel Williams. ‘
For the most part, the story elements are not that interesting and lack the flair you expect from story-based games, but Fifa tends to be more about the game than any story. That said I do have a big complaint and that is after playing Madden’s Longshot mode I feel the Journey can get tedious having you play 40 odd games, when Longshot is just a short 4-hour story with some mechanics. Honestly, I feel like a story mode for games like this is not the main point, and thus a more Telltale like feel may be better with less actual gameplay, and more story. It can be annoying playing game after game just to see what happens, whereas in Longshot you had decisions to make more often, and less actual tedious games that take away from the story.
The other main new thing this season is career mode changes. Most notably a revamped transfer system with new ways to transfer, new transfer options, and actual cutscenes for the transfers. It is hilarious seeing player models just nod along as managers and agents talk to each other and haggle over contracts and buying out player contracts, and transfer fees. While not a full update of the career mode it is a nice addition and helps make the mode more than just playing as your favorite team. I do imagine that the cutscenes can get old after a while, and they are skippable so that helps if that is your mode of choice.
Beyond the modes the game is for the most part what you expect from Fifa. The gameplay continues to be strong, the animation and actual look of the game is strong, and the ability to play is strong. I noticed more options for crossing than before, and I have been able to both use the middle of the field and the wings to score goals. I could not wait just one week ago to see what was in store for a 2018 World Cup game, but after the US failed to qualify my excitement has fallen off. That said I Imagine there will be an Alex Hunter based story as he tries to make the England team for the World Cup.
The game continues to be one of my favorite sports franchises. With the recent dip in form for NBA 2k I see it possibly as the main franchise. As such I feel this game does most of what it needs to do, and only misses out on some things and as such feel it should get a 9.2.