Last year’s “FIFA 17” wasn’t that great because games too often were low-scoring or scoreless.
“FIFA 18” is much better.
There are four major improvements that make the game a lot more enjoyable and exciting. It’s also a sign that EA, the game’s developer, is consciously fixing some of the more frustrating elements of the game.
That said, there are still a few things about the game that drive me insane. Most long-time “FIFA” players have simply learned to cope with these things, as they’ve been part of the game for so long.
Take a look:
Finally, high-scoring games.
You can finally get nail-biting, high-scoring games in “FIFA 18,” as it’s much easier to score goals than it was in last year’s “FIFA 17.” And that goes for both you and the opposition.
I realize that not everyone had difficulty scoring in “FIFA 17,” but it just wasn’t happening for me. Sure, I’m not the greatest player in the world, but I’ve played previous versions of the game and I didn’t have nearly as many issues scoring.
Part of the reason why it’s easier to score for both you and the opposition is that tackling is much harder in “FIFA 18.” Indeed, it’s much harder for me to defend against an attack, and vice versa for the opposition. EA, the developer behind the “FIFA” franchise, balanced both the tackling difficulty and the ability to score goals beautifully in this year’s iteration.
Players are more responsive thanks to a major change.
EA has made it much easier and better to dribble in “FIFA 18” by making the animations “frame-by-frame.” This makes players feel less like they have to complete a whole animation after you’ve made a move or pressed a button.
It gives you a lot more control when you’re using the left controller stick to move. Movements are a lot more responsive and light compared to the heavy and clunky movements in previous versions of the game.
That said, the frame-by-frame gameplay in “FIFA 18” doesn’t seem to work for tackling. It still feels like I’m waiting for my player to complete an entire animation when I press the tackle button. It’s most noticeable if I’ve made an unsuccessful tackle, where my player lunges in for the tackle, then he takes a moment to recompose himself, and then finally starts running again.
You can substitute players a lot more quickly, which is incredibly meaningful when you’re playing with friends or online.
In “FIFA 18,” EA introduced Live Substitutions during a break in the game, like when the ball goes out of play, which allows for making quick substitutions without interrupting the game or making your friend wait.
The game does a good job of automatically suggesting which players should be subbed in and out, and you can also pre-set which players you’ll want to substitute before the start of a match. You can see the Live Substitution menu appear on the bottom left of the screen when it’s available.
Playing “FIFA” with friends is the best way to play the game, but making substitutions has always been a game-stunting thing, as you have to pause the game and switch out players in the substitution menu. It’s not a problem when you’re playing single-player Career Mode, as you don’t care if the computer has to wait for you to make substitutions. But it used to interrupt the flow of a game with friends, especially if they don’t want to make substitutions at the same times as you.
The players make much better passes.
It seems like players have a much better idea of what you’re trying to do when you’re passing the ball during a play or attack. It’s especially noticeable with through-ball passing.
And now for the bad stuff, which has been lingering for years: The game still sometimes ignores what direction your pointing the stick for passing, which can result in some atrocious passes.
While EA made great improvements in figuring out what pass you want to make, it still makes executive decisions that are simply wrong, and it’s frustrating when it seemingly ignores the direction you’re pointing the stick.
For example, I’ll point the stick to a player I want to pass to and press the pass button, like I would for any pass. Yet, the game will make the decision to pass to a player who’s closer, even though I was pointing the stick in a different direction. OK, fine, I didn’t press the pass button long enough to bypass the closer player. But that shouldn’t be an issue when I’m clearly pointing the stick to a different player.
Player switching needs an update.
The game still occasionally has trouble switching to a player I want to control, even when I’ve set the player switching to “Manual.” Using the right stick to select the player you want helps, but it’s not entirely accurate either.
Referees still make absurd calls for fouls, or don’t make calls for obvious fouls.
Referees in “FIFA” have some way to go. They still won’t call a foul on some obviously cynical or overly aggressive tackles. I’ve always had a hunch that EA builds the “human error” element into its digital referees, as real-life referees can also make similar mistakes.
And there are instances when players or the game’s mechanics don’t help, either. Sometimes, I won’t press any tackling buttons while my player is shoulder-to-shoulder with an opposing player who has the ball, and somehow my player inexplicably fouls the opposing player. It almost feels like EA included a “diving” feature, where an opposing player falls and flails on the ground without having been touched to squeeze out a foul call against my player.
Despite these old frustrating aspects of the game, “FIFA 18” is a great game that any fan of the franchise should buy.
The improvements in “FIFA 18” are worthwhile, especially if you’ve held out from buying previous versions of the game like “FIFA 16” or “FIFA 17.”
Yes, some issues still linger, despite the face that EA has been making “FIFA” games for 23 years now. But judging by the success of the “FIFA” franchise, fans can clearly cope with those issues.