Fifa 18 reviews: EA’s latest game is an ‘incredible package’
A revamped career mode and improved player physics appear in this year’s instalment
The latest instalment in EA’s Fifa franchise has officially arrived - and it’s already proving to be a hit with the critics.
It builds upon the success of Fifa 17, using the same Frostbite engine which underpins EA’s Battlefield and Star Wars: Battlefront games. However, the engine can now render cinematic sequences when a transfer takes place or during in-game press conferences, for more immersive gameplay.
An extensive demo for the game is now available, allowing fans to sample kick off mode. Gamers can jump into a match and play as one of 12 football clubs, with four stadiums to choose from. Players are also able to sample the improved The Journey: Hunter Returns game mode that debuted last year.
Here's everything we know about Fifa 18.
When does it come out?
Fifa 18 launches exactly a year on from the last game in the series on 29 September, just over a month after the Premier League season kicks off. It will be released on the PlayStation 3, PS4, PS4 Pro, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox One X, Nintendo Switch and PC.
What’s new in career mode?
A key addition is the relationship gamers will have with their agent, says What Culture. While agents played a limited role in the previous game, the website says “forging relationships with these money-hungry suits will be vital to getting the best deal” on transfers.
“EA are adding a Mass Effect-like dialogue wheel heavy on choices that can take conversations in different directions,” the site says, and players can “discuss sell-on clauses, player bonuses and things like that.”
Training has been revamped in Fifa 18, says Goal, “with over 15 new skill games available to help you hone your skills and also improve your squad in career mode”.
Added to that, Four Four Two says the dribbling mechanics have been reworked to help gamers manoeuvre players with more precision.
Who’s the cover star?
Regular versions of the game will feature Cristiano Ronaldo on the front cover. He is a prominent character in The Journey: Hunter Returns and also helped develop the game by wearing a motion capture suit so the game can accurately replicate his signature moves.
Brazilian football legend Ronaldo Nazario stars on the cover of the special Icon Edition, which is only available as a digital download.
What’s wrong with Ronaldo?
The Sun reports that players can “roll back the years” and play with legendary players, such as Ronaldo Nazario, in the special “Icon Edition” of the game.
But the newspaper says gamers who have already got their hands on Fifa 18 were disappointed that Nazario “is limited to the tricks and flicks he can do on the game”, which prevent him “from performing his trademark elastico or ‘flip-flap’”.
“Fifa 18 is really good”, says Eurogamer, “but there’s no headline-grabbing game-changer, no jaw-dropping new way to play, no superstar signing to get the heart racing.”
Instead, EA Sports has focused on refining the “well-documented problems” that appeared in Fifa 17, the website says, making the game feel more responsive to your inputs.
Although “dribbling mechanics and animations may not be the sexiest pitch”, Polygon says “longtime users know that pace has been an issue in the Fifa series.”
Thankfully, the site says, “slower turns and acceleration of years past have been groomed out for the most part”, but gamers will need “to be mindful of overrunning the play thanks to this newfound responsiveness”.
Sprinting has also been overhauled, says Trusted Reviews, “as you can make intricate little touches to move between defenders, rather than knocking the ball yards ahead and stupidly losing it”.
“All of these improvements feel like somebody at EA simply flicked a switch and made everything the game used to do 100% better,” the site says. Fifa 18 is packed with “so many intricate changes” that culminate in one “incredible package”.
Players “who cannot commit to playing Weekend League” can now play Ultimate Team’s Squad Battles offline, reports Goal.
The revamped Career mode “continues to be as engaging as ever and utilises the Frostbite engine better this year”, as the website says it comes with “extra scenes for transfer negotiations that add entertainment and realism when trying to sign a new star striker for your chosen side”.
The refined player animations also make action on the pitch more enjoyable, says The Daily Telegraph, and adds another layer of character to your favourite football heroes.
For instance, the newspaper says Cristiano Ronaldo will “tear you to pieces with his strength, precision and athleticism if you give him a sliver of space.” This may be challenging, but it’s rewarding to pull a move that outwits the Portuguese player’s virtual doppelganger.
But Gamespot argues that penalties are “unnecessarily obtuse” and can feel like “trying to solve a Rubik’s cube with your hands tied.”
Gamers need to be “mindful of shot power, direction and height, as well as your run-up, all at the same time”, the website says. It may seem complex, but the gameplay mechanics are “slightly less complicated” than last year’s title.
In all, the site says Fifa 18 “captures the world of football and confidently translates it into a video game.”
Where can I pre-order?
Fifa 18 can be found at Game for £49.99 on both Xbox One and PS4. Above that sits the Ronaldo Edition, retailing at £69.99, which comes with Cristiano Ronaldo on loan in the game.
The most expensive version is the Icon Edition, which can be pre-ordered on the PS Store, Xbox Store and PC for £89.99. It comes with three-day early access, 40 ultimate team premium gold packs a host of additional FUT kits.