Similar to Madden and every other sports title, FIFA 18 has created a new year football for soccer fans with cover athlete Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the greatest to ever play the game. For gamers however FIFA 18 the biggest question is exactly what is there to expect when stepping into the field and becoming the game.
As always there’s a pre-game that takes place prior to moving on to the main dashboard which is honestly more beneficial than players may think. Whether it’s a victory or defeat, FIFA reads your gameplay skills to best determine setting recommendations.
Funny side note, as I rarely play soccer games I had one of the worst pre-game experiences ever. I couldn’t remember controls and found myself lob passing every time I was near the goal. With that I lost and immediately transitioned over to skill games to “learn” from my mistakes.
So what all details in FIFA 18 is the Return of Alex Hunter in The Journey, Career Mode, Kickoff, Online modes and FIFA Ultimate Teams. But let’s start off with the Man on the hour, Alex.
The Journey: Hunter Returns finds our new favorite player on the move to a new team. The story begins in Brazil in a mini game that reminded me of FIFA Street as the off-season is just coming to an end. Rather than a new transition, its back to training for position, interviews and challenges that are to come.
Alex’s mood and conversation is once again determined by your choice of responses in his personality. Be forewarned however that your actions have reactions. A fueled Alex can win fans over but have coaches see him as a hot head while a cool personality can earn you more time in the game. More time equal more money. As you continue to level up Alex can earn new items as well as abilities.
Some of the more simplistic unlockables are a bit ridiculous, for example, needing 475K followers to unlock a pair of pants or making over 1 million in earning just to unlock a shirt. Being able to adjust the look of Alex hair, tattoos and more was an interesting take, allowing players to create their own concept of what Hunter looks like.
One other gripe, though not game breaking, listening to players like Ronaldo talk to Alex sounded completely different than the rest of the voice work as he carried an awkward echo.
Not interested in investing all of your well-timed goals as Alex? Don’t worry EA kept your best interest in mind allow you to also choose your own career as a manager calling the shots or player creating the plays and making goals.
And for the diehard fans, you can create a squad, play your first game, buy players and show off your new friends. Sounds familiar? FIFA Ultimate Team is hands down the most popular Ultimate Team mode in any game. FIFA 17 introduces FUT Icons and FUT Squads, icons allowing you to earn a legendary player to return on the pitch while squads lets you play AI, challenges and various upcoming special events.
For players seeking new, unique strategies FUT Champions allows you to watch full rematches from the best players online to date.
Graphics are completely insane displaying what every other EA Sports titles need to redefine the look and feel of the game. Players, the turf, the crowd, everything is much better. Movement feels more authentic not only through weight detection and ball movement and reaction, but the new real player motion technology. Players like Ronaldo, Messi and Neymar perform richer animations than FIFA 17 offered.
There are two setbacks I noticed that were a bit unrealistic, the first being the slightly plastic look of some of the players. Again, the well-known members definitely looked closer to their real life counterparts. Other characters had a softer texture that was nowhere near their actual image and had a more plastic look, similar to players in NBA Live, even though utilizing two game engines. Second is the sweat on the players. It randomly appears and doesn’t have a realistic appearance as it’s thick lines of sweat in different areas of their face and neck.
The commentary team of Martin Tyler and Alan Smith do a remarkable job with telling a story each game. Unfortunately the team becomes quite competitive after a while, repeating the same line quite too often. I wish the duo could have had more time to contribute a more dynamic range of commentary oppose to what’s there.